The promise of social network fundraising was that you could set up a FaceBook or Twitter page, tap into the 100’s of millions of Tweeters and Frienders with a link to your website, and watch the donations roll in. But as mentioned in a previous post, the Washington Post reported in April that FaceBook – though good at spreading awareness – was ineffective for fundraising.
But nonprofits are certainly raising funds using the online peer-to-peer ask model. Applications like DonorPages have returned excellent results, especially for clients who guide their supporters with well-planned campaigns and events.
The Ophelia Project & Boys Initiative – Tampa Bay(OPBI) a community initiative focused on girls’ and boys’ issues related to bullying and peer aggression, have just recently completed their very successful Match Challenge, part of their annual fund drive. Using DonorPages, along with DonorPerfect Online, OPBI was able to double their previous year’s total, and even surpass this year’s goal.
How’d they do it? “Painless” fundraising. Cynthia Salas, OPBI’s former Director of Developement, explains:
“We had 48 participants, many having 100’s of personal contacts in their email accounts, fundraising for OPBI with their own DonorPage. Using DonorPages to invite those contacts to donate online was a time-saver – our board members & staff describe DonorPages as ‘painless fundraising.’ They appreciate how it helps them raise both money and awareness towards OPBI’s wonderful mission.”
Note the bold to ‘both money and awareness’, because it’s a key point that DonorPages is designed first and foremost to raise money. But OPBI also made it easy for their constituents by providing reasons for them to follow up with their contacts:
“We planned our campaign using a timeline, so we updated our DonorPages at certain times. For example, we first emphasized the girl’s story, using appropriate colors and photos. Then did the same for the boys. When fundraisers followed-up with contacts, we discovered that DonorPages automatically updated the email groups, removing those who’ve made a donation. That saved us a lot of time deleting those donors, and kept us from bothering people who had already donated.”
You can read the full story here, but what separates general social networking sites from a true Web 2.0 peer-to-peer fundraising application like DonorPages is that it’s not enough to remove the “pain” for your constituents who ask for donations on your behalf. You also have to give them the right tools that help them actually close the deal.