Tag Archives: twitter

3 Ways to Use Social Media for Smarter Fundraising

Guest post by Kanwei Li, Double the Donation
social media iconsHow often does your phone light up with a social media alert? Whether someone liked your picture on Instagram, retweeted that funny joke on Twitter, or commented on your latest Facebook status, you’re likely getting notifications of some kind.
While social media is a powerful tool at the individual level, it’s also useful for organizations who are trying to raise more money.

Gone are the days when all of your donors mailed in checks once a month. Many more are using technology like mobile giving and online donation forms to give to their favorite causes.

Check out the top three strategies for harnessing social media to fundraise more effectively.

And for more guidance on fundraising, check out Double the Donation’s Ultimate Guide!

1. Start asking for donations on Facebook.

Social media, and Facebook in particular, can be a great avenue to ask for and receive donations.

While you are likely already posting statuses to remind donors of how they can give to your organization, you can now receive contributions with a donation tab right on your Facebook page.

Of course, you won’t want to constantly be asking your followers for donations.

You should also use Facebook to:

  • Promote your events.
  • Let donors know about other ways to donate (like text-to-give).
  • Advertise for your upcoming fundraisers.
  • Praise your donors and volunteers.
  • Give updates about projects.
Asking for donations on Facebook is a great way to meet donors where they are. If you know that a majority of your donors use Facebook, encourage them to like your nonprofit’s page and interact with them on a regular basis.
According to a recent study, 84% of social media users share content on social media sites to show their support for a cause.
With numbers like that, your nonprofit can’t afford to ignore Facebook and other social media sites as a way to ask for donations!

2. Use social media to stay in touch.

It’s vital that you use social media as a way to stay in touch with your advocates, donors, volunteers, and prospects.

It’s important to remember that social media is a dialogue, not a monologue. You aren’t just posting, tweeting, and commenting into a void.

Your supporters are interacting and talking to each other on these different platforms, and if your nonprofit wants to be part of the conversation, it’s crucial to be aware of what you’re posting.

  • You should be responding to donor messages on social media in a timely manner.
  • You should be liking or commenting on donors’ statuses that mention your organization.
  • You should be posting pictures of your volunteers and donors during events.
There are endless ways to connect with your supporters on social media. Find what works best for your organization, and get to work!

3. Promote corporate giving programs on social media.

Some of your biggest supporters may work for companies that will reward their gifts of money and time with matching gift programs and volunteer grant initiatives.

But your donors and volunteers might not know these programs exist at their jobs!

Your nonprofit can help by promoting corporate giving programs within your social media posts.

However, just like you don’t want to bombard donors with donation appeals on Facebook 24/7, keep your promotions of corporate giving programs to once or twice a week. The more saturated the information becomes, the more likely it will be tuned out.

Social Media Affects Everyone

Social media isn’t just for teenagers and millennials anymore. More and more people of all ages are looking to sites like Facebook and Twitter to interact with each other as well as nonprofits. Make sure that your organization is optimizing its fundraising potential with social media!

About the Author


Kanwei Li is the CTO of Double the Donation. He has over 10 years of software development experience. He holds a master’s degree in Computer Science from Emory University and resides in Atlanta.

He is passionate about developing software to solve everyday problems.

Curious About Canada? A Primer for Prospect Researchers Who Don’t Own Hockey Sticks

Guest post by Preeti Gill

On this April morning, it’s -5 Celsius and the snow is blowing lightly.

I saunter in to my local Timmies, order a double double and a honey crueller, drop a few loonies on the counter and sit down for a while. It is tax time and I need to netfile before the CRA deadline. I look up from my keyboard and there’s Tony, the local hockey sensation, carrying his pet beaver on his shoulder…


Oh, Canada, where donughts (not donuts), yoga pants and timed tweets were perfected. The land where conservative fiscal policy helped our big five banks cushion Canadians (somewhat) from the economic downtown of 2007/08.

I find that where we’re from makes us exotic, especially for other Prospect Research professionals who are always on the lookout for new resources.  When Jen and I brainstormed around blog ideas, she seemed intrigued by my Canadianness.

“How far is Ottawa from Toronto?” she asked this Vancouverite who is ill-equipped to comment on any Ontario-related matters.

What I can offer is a quick primer on today’s Canada for Prospect Researchers outside my homeland, strong and free.  Here you’ll find some interesting “Timbits” about what’s new and where to access information about your friendly Canuck prospects and donors.

We are accomplished

Our Government hands out accolades to everyday and high-profile brave and successful Canadians.

Our peers also honour each other.

We are diverse

Immigration is primarily driving population growth. Environics intelligence notes that in our major urban centres, Toronto and Vancouver, nearly half of the population identify as members of a visible minority group. So the minorities are fast becoming the majority.

Canadian Immigrant magazine profiles successful new Canadians in business and other areas.

We are rich

  • Well, they are (not me) –> Canadian Business Rich 100 2014 [List]
  • The left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives studied the wealth gap in Canada and discovered that the wealthiest 86 Canadians could purchase an entire province today. [News release]
  • How much did Canada’s top 100 CEOs get paid last year? The Globe & Mail is due to update this list with 2013 figures soon. [List]

We give back in a big way

  • The late Doc Seaman left $117 million from his estate to the Calgary Foundation last year. It’s the largest ever gift to a Canadian community foundation.  (Did I mention we’re getting older, as well?)
  • The Slaight family gave $50 million to a consortium of five hospitals in Toronto.
  • An impressive 13.3 million Canadians volunteer 2.1 billion hours, according to Volunteer Canada.
  • KCI provides an addictive scroll of recent Canadian giving by individuals, corporations and foundations.
  • Blackbaud’s new Giving Index provides a monthly snapshot of our generosity. (Things are looking up.)

We are social

…but slightly more conservative in our approach to shameless self-promotion!

  • There are 8 million+ LinkedIn users, as of 2013. [Infographic]
  • Twitter opened a Canadian branch in Toronto primarily to drive advertising and sales.
  • Planning timed tweets? You may be using HootSuite which was born in Vancouver and is rapidly expanding, thanks to securing $165 million in financing.
  • Can’t get enough of Canada? Consider attending the upcoming APRA-Canada conference in Toronto this fall. This is a highly-anticipated and well-organized biennial conference with a focus on Canadian-based research resources, issues and trends.

About Preeti Gill

Preeti-2Preeti Gill is passionate about all things prospect research, pipeline management and charity capacity-building. She works at Canada’s largest community foundation in Vancouver and blogs at Sole Searcher [preetigillyvr.blogspot.ca]. With true patriot love, she welcomes social contact here and there:

Yikes! Donor Personality Traits Can be Predicted?

Who’s watching your brain?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could discover the personalities, values and needs of our donors and prospects? Now we have access to demographic information – things like age, sex, marital status, residence, average income. But what if we could really *know* what makes our prospects tick?

Of course, businesses would love this deeper layer of extremely personal information too. And a group of researchers at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California are getting much closer to making this information accessible. How? Well, just for fun, let’s use the current buzzword – Big Data!

But it’s a little more nuanced than that. Really it’s social media. That’s the place where we bare ourselves the most. We talk with our friends candidly and share our feelings along with facts. Led by Eben Haber, the IBMers are capitalizing on research done by Tal Yarkoni at the University of Colorado on how certain words correlate with certain personality traits. Dr. Yarkoni looked at blogs. Dr. Haber and crew are looking at Twitter.

What do you say in your Twitter feed? A new product created by Dr. Haber and his team is being tested by a financial services company. The claim is that in just 50 tweets it can describe your personality reasonably well. In 200 tweets it gets uncomfortably accurate.

The big question is: Could we use information about personality traits to raise more money?

Up until now, the big data sets have been pretty exclusive to higher education and sometimes other large institutions. This is not because they have so many individual records (although they often do), but because universities have so many pieces of data on each of their alums. They keep track of things like what clubs they belonged to, how many degrees received, events attended, participation in directories and more recently, online alum communities. The local food bank is not likely to ever have that much information about each of its donors. But could organizations have more information in the future?

Multi-channel fundraising – print, email, website, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – means that organizations have access to multi-channels of data. This data is attached to specific individuals. Before you can blink your eyes, the software to ride the big social media data beast will drop in price and become more accessible to the masses of nonprofit organizations. Okay, maybe it will take a few eye blinks, but if the past is a good predictor of the future, it is definitely coming.

Right now the most common piece of data we use to determine whether someone has an affinity (likes our org) is giving. We want to see things like frequency, recency and longevity. We can do a wealth screening to identify people capable of giving a lot, but that does not help us turn them into donors – into people who have an affinity for our organization and its work.

Now close your eyes and imagine … wait! read this first before closing your eyes … that you can run your database through a screening that assigns rated personality traits to each constituent record. Ahhhh! Now you can group people by personality traits and create messaging that resonates with who they are – resonates with the core of their personality. WOW! People would convert to donors at amazing rates! Right?

Until that magical day, let’s see if we can’t work on our current messaging. Little things like communicating with donors in the medium in which they like to give. No more of this sending paper to people who have demonstrated online giving. Many organizations are still struggling with what feels like “traditional” message segments, but are quite new to many. Messaging. It’s like exercise and good nutrition. There’s no magic pill (or database screening) that will ever replace it.

Which brings us back to the heart of fundraising – relationship building. Some organizations are better at it than others – regardless of budget size or the depth of data.

So although it is always fun to play with new technology and to imagine a day when science will turn “magic” into a software product, the feet on the ground (you and I) need to stay focused on what builds the best and most relationships with our organizations and missions. The right messages. The phone calls and face-to-face visits. Being real with real people.

P.S. Are you on Twitter? Let’s connect! You can find me @jenfilla I promise I won’t try to predict your personality!!

Other Resources You Might Like

Alert! Speakers Now Give Tweetable Insights

As I was honing my tweeting skills at the 2013 AFP International Conference this week, it did occur to me that some conference sessions lent themselves better to tweeting than others. In the same way that the general public has been trained to speak in news-byte sentences in the hopes of being featured on television, clearly some presenters are leading the way in presenting tweetable insights – whether they are doing it consciously or not!

Looking back on the AFP conference session I presented with Helen Brown and Debbie Sokolov, we could have created more tweetable insights in our “theory” overviews, but I don’t regret that we included Debbie’s storytelling. Presenting the structure for thought and learning and then weaving it into a real life story helps with retention and deepens understanding. Stories provide the context to which our brains can connect the theories. Maybe the answer is to provide the tweetable 140-character summary on the PowerPoint slide while the story is being told!

And there is another issue with the tweeting craze and really, with the information overload. As we all board cars, trains and airplanes to head home and return to work, once tweeted, is it forgotten? What do we do with all of the information we learned? How do we act on it? Will we be able to translate a trend or someone else’s story into our reality?

One of the things we lost forever at the end of our presentation on prospect research was the pile business cards people left for us. We turned around and poof! They were gone.

If you were one of those generous card givers, I hope you will comment here or email us so we can continue the conversation. Please also email me, Jen Filla, or Helen Brown or Debbie Sokolov if you learned something new, but are struggling with *exactly* how to implement it, if you need the *detailed* steps to make it happen.

Our presentation was designed to be an overview and yet our attendees were craving the details, the formulas, the exact solutions:

  • Some of that detail is readily available and we can point you to it.
  • Some of your questions can be answered in a short conversation.
  • And sometimes those exact solutions require an assessment and a plan.

For me, the biggest joys at the conference were being a part of the more than 4,000 people dedicated to philanthropy and fundraising and being a part of the giving by contributing a new book, some prospect research tactics and techniques, and new friendships.

About the Author

Jen Filla is president of Aspire Research Group LLC where she works with organizations worried about finding their next big donor, concerned about what size gift to ask for, or frustrated that they aren’t meeting their major gift goals. She is also co-author of Prospect Research for Fundraisers: The Essential Handbook.

You can follow Jen on Twitter: @jenfilla