This post was originally posted on the Minds On Design Lab Blog

Fundraising through social media continues to have a mixed reputation. There are plenty of folks who will say out loud, or at least in internal meetings, that it is a waste of time and efforts are better spent elsewhere. Yet there are numerous examples of how it can have great success...when done well.

This month I had the pleasure of co-presenting on The Art and Science of Social Media Fundraising with Noland Hoshino of BCause Media where we talked about some of the elements that go into successful campaigns. Here are a few of the highlights.


Being Strategic Means Learning

People often think being strategic means you are able to plan everything out ahead of time in a way that almost guarantees success. On the contrary, being strategic means you approach your social media fundraising efforts in a way that assumes there will be things to learn along the way. What you learn is then incorporated to improve your ability to reach the ultimate goal.

An example of this would be if you have a goal of raising $10,000 you could create “test run” campaigns that progressively build up to that goal rather than having one campaign, one shot to “get it right”. Benefits of this include:

  • Opportunities to learn what works and does not
  • Identify your social champions so you can effectively involve them in the larger campaign
  • Build upon smaller success to get buy in from executive leadership



Visual and Shareable “Calls To Action”

Leveraging that images generally produce higher levels of engagement in combination with your “Calls To Action” is a great way to create visibility for your campaign in social spaces.

Noland referred to these as “infosnaps”. These are brief, shareable visual elements that combine information and emotion in a way that drives action for your social media fundraising effort. Below is an example from Feeding America and you can find many more examples at Noland’s Infosnaps Pinterest board.



Measure What Matters

Peer-to-Peer fundraising campaigns are a great example of how a typical social fundraising campaign happens.  A target is set, efforts kick off and then you wait to see if you reach your goal. While the target goal for total funds raised is helpful for lots of reasons, I would say it is also not the only thing that matters.


There are lots of metrics that relate to the level of engagement you are able to create such as the number of teams, number of social shares of your campaigns, number of new donors, etc. Measuring these metrics is even more critical to the learning phase of your strategic process then simply “did we hit our target”. Ensuring you measure and learn from your engagement efforts is what will allow you to achieve greater success over time.


More Examples

Another great resource regarding social media fundraising came out recently as well. Be sure to checkout this Movie Monday video where Justin Ware talks about some of the tactics his team at Bentz Whaley Flessner used to help raise $250,000 in 36 hrs for an organization.

Have you had any success or failures with social media fundraising? We would love to hear your thoughts or questions in the comments below.

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