Welcome to The Connected Church news!
Welcome to this bonus segment. We are spending the next couple of minutes talking about how to use social media as a fundraising tool, and we are anchoring this discussion on last week’s news announcement from Facebook that they have reached a new milestone of raising $5 billion on the platform.
So basically, if you look at the graph… I will attach it, if you’re just listening to me as an audio, I will attach the findings with the graphs and everything on the shownotes, do check it out… If you look at the graph, you will see that people have been using Facebook and Instagram to raise funds. And the level of fundraising has seen a steep increase from 2019 to 2021. In 2019 the total amount was $2 billion, which went up to $3 billion. And in 2021, we are not even at the end of the year, we are still in the middle of the year, and the figure has already touched $5 billion.
I just want to talk about a few things here. First is the mindset about social media channels, especially channels like Facebook and Instagram, where you constantly hear about the negative things, the fake news and all the other things that make you think, “should I really use social media? Are people really using social media?”, etc. And while we are thinking about it, nonprofits and people around the world have raised $5 billion on the platform! Now, think about that.
I’m not saying all that is not valid. I mean, the fake news, the negative things, the privacy issues, all of them are very valid. But I also want to bring to your attention what’s happening with social media. While all of this is happening, active users are continuing to increase. People are continuing to use social media. You and me as a nonprofit or ministry leaders, why are we here? We are here to serve those people. If people are continuing to use it, we need to figure out a way to continue using it ourselves, and be there for people, help people, serve people. And if fundraising is one of your goals, use social media to raise funds, because at the end of the day, you are fundraising to serve more people, right? So it’s just a shift in your thinking. It might do you a lot of good as an organization, because instead of looking at social media as something that you fight against, look at it as something that people are continuing to use and continuing to have as part of their life and think about ways in which you can add value to them by being on the platform.
I want to give you a few quick tips, just 4 tips for you to start thinking about social media as a fundraising platform.
No.1 Select the right channel. Look at 1 or 2 channels, select maybe just 1 or 2. Don’t select too many at the beginning. Because then you can focus on it and you can study it, you can study the different fundraising tools that are available. Because every channel has tools. Facebook, for example, has tools built into both Instagram and Facebook, in Stories, in news feed, in all sorts of features that they have, they have fundraising tools built into it. And it’s going to take time for you to study that. That’s why I’m saying select one or two channels, spend time studying them, find out what’ll fit you, work on some foundational stuff related to that, and move forward. That’s point number one.
No.2, after you select that particular channel, have clarity on your messaging. How are you going to message your audience on that channel? Depending on the channel. For example, if you use YouTube, then you might have to think of videos and shorts. If you use Facebook and Instagram, you might have to think of your messaging in a different way because the platform itself can take the message in a different format to people. And people’s mindset on different platforms are different. So the second tip that I have for you is to have clarity on the way you take your message or present your message to your audience on that platform. Develop that strategy, that content strategy that you’re going to have. Develop it, give it a lot of lot of clarity, involve consultants if you have to, involve your social media team, involve other experts who can help you clarify your message. That’s number two.
No. 3 is use visuals. Use lots of visuals and stories, because honestly, as nonprofits and ministries, the only way you’re going to connect to people wading through all that noise, is by using getting their attention with visuals and stories. Stories are powerful and social media is all about stories. People come to the platform to encourage themselves to find stories that are similar to themselves, and their own stories. They want to connect and they want to see something that they can relate to. So if you can tell a story and people out there feel that they can relate to that story, then they will support your cause. They will jump on the bandwagon, they will donate, they will spread the message. They will create awareness. Whatever you want them to do, they will do it. But you need to tell those stories and if possible, tell them with visuals. Because visuals are the ones that get people’s attention. So visuals and stories – that is my tip number three.
Finally, tip No. 4 is engage, with genuine teams and be real, and constantly reply to people’s comments. I see so many ministries and nonprofits just posting. People reply and they comment. But, nothing, no response from you. Because you’re so busy. How do you expect people to donate or participate in your fundraising or create awareness for you, if they don’t hear from you? they need to know that there are real people behind this organization, that are real people responding. So respond to every single comment, respond to every single message, try to be as real as possible. Don’t use just bots… I mean, use bots in a strategic way, in a way that that you have to. I’m not going to go into that topic today. Using bots is fine, but try to keep things as real as possible. So that people know that there are real people behind this organization, and they want to support you, and they want to join you, and they want to use your fundraiser and also spread awareness about your fundraiser. Those are the top quick tips I had for you.
I hope that was useful. I will also link to this particular study or report from Facebook, about the rise in fundraising on social media. Do have a look. Very fascinating and interesting.
Note: This news item is part of the weekly news show, The Connected Church News, that collects the Top 5 Digital and Social Media News each week for leaders of churches, ministries or christian nonprofit, and presents it to them in 5 mins.