As if direct mail and email campaigns aren’t complex enough, the temptation of social networks sends cause marketers hurtling into No Fundraisers Land. As you might have read in Geoff’s Friday post, we returned from the 2008 Bridge Conference with minds reeling.
Geoff’s recap and the subsequent comment thread touched on flawed Facebook attributes and a call for nonprofit marketers to return to precision-oriented initiatives. True: Facebook isn’t focused . . . yet. A closer look at two examples show that nonprofits are helping to pave the way for fruitful ‘FaceSpace’ endeavors, even if only by brand awareness.
Our first witness: Geoff Handy, VP of Media & Online Communications for the Humane Society of the United States. HSUS is known for pioneering the electronic email era among nonprofits. They have a fierce e-marketing team and an army of support from all stripes.
But even with more than 52,000 MySpace friends and nearly 13,000 Facebook fans, Handy states that social networks don’t generate high traffic for HSUS. When it comes to list growth, marketing efforts in general aren’t big referrers, either. Top sources for names:
- 21% – Website visitors taking actions
- 18% – Tell-a-friend referrals
- 14% – Donations
- 10% – Purchased from 3rd party sites (e.g., Care2)
- And ranking 5th, 8% from Marketing (search, ads, social networks, etc.)
Then there’s Jonathan Colman at the Nature Conservancy. His efforts as an environmental thought leader on Digg! are widely and deservedly praised. It’s no wonder why.
Through a partnership with Lil Green Patch, the fifth most popular Facebook application, the Nature Conservancy has raised $44,650 in donations (and acquired more than 22,000 cause members) on Facebook.
- Even with those numbers, Jonathan admits that their inbound site traffic from Facebook is filed under unqualified leads. As mi amiga Sara Strope would say, “Why chase after the $500 donor in a $50 market?”
- Colman encourages others to, “Solicit support and CRM agreements from popular applications.” Partnering is smart, but doesn’t work in every case. Beth Kanter is calling for integration and ingenuity across cause-focused applications and platforms. In her own words:
app developers on FB or elsewhere who don’t know crap about fundraising or activism should collaborate more closely with nonprofits.”
Touche. But in the meantime, can we effectively learn from un-ending social media experimentation? The Nature Conservancy isn’t just growing silly dolls in a green patch – they’re seeding activists for future “harvest.” And Jonathan chalks it up to the same point: “Grow community, get data, then fundraise.”
ChipIn gives a nonprofit the ability to reach out and say “Thank you” to a donor, which is a major step in cultivation and action. (The Nonprofit Times reported that – after donating $25 to each of 10 Facebook charities, none of the nonprofits responded.)
Sheeraz Haji, the list junkie who started GetActive (acquired by Convio), says, “Big lists equals more money and more action.” Put your brand out there – wherever you can get your list and integrate targeted, tested messages across offline and online channels. Say thank you. Ask for more.
Thinking is never as good as doing.