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27 Feb 2020

Fundraising is at the heart of what charities do. Over the years, traditional methods of fundraising have included calendars, cake sales, coffee mornings and fitness challenges. These have worked well raising money for deserving causes, and will continue to do so. However, charities will always need money and know that baking will only get them so far.

In today’s digital world, they need to combine the old with the new.

Increasingly, charities are using social media to reach new audiences – but that is often easier said than done. After all, charities are not exactly renowned for moving with the times.

The world of social media is constantly evolving and while that means it can be hard to keep up, it also means the possibilities are endless.

Digital fundraising is based around mobile tech, giving people the opportunity to donate anytime, anywhere. Donation buttons with the right message on social media can be incredibly effective, allowing supporters to give funds easily.

But for a button to work, you need a campaign.

Every brand dreams of their campaign going viral, and in the charity sphere there are some brilliant examples of this happening. Cancer Research’s #nomakeupselfie and ALS’s #icebucketchallenge used Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat to spread their message to a global audience.

Charities need to go beyond the realms of Facebook and Twitter if they are going to modernise their social media fundraising efforts. They need to make use of different social media platforms to reach key people. Platforms such as TikTok, Caffeine, Discord and Twitch can help forge connections with new audiences and identify niche groups.

By partnering with TikTok, men’s health charity Movember has been able to expand its fundraising efforts beyond the November moustache-growing campaign. Encouraging supporters to upload videos of themselves showcasing their moustaches or what the charity means to them, TikTok donated £1 per video using the hashtag #Movember.

Twitch is another potential game changer for online fundraising, with the platform raising more than $115 million (£87 million) for charity. Charities are starting to explore the fast-paced world of live-streaming fundraising – such as the platform’s Games Done Quick events. Earlier this year, the week-long Awesome Games Done Quick raised $3.13 million (£32.38 million) for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

Charities use social media for a range of reasons. Cecilia Dominici, head of social media, news and content for Cancer Research UK says that the charity uses it to encourage supporters to take action in real life by fundraising. While Chris Gornell, senior social media manager at Macmillan Cancer Support explains: “The first purpose of our social media channels is to communicate with, and support people living with cancer.”

How to use social media to supercharge your fundraising

In a recent post, Charity Digital offered some top tips on how to improve your fundraising efforts online. These include:

  1. Plan ahead: Identify key objectives and how to promote your message
  2. Make it easy: The simpler it is for supporters to donate, the better
  3. Go mobile: Your website needs to be mobile-enabled and user-friendly
  4. More sharing, more caring: Encourage users to share your campaign through messages, videos, hashtags and tales of the own experiences on social media
  5. Say thank you: Showing your supporters their actions are appreciated is essential. Why not create a tracker that followers can share to show people how much is left to raise?

Of course, while social media can do a huge amount of good for charities, it’s not without its challenges. For example, misinformation is an ongoing issue that damages people’s confidence in where to find reliable information.

Charities also need to ensure they are measuring the impact of their social media efforts, setting clear objectives and learning from their experiences.

The other obvious challenge is how to spot new trends and opportunities on social media without getting drawn into fleeting ventures.

Are you looking at ways to boost your charity fundraising? We work extensively within the charity space with an unrivalled pool of experienced and talented marketers from the sector. Get in touch with our charity team today and brief us on your requirements. 

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