The most successful crowdfunding campaigns are those that leverage the power of social media. After all, crowdfunding is a social form of fundraising. The more people your campaign page can reach, the more money it can raise.
To set yourself up for success in crowdfunding campaigns, a strong social media following is essential. The only question is how to market your nonprofit through social media as effectively as possible, to raise awareness—and funds—for your cause.
So how can your nonprofit build that kind of relationship with your donors? Start with our top three strategies:
- Focus on depth, not breadth
- Make your social media posts visible
- Focus on social media engagement, not volume
It’s important to recognize that this kind of social media marketing isn’t just about encouraging one-time donations to a particular crowdfunding campaign. This approach can serve your nonprofit for years to come—and help you raise the funds you need, not just today but in the future.
1. Focus on depth, not breadth
Your nonprofit probably has a social media presence on several platforms already, with some percentage of your supporters following those accounts. It may be easy to set up accounts on every social media platform out there. But simply maintaining profiles on a lot of platforms takes a lot of work. Spread yourself too thin and you won’t have the time or energy to make the most of any one platform. Too many options here also translates to low engagement on any given platform. Instead, devote your time to a few select platforms that work for your audience. It’ll pay more dividends and increase engagement with each of your posts.
Where are your donors?
To choose which social media platform is best for you, first consider the habits of your donors:
- Ask your supporters. Survey them. Ask for a show of hands at events. Ask directly when you meet face to face. Nothing is as useful as direct responses from existing donors.
- Look at statistics. For platforms, you already use, determine which are the most popular with your supporters. Evaluate your follower count, impressions, and engagement rate. Also, compare levels of organic vs. paid engagement.
- Make an educated guess. Younger people tend to prefer Snapchat and Instagram, while older people often prefer Facebook. How does the average age of your donor base line up with each platform? Do you want to reach existing supporters, find new ones, or both?
What capabilities do you need?
Along with knowing where your existing supporters are spending time on social media, consider what you can do on each platform:
- Event scheduling and management. Can you use the platform to create and manage the RSVP list for a fundraising event? Can you post event updates and photos? How easy is it for supporters to share an event? And can you create a dedicated page or area that shows all of your upcoming events?
- Images and videos. Is it easy to post quality photos and videos that promote your cause?
- Branding. Does the platform allow you to customize your public profile or page to keep your branding consistent?
- Tagging. How effective are the platform’s tagging features? How easy is it for you to tag donors and sponsors in posts and photos? To join conversations around your cause, or discuss related newsworthy items?
- Advocacy. Does your nonprofit run advocacy campaigns? Do you need to share petitions on social media? How well does the platform facilitate this work?
Take it one at a time
Taking all of these factors into consideration, identify the single best platform for your organization. Start by devoting all of your social media energies to that platform. Then, once you’re comfortable with its processes, your engagement rate, and more, consider adding a second platform—or perhaps devoting more energy to another platform where your nonprofit already has a presence.
2. Make your posts more visible
So much content flows through social media that it can be a real challenge to get your posts seen—even by those who want to see them. With millions of people, organizations, and advertisers vying for attention, your posts have to cut through the noise and reach your supporters.
To make sure your posts are seen and heard—and get people to respond with action—focus on branding, timing, and tagging.
When supporters see a post from your nonprofit, do they know it’s from you? If it takes too long to realize a post is from your nonprofit, they’ve probably already scrolled past.
This is where branding comes into play. And branding on social media involves a lot more than logos. Consider:
- Tone. Does your nonprofit use a formal or casual tone? Do you use proper punctuation? Emojis? Lots of hashtags? Ideally, your organization’s tone should be instantly recognizable.
- Responses. When your followers (or others on a platform) share posts that mention your nonprofit, do you like or reply to the post? Do you respond to questions or comments?
- Images and videos. Do you often share or attach images to posts? Do they have a recognizable look and feel? Are they branded with your colors or logo? Are they tagged?
The faster your followers and supporters recognize a post as yours, the better. Even if they don’t actually stop to read the message or watch the video, you’re conditioning them to recognize the content you post, and keeping your cause fresh in their minds.
This is an underrated element of social media success. Time your posts to correspond with the times of day when your followers are most likely to be on a platform.
In general, the best times to post are at lunchtime, right after work, and right before your supporters go to bed—the times people most often check social media and pay attention to things like nonprofit news, not just updates from friends. Avoid Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.
If your nonprofit has supporters across the country or around the world, then time zones become a factor—especially if your want particular campaigns to reach supporters in specific places.
To help time your posts, explore tools like Buffer that can identify the best times to post content based on when your followers are on a given platform.
Post too often, and your followers could feel inundated or spammed—and respond by unfollowing your account. To avoid this fate, you need to share more effectively. That’s where tagging comes in.
Not only does tagging help your post get seen, it can spur re-sharing and reposting. If supporters see your post shared by many people, you benefit from the exposure—but they won’t unfollow you, because all the posts aren’t coming from your account.
To encourage other accounts to engage with yours, tag them in your posts. You’ll be introducing them to your audience. Most will return the favor by sharing or responding to posts they’re tagged in, introducing your nonprofit to their audience.
- Your supporters who have a large social following
- Your corporate sponsors
- The beneficiaries of your campaigns (with their permission)
- Names of natural disasters or any other crises your organization is responding to
- Related (but not competing) organizations that you partner with or want to spotlight
- Event venues where you host fundraising events
- Thank-yous of all kinds
You can also make use of popular or trending hashtags, to spread your posts to the audience following those tags. This puts your message in front of a large number of people—though it’s less targeted and so less likely to connect your nonprofit with potential supporters.
Want more tips? Check out these specific social media tools than can help your posts achieve even more visibility.
3. Focus on engagement, not volume
To make the biggest social media impact, worry less about how many posts you’ve made. Focus instead on how people—including you—are engaging with each post.
Engagement is, in essence, listening and responding. When people comment, you should reply. When people reply, you should reply back. Like and share their posts. Seeing your organization’s name in a notification reminds your supporters that you’re there and you’re listening.
Boosting levels of engagement is especially important when you’re:
- Hosting an upcoming fundraising event and want to increase attendance
- Launching a fundraising campaign
- Thanking donors
- Adding new people to your team
One proven way to boost engagement is with a social media contest. Some ideas:
- Photo contest. These are popular on Instagram and Facebook. Ask people to share photos on a certain theme (often with many categories, so there are more winners) by a certain date. Choose and share the winners in each image category.
- Hashtag contest. Encourage your followers to write posts on a particular theme and include your chosen hashtag. Hashtag contests are common on Twitter.
Boost engagement further by asking followers and supporters to vote on the winners with likes or reactions. Even if people don’t want to enter the contest themselves, they can still participate by voting.
Your fundraising future looks bright
While social media marketing for your nonprofit can deliver results quickly, it’s best to approach it as a long-term endeavor to build and sustain an engaged community of supporters for your cause. Your current crowdfunding campaign will benefit from your efforts, and so will any future campaigns. With these strategies and tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to social media success.