Share and share again, then share some more

Today, thanks to the power of Ustream, I watched a live stream from a media140 event for charities that’s happening in London, and all from the comfort of my living room. The panel were discussing the use of social media in fundraising and whether sites such as Facebook and Twitter could be used successfully as a fundraising tool.

As someone working for a small charity that is starting to use social media this discussion held particular interest for me, afterall the first question my boss asked when I talked about social media was Will it bring in funds? The answer to his question, I guess, is yes…….and no.

The panel talked about the recent earthquake in Haiti and the impact web 2.0 had on raising funds to help the people of Haiti, it was huge! People all over the world jumped to action and spread the word among their followers and friends. So this is the yes part of the answer to the question, yes, social media can be used as a direct means to raise funds and is particularly effective if you are fundraising for a specific cause.

You might have noticed that last bit! That’s the catch – “specific cause” – it is far easier to raise money for an emergency than it is to raise money to support your ongoing projects. There are some charities, of course, that do directly raise funds using social media but what if your work, as essential as it may be, is just not… enough, or cuddly enough? That’s the no bit – you can’t just stick a Donate button on your Facebook page and sit back and wait for the pennies to roll in.

Don’t lose hope though! The best bit about social media is that it’s social, and that behind that Twitter @ is a human being, and we humans do like to share. We like to let our friends know what we’re up to, whether it be buying our groceries or taking part in a sponsored abseil for our favourite charity. As that lucky charity we need to make it easy for our supporters to share all this info with their friends because you never know, maybe those friends would also think that what we do is worthwhile and worth supporting and they might want to share it with their friends!

So to sum up – today I learned that we need to make it easy to share. Now I need to go and get those Retweet and Facebook share buttons up and running!

4 thoughts on “Share and share again, then share some more

  1. I was watching too…thinking…oooooohhh – brave new world! Everything happens in London so for those of us from the Provinces, we tend to miss out. Perhaps not any more.

    Ok, so I didn’t pick up everything, but I’m hoping people at the Institute of Fundraising are going to start livestreaming their events, and listening alongside keeping half an eye on tweets from the event gives a good idea of what’s going on…and a chance to share it with those there and those not.

    Thanks for the post…a good analysis I reckon.


    • Thanks Sean. I saw a tweet today from @socialsteve saying that social media is no longer hype because people are now allocating budget to it. That’s great but for now I’m working with a budget of £9 per month and what I get for that is excellent but it really helps when people share info like the stream today and long may it continue! It fits with the whole ethos of social media and sharing info and helping each other learn. I’m loving it!

  2. Nice post – glad you found the panel interesting. As you rightly point out, the Haiti appeal is an exception that’s unlikely to be repeatable in day-to-day fundraising (I wrote about this on the media 140 blog) so the challenge is embedding social media into your everyday activities or vice versa.

    And sharing is so important – as John from Bullying UK showed by the amount of sharing referrals they get. Getting the essence of your story (as every charity has a great story) nailed down, and allowing people to share it in whatever means they can is the most important thing (imho). Once you have that sorted, amazing things can happen (see Childs i foundation for a brilliant example).

    • Thanks Jonathan. It’s all a learning process for me at the moment so it’s really great to be able to hear other people’s experience and of course their tips for successful implementation of social media. The struggle is always to persuade others in the organisation to embrace the ideas and the tools involved so it’s great to hear of other non-profits doing it successfully like the Childs i Foundation- of course on visiting their website I immediately recognised the Buy a Brick campaign as having been something that popped up on my facebook page not so long ago!!

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