by Adam Boyden
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, donations are down 9% this year, causing non-profit organizations to cut critical programs; some organizations are even in jeopardy of closure. However, as a new year approaches, the outlook doesn't have to be so grim. With the right marketing mix, savvy non-profits are able to leverage social media marketing to their benefit to reach and engage donors and offset declines. Here are some of the ways one particular non-profit, The Staley Foundation, is succeeding.
Alicia Staley, a three-time cancer survivor, has embraced social media and has reaped solid returns as a result. She uses her personal brand as a tool for increasing attention for the Foundation. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the Conduit platform have all given her the opportunity to forge better connections with key stakeholders. Here are some examples:
Facebook: Staley uses Facebook to proactively communicate with her fans and donors. She posts messages about Foundation meetings, news and events. She is also planning to use the new Cause application on Facebook to run a fundraiser this summer. Her page offers an opportunity to connect with supporters, donors and would be donors en masse with time as her only investment.
Twitter: Staley is the brand on Twitter. Many business organizations have corporate handles. However, in the world of non-profits, a more personal and direct presence is required. As the director of The Staley Foundation, Staley (@stales) has a personal story that resonates with donors and potential donors. As a result, her Twitter handle supports relationships with key constituents. Staley is committed to keeping her Twitter presence personal and engaging, especially since it has been so fruitful. She hosted two major fundraising efforts on Twitter, raising $2,000 with the first, and $3,400 during the second. Both of those efforts were promoted purely through Twitter.
Linkedin: Linkedin offers a wealth of information on fund-raising topics. Staley leverages Linkedin Answers to ask questions about by-laws, creating effective boards, managing committees for all aspects of non-profit management. Peers answer the questions, offering valuable insight that can be implemented for the Foundation. This virtual peer group keeps Staley connected to other leaders in the non-profit world. Staley's profile and activity on Linkedin also allow others to find her and the Foundation and help her spread the word to potential donors.
The Staley Foundation has the same problems many non-profits have encountered: retaining first-time visitors and one-time donors. To combat this, Staley uses a browser-based add-on called a conduit, which provides a persistent, constant interface with her community in the browser window. Staley is hopeful that the conduit will help to keep the Foundation top of mind with donors so she can further ignite fundraising efforts. Moreover, she is enrolled in the Conduit Gives program, which presents an entirely new fundraising channel.
As part of the Conduit Gives program, non-profits, such as The Staley Foundation, that leverage the Conduit Platform can now also offer their members the official Conduit Gives button. Every time a user clicks the button, Conduit will make a donation to the non-profit. Users may participate up to once a day, every day throughout 2010. Just by being involved and thinking about their organization each day, every person can make a big difference without making a donation. In total, the Conduit Gives program will provide 100 non-profit organizations the opportunity to earn more than $300,000 a month and $3.6 million in funds in 2010.
Adam Boyden is President of Conduit, which operates the Conduit Gives program.
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