So What's The Problem with Social Media and Fundraising?
Let us first consider the fundamental issues with social media and digital marketing in the context of fundraising. Using tools like Facebook and Twitter, fundraisers currently seek to get visibility, to grow their audience and following. It is a form of mass marketing through engaging people in conversation, rather than directly asking or emotionally blackmailing them for money. On the whole, it has proven a much more effective way to generate donations when used strategically than traditional advertising methods. But it still a highly sub-optimal solution. Why?
In fundraising through social media, we try to draw attention and entice people to visit our social pages, to like and share our posts among their networks, thus spreading the word and raising awareness. This has, in fact, become a hard game because the social media channels are so incredibly noisy: there are now too many competing voices. This makes organizations tend to want to shout and they stop listening to their audience. We call it "Selling by Yelling" - it doesn't work!
A fundamental flaw in this social engagement approach to fundraising is that we are seeking to pull our audience in, when in order to achieve our actual goal - raising funds and donations - we have to push them away again. There is simply a large disconnect between where we create our social posts and where our donate facilities are online. Typically we are trying to pull them in to social media while pushing them out again through repeated "calls-to-actions": we need to ask them to click through to websites, send a text or create standing banking orders, etc. In others words, in order for them to give we are asking them to actively go.
The other major issue which fundraisers need to face is that the current dominant "social" platforms are set-up by the providers as aggressive advertising and marketing businesses. In essence, they derive the mainstay of their own income through forcing us to pay to advertise. There is no doubt these platforms have become seriously gamified, meaning they present us with false hopes and then greatly restrict or throttle the visibility of our posts and social presence. They limit how many people we can follow and force a unnaturally slow pace of growth on our accounts. Only if we pay, or play a very long game, do we ever get to the high visibility we need to convert enough viewers in to funds.
The third barrier that Fundraisers face is that the social platforms go out of their way to prevent organizations making money themselves by exploiting the large online presence they may have eventually built up. Community advertising, sponsorship or affiliate marketing is usually strictly against the terms of service for social accounts. This is one of the few terms that the providers do rigorously enforce.
In the attached article I explain why the new community provider Carii set out to solve these pain points which the social providers have causedhttp://bit.ly/pdsfundraising