Monday, February 16, 2009

Fundraising and Twitter - rabbit trail off the Dallas Twestival

Here is an article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy that asks the wrong question.

Hildy Gottlieb urges readers not to succumb to the “sirens song” of social media, which lures charities with the promise of raising money fast—and on the cheap.

I don't know why the conversation of fund raising and social media continues to exist at this level. Sound fund raising principles have continued to be developed over history. Stick with the sound principles, and strategize with how technology might apply with some of the steps and not others.

Acquisition, Cultivation, Solicitation and Stewardship -- which of these steps can best utilize social media?

If you answered Solicitation you are wrong.
If you answered, Solicitation in small amounts, you are still wrong.
Social Media platforms are not naturally conducive for fund raising.

Social media is synonymous with "conversation"
Lets all say it out loud, together...
Social media is synonymous with "conversation"

Cultivation is the step that most naturally utilizes social media. But cultivation has an end goal of solicitation. If your entire conversation is bent towards, "Eventually, I am going to ask you for money." Few people will want to engage in your conversation. Your conversation won't sound genuine.

Do you have permission to solicit your social media audience? Certainly, but if you turn your cultivation into solicitation, you could kill it in a matter of weeks. Use social media as a platform to develop advocates. Advocates can message their own audience on your behalf for small donations. Let them be the solicitors for you, and you won't have to kill the conversation.

Prerequisites for succeess...
1. Willingness to change the way you communicate. (2-way, not 1-way)
2. Willingness to change the way you control conversations. (let go)
3. Willingness to embrace technology in ways that make sense to your strategy. (twitter contains potential tactics, it is not a strategy)