“Fundraising isn’t something they want to be seen to tweet about”!

A tale of a hard-working fundraiser trying to make the case for use of digital in fundraising.

I like helping out past colleagues, it’s a good way to stay in touch, chew the fat and talk a little shop. But I was a bit surprised by what I heard when a fellow fundraiser recently.  We worked with back in the day and he got in touch to see if I could help out with a few issues with the head of digital at the charity he works at now:

“ he doesn’t like me tweeting @charity or me tweeting from my account. They like to tweet once a day, and fundraising isn’t something they want to be seen to tweet about”

And this was the HEAD OF DIGITAL!? The hive mind was not impressed by this at all:

Here’s what else my old mate had to say:

“The other weekend we had the largest fun run in the country and I was the only one to tweet about it….I think this was a great opportunity to engage with supporters and I wanted to Storify it but I was only one getting invovlved”

There’s gold in them there hills

What was clear is that a good cause was missing out on some pretty great opportunities to engage with its supporters and that their fundraisers where putting their hand up to help them do this. Gold! Gold I tells ye!

So other than moaning about their head of digital (who I suggested consider a career change), here are the more constructive ideas I had to influence this muppet chap and break down some of the well established friction points found where comms meets fundraising.

I began with a couple of general points to try to erode the “we shouldn’t tweet about fundraising” rubbish. I thought it would be useful to remind him what digital in the third sector (all sectors, perhaps?) should be doing:

“Any organisation which isn’t leveraging the expertise of its digital team to change the ways of working and spread digital skills across the organisation is, in my opinion, going to be left behind”

That was from Laila Takeh pondering who owns digital in charities.

I also pointed out that a lot of experienced and senior fundraisers expect their team to get involved with social media – its part of their job.

“My team and I are all using social media at work and are always encouraging our supporters to fundraise online”

That was Gary Kernahan reflecting on what he learned at the IOF national convention.

Then I got down to some specific examples of good fundraising being expressed in some way digitally.

Some ideas that may help convince the naysayer

  • People who know their stuff are encouraging other fundraisers to use Twitter, “Jump in, the Twitter stream’s warm!”, they say
  • charity: water is probably the go to digital case study from the US, but they are pretty unique. Unique though they are, they are all about digital and  all about fundraising.
  • This is a great campaign, pretty much a one band (Mark Horvath — aka @hardlynormal)  who raises awareness of homelessness via social media and uses it to fundraise. The At Home Campaign has already raised over $36k and Mark is spreading the word about a very important issue digitally (On any given night, nearly 633,782 people in the United States experience homelessness — over 60,000 of them veterans)
  • But remember, fundraising and social media isn’t all about the Twitter  you need to make all the channels work together. A great example by Beth Kanter here, she raised over $5k in memory of her dad, Earl #OceanLoveEarl.
  • If all this compelling digital story telling wasnt enough, I also threw in a stat, courtesy of Just Giving, “just one share on Facebook encourages between £1 and £18 in extra donations.” Cha-Ching!

At this point I ran out of ideas and went back to work, but I can assure you my fundraiser buddy felt well equiped to fight the good fight.

What other tips would you have included?