Last week I wrote about how Friend to Friend fundraising must be fun and provided 5 To Do’s for your social fundraising strategy that you can use. I want to expand a bit on each of those. Let’s get to it.
1. Make it fun. For everyone.
There are three main groups involved in social fundraising; the fundraiser themselves, their friends and family and the larger community. Think specifically about these three groups, what role they play and the steps they need to take to get involved. Go back through your steps and try to find at least one area in each process for each group that you can make more fun. Maybe it is making your language more laid back and fun with a cowboy theme, “Howdy Partner, let’s go wrangle you up some donations”. Maybe it’s providing email templates that are tongue in cheek “If you don’t support my fundraiser I’m not getting you anything for Christmas”. Maybe it’s having a “sharer” award for followers on social media that share your champions’ link the most. Think of the groups. Think of the process. Then make it more fun.
2. Make it simple.
All of it. The sign up process, the donate process, communicating to people, tracking goals, etc. You have people giving up their time and energy for your cause or giving up their money to support someone doing that, make it as easy on them as possible. Don’t let too many steps, vague communications and poor design get in the way of your participants’ fun. Do some simple user experience tests with Jane from Accounting or John from Finance (not sure why I assume financial types are the least web familiar…). You can even do a couple cheap user tests using User Testing or better yet, get some donors/volunteers to try it out and give you feedback.
3. Focus on participant experience, not your funds raised.
If you are undertaking a social fundraising initiative to raise money you have already lost the battle. It’s not that you can’t or won’t raise funds and even significant funds but it’s that funds are the byproduct and deeper engagement should be the focus. That will lead you to think about how things can be easier, simpler and more fun for all the parties involved and, should, lead to more funds raised. From a fundraising standpoint, social fundraising can help you acquire new donors in an affordable manner that more deeply engages current supporters. Start with that engagement focus and participant experience and work your way back to acquired donors and funds raised. Do the reverse at your own peril…
4. Help connect people.
I recently realized I am much more of a “socialite” giver than I had ever thought. I like going to events where I know people and can chat. I like connecting with other people over sports or a shared experience. The actual event or experience is somewhat secondary. What I like is that it is shared with other people. So play off of that. Have a blog where your fundraisers can ask each other questions, put them on a special Twitter list so they can follow one another, have a launch or celebration get together at a pub, put together training groups for your fundraisers. By connecting people to one another, or at least providing them those opportunities, you are helping improve the experience and connection to others united in supporting your cause. That’s gold.
5. Give people freedom (to succeed or fail).
This may be the most counterintuitive but one of the most important. Spend your time and effort on developing a great event or opportunity, think through the steps, make it fun and simple for everyone, connect people to one another and focus on engagement… but then let them do nothing. Or let them do something completely different that doesn’t fit within your “plan” or “user flow”. This is about them. If you spend a good chunk of your time and energy chasing people down to make sure they raise money, send out emails, update their pages, etc. your chances at success, success being deeper engagement and fun for the participants, goes way down. Do all you can to set people up to succeed but be okay with, and expect a good number of people, to simply not follow through and fail.
This, social fundraising, is not “easy” by any means. When I spoke to my.charitywater.org’s developer in the early days he said about 50% of people who signed up did nothing. When I structured a campaign with a social fundraising option for Opportunity International roughly 2 out of 5 people who signed up did something of significance and only 1 out of 5 was a “success”. That’s part of the nature of the beast and there are few guarantees.
I will guarantee you this, if you make it fun (for everyone), make it simple, focus on participant experience (not funds raised), help connect people and give people freedom (to succeed or fail) you will have a much better experience yourself and stand a greater chance of success.