, Executive Director of Crosspulse
), who spoke about the experience Crosspulse has had using social media fundraising tools.
, Director of Grants and Foundations for Youth Speaks Inc.
), who spoke about Youth Speaks Inc.'s experience extending their programming online and raising funds with social media fundraising tools.
), Founder of AndaCommunications
, who spoke about nonprofit social media trends and what nonprofits should consider when launching a social media fundraising campaign.
), I spoke on the experiences that ZeroDivide
has had with the nonprofits we work with, their limitations and challenges with social media.
During the session, the lessons shared by the panelists and the questions from the audience highlighted common struggles that many nonprofits face in regards to social media. Issues of capacity, decisions on when and how to use a tool, and being open to trying new tools came up throughout the session. Below, I’ve highlighted three lessons that were discussed during the session that I think are always valuable to keep top of mind.
1) Understand the Role of Social Media Interns: After a question was asked regarding where to find social media interns, Susie Lundy made an important point about being careful and thoughtful when using interns in your social media efforts. Through your communications on social media you are sharing the voice and representing the brand of your organization. Interns are a great help when it comes to researching and sometimes creating content, but it is best practice to have a regular staff member in charge to ensure that what is shared officially by your organization is consistent with your brand.
2) Don’t Let the Social Media Tool Lead: We emphasize this a lot at ZeroDivide and the panel responses echoed this lesson repeatedly. It is important to understand the people you are trying to reach, the objectives you want to achieve, and the capacity of your organization before you decide on what social media tool to use. Also, don’t forget face to face interactions remain important. Building important relationships offline will remain a key part of your work.
3) Test and Learn (Embrace Failures): Keith Terry shared an example of how Crosspulse was unable to collect international funds that had been pledged during a social media fundraiser because the tool they used could not process international donations. Although they were unable to collect all of the pledged funds, they learned their supporter community reached beyond the US and they gained valuable insight that they can use to guide future decisions about online tools. This example shows that it's okay to test different strategies and tools until you find what works best for you. Look at data and lessons learned by others. Try a few approaches and you’ll find what is right for your organization.
That was only three lessons from a sea of many. What do you feel is most important to keep in mind when planning and executing your social media efforts and fundraising campaigns?