Using Social Media for Fundraising Events By:Nelson Ta
When I was in school, somewhere around fifth or sixth grade, my entire class had to raise money for a big camping trip. All our hopes and dreams resided solely with boxes of chocolate. The goal was for us to walk door to door or wait in front of grocery stores peddling our sweet caramel goodies. In doing so, we were supposed to learn confidence, an understanding of business, acquire problem solving skills, and all of those neat abilities. That was the goal.
However, what usually ended up happening was my parents bought the whole box, and I spent the following week sitting on the couch enjoying a bountiful feast of nougat, chocolate, almonds, and caramel. Although that does bring back fond memories and I eventually did go on my camping trip, it probably wasn’t the most effective way to raise money. If I were a kid or if I had kids (knocks on wood) presently, then I would fully take advantage of the power of Social Media when trying to fundraise.
For example, something as simple as a carwash no longer has to be restricted to word of mouth or scribbled signs posted around town. I would utilize one or all of my social networks and invite all my friends to come. The average Facebook user has about 245 friends. If only ten percent of them came out and paid 5 dollars each for a wash, then our gross revenue would already be 120 dollars. That is already more than what the box of chocolates had to offer.
Scaling fundraisers to an adult size and interest, a company could throw a game casino night to raise money for a local charity or for new office supplies. The reach can widen with the demographic of the audience. Tools such as email campaigns and LinkedIn may play a large role. Who can possibly resist an event called “Black Jack for Charity?”
This is a small sample size of the possibilities of what infusing a good natured fundraiser with Social Media creates. Over the last few years and even in the recent weeks, we can see that using the various social platforms, people can raise awareness for a particular event or issue fast. Just look at the meteoric awareness of the Invisible Children’s “Kony 2012” campaign. The company had already been around for more than a decade, but by producing a viral video, an active Facebook page, and a manageable call to action, they evoked passion and movement. Even I shelled out 30 dollars to the cause.
It’s in our nature to help others. Humans are inherently good and altruistic by design. When we see commercials of some crisis, we want to help. More often than not, we don’t because we feel powerless to change the situation and the call to action seems too steep. Thus, something like a local community event has the power to draw a significant crowd if it has the right exposure. It is close by and doesn’t require too much effort. This is where Social Media comes into play.
The traditional ways of marketing events, ads and flyers, pale in comparison to the cost efficiency (free) and reach (unlimited) of Social Media. There are many ways in which groups can organize and manage a successful campaign to raise awareness or draw people to an event.
First of all, a group should already have an established Facebook Fan page. This ensures that people understand what the organization is about and allows them to interact. As the largest Social Media platform (approaching one billion users), Facebook has the largest reach and demographic. When planning a fundraising event, create a Facebook Event in advance.
This will help raise awareness long before the event. By making it a public event, attendees can share it outward to all of their friends. Having the event on Facebook allows for detailed information to be readily available, interaction and engagement with the fans, and gives planners a rough estimate of how many people might be attending.
Promotion for the event can expand outward from there. Groups should efficiently utilize the Fan Page’s Cover photo to their advantage. It is great real estate for promoting the event. However, be aware that there are some restrictions for what can be placed on the cover photo that users should heed.
Twitter Tweet Up
As well as creating a Facebook page, groups should consider using Twitter. Twitter which has around 100 million active users works hand in hand with Facebook. Tweet the event details. Have attendees share photos, add mentions, and use hashtags during the event. If it were at a company’s Casino Night, encourage attendees to take photos of them having fun. Photos of a group standing near a poker table or someone’s expression after winning would be great for promotion for future events. People like to see real people being genuine and having fun. The possibilities are only limited by your creativity.
YouTube is another great Social Media tool. Behind Google, the video sharing giant is the second most used search engine. Create a channel and share videos from past events as a teaser for upcoming events. Capture video testimonies at the event and share outward to help fans remember the great time they had. The possibilities for what Social Media can do for fundraising is amazing.
If I were trying to raise money or if I was that 10-year-old kid again, I would be sure to use all the necessary tools to ensure the success of my campaign. Creating a Facebook group beats going door to door selling chocolate bars. Trust me.
About the Author:
Nelson Ta is the Content Editor and lead blogger for Omnibeat. As a social media enthusiast with an extensive background in writing, he strives to help businesses and people understand the latest trends in social media, technology, and marketing.