bringing Online giving to social media
Online giving communities, no matter the size, can be a fruitful resource for the causes you support. For many parishes and nonprofits alike, the challenge isn’t finding those communities — it’s engaging the ones that have been with us all along. Incorporating your online giving vision into your social media presence is a surefire way to foster a reliable source of compassion, advocacy and generosity. But how do you bring your causes to the forefront without overwhelming your followers?
Cultivate Genuine Community
Building an online giving community on your social platforms requires dedicated engagement on both ends. True engagement, retaining your followers by keeping them interested and getting them involved, doesn’t happen overnight.
Meaningful relationships take effort. Your social followers came to you for a reason, but what are you doing to make them want to stay? Honest and frequent communication is a crucial component in any successful relationship, and that includes the one you’re building with your social media followers. Keep your social media presence sincere and consistent so that your followers get a true sense of who you are and what you stand for.
Once they’ve had the chance to get to know you a bit better, make sure you get to know them as well. Engaging with your social communities means just that: engaging. Respond to their comments. Answer their questions. Encourage further discussion by providing them with avenues for feedback. Show your followers that you value the community you’re creating together before you even consider presenting them with your call to action.
Worthy though your cause may be, it cannot be the primary focus of your social platforms. No one wants to be part of a community where conversations revolve around nothing but donation requests. Fostering a genuine community takes time and effort, but the fruits of your labor will be well worth it.
Share Your Giving Vision
Do your followers understand your giving vision? You already know why you care about the particular movement or organization you’re supporting, but have you told them why they should too? More importantly, do they know where and how to give should they decide to do so? Recent studies have shown that over 55% of those who interact with organizations they care about online are willing to take further action. How can you earn the compassion and consideration that your cause deserves?
Present the Opportunity: Nearly a quarter of the American population (over 63 million adults), already volunteer their talents and time to causes they care about. Why? Because they believe in making a difference.
Rather than placing all of the emphasis on the financial impact your online giving vision could produce, remind your potential givers of the human impact their generosity could make. Communicate the needs you’re trying to meet with this giving campaign and present this as an opportunity for them to help. This is a chance for them to change the world around them for the better. Making the cause a bit more personal can go a long way.
Make Giving Easy: Recent studies show that 60% of regular church-goers are willing to give to their parishes digitally. Reducing the amount of effort it takes to find your online giving site and to actually submit a donation is a crucial step in moving your online giving vision forward. Making people navigate through several different sites or fill out over-complicated forms in order to give can be discouraging and ultimately, it could greatly hinder your impact. Avoiding common mistakes like these might just be the reason your vision succeeds.
Set Clear Giving Goals: If there is a certain amount you need to earn in order to make a significant difference, let your followers know. Transparency is effective, and working towards a common goal is exciting. Let your followers know what it is specifically that you’d like to accomplish with your giving vision, and encourage participants to motivate others to help as well.
Don’t Undervalue Small Gifts: Even if they care deeply for your cause, not everyone has the same giving threshold. Although it is sometimes necessary to have a minimum giving amount established for your donation site, this can be a major deterrent for those who can’t meet that request on the spot. Allowing people to gift smaller amounts presents more people with the opportunity to make a difference. If it can be avoided, don’t rely on giving tiers. Instead, be open to accepting gifts of all sizes. Even small amounts help to move your vision forward.
Encourage Advocacy from Social Followers
Acknowledging your supporters individually with a simple “thank you” message is a great start, but why not take it a step further? Allow your donors to reach out to even more potential supporters by giving them a way to share your cause on their personal social media channels. There are a few simple ways to do this:
Promote a Cause-Specific Hashtag: Hashtags are simple to make, highly accessible and completely free to use. Turning a short support message or mission statement into a hashtag gives you an easy way to promote your cause across social mediums. Hashtags also provide people with an easy way to learn more about you and your cause. Lastly, hashtags are an invitation for your followers to promote your cause for themselves. Encourage donors to use your hashtag in their social posts in order to raise more awareness.
Craft a Post Template: With very little extra effort, you can create a template for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts that donors can share on their personal social media pages. This gives you control over the images and the messaging being associated with your parish brand and your giving campaign while still publicly recognizing your donors’ generosity.
Celebrate Your Impact
Keep your donors in the loop by sending out regular progress updates. Acknowledge the milestones you hit on the way to fulfilling your overall giving goals and celebrate with donors and non-donors alike once you reach them! Communicate to your social communities that this is something you’ve accomplished together. This invites participants to share in the joy of doing good.
Don’t let all of the social media momentum you’ve built die off once you’ve reached your giving goals. Follow up with the organizations you’ve supported and share those communications or updates with your social following. Keep your communities informed and provide them with more opportunities, both big and small, to stay involved. Now that you’ve successfully cultivated a community of giving, make sure you nurture it!