Utilizing social media platforms for fundraising offers nonprofits a cost-effective and efficient strategy to reach supporters and potential donors. However, research findings reveal that many nonprofits are not utilizing the full potential of these platforms to maximize their potential for creating awareness, developing trust, relationship building, and fundraising (Lee, 2021; Warner et al., 2014). It is uncommon for nonprofits to invest in online initiatives that increase the reach of their fundraising campaigns (Nageswarakurukkal et al., 2020). Successful nonprofit fundraising campaigns are prefaced by spending time on social media, building relationships and trust, allocating staff time, and building strategies that define success.
Spend Time Building Trust and Relationships
Establishing relationships and building trust with audience members through dyadic communication before an appeal is very important. One study found that satisfaction and trust influenced consumer donation intention and electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) (Feng et al., 2017). Researchers used survey data from 242 participants and found that both interactivity and dissemination of information had a significant positive effect on trust and satisfaction, which influenced consumer donation intention and eWOM. Similarly, other studies found a positive correlation between online popularity in the number of “likes’ and charitable contributions (Lee, 2021; Bhati & McDonnell, 2020).
Allocate Staff Time and Training
To better understand the experiences of nonprofits, use of social media, researchers interviewed 11 nonprofit social media experts with experience managing and implementing campaigns for highly successful nonprofit organizations and asked them what are the best social media strategies and tactics (Warner et al., 2014)? Researchers found that committing the appropriate staff time to a social media campaign is necessary to be successful. Additionally, staff should have the proper level of social media savvy. Familiarity and understanding of what makes social media networking “tick” is just as essential as sufficient financial resources (Saxton & Wang, 2014). Likewise, it was also found that nonprofits must maintain and improve the quality of service on social media to satisfy consumers and subsequently encourage them to spread the details of their charitable cause (Feng et al., 2017).
Build Strategies That Defined Success
Xu and Saxton (2019), using Twitter data on 198 community foundations, found various communicative cues such as hashtags, hyperlinks, images, and videos resulted in better messaging outcomes. This study implies that deliberate and tactical efforts in content and relationship development improve stakeholder engagement, which can be said to build trust and relationships.
Further research is needed to understand consumer motivation behind liking a Facebook page. However, the research findings conclude that nonprofits must build trust for successful nonprofit fundraising outcomes by allocating staffing and using diverse communication tactics to reach their key audiences.
Bhati, A., & McDonnell, D. (2020). Success in an online Giving Day: The role of social media in fundraising. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 49(1), 74–92.
Feng, Y., Du, L., & Ling, Q. (2017). How social media strategies of nonprofit organizations affect consumer donation intention and word-of-mouth. Social Behavior and Personality, 45(11), 1775–1786.
Lee, Y. (2021). Liked on Facebook, liked for real?: Nonprofits’ online popularity and financial performance. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 31(3), 609–621.
Nageswarakurukkal, K, Gonçalves, P & Moshtari, M (2020) Improving fundraising efficiency in small and medium sized nonprofit organizations using online solutions, Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 32:3, 286-311.
Saxton, G., & Wang, L. (2014). The social network effect: The determinants of giving through social media. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43(5), 850–868.
Warner, T., Abel, A., & Hachtmann, F. (2014). Empowered and engaged: Exploring social media best practices for nonprofits. Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing, 1(4), 391–403.
Xu, W., & Saxton, G. (2019). Does stakeholder engagement pay off on social media? A social capital perspective. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 48(1), 28–49.