3 Reasons it’s Time to Try Social Fundraising

How To | September 26, 2014

Fundraising is hard. I’ve learned this repeatedly over the course of my career working with small and large charities across Canada and teaching fundraising to students all over North America.

It’s one of the reasons I’m a big fan of social fundraising. It’s an easier way to get donations for your cause.

What is Social Fundraising?

Fundraising has always had a social aspect to it, but social fundraising takes it to the next level by empowering grassroots donors to get their friends involved in raising money for charity.

Social fundraising encompasses both crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising.

Crowdfunding, which may seem like a new trend, has been used by nonprofits for hundreds of years. It’s typically used for very tangible projects (small and large) that have viral potential.

Peer-to-Peer fundraising involves a dedicated supporter who is recruited to fundraise through his or her personal networks on behalf of the charity. Table hosts at galas are an example of old school peer-to-peer fundraising. They would sign up, invite their friends and ask them to give. Peer fundraising is closely linked with events like runs, walks and rides in which participants create a fundraising page and seek pledges in order to participate.

3 Reasons You Should Care About Social Fundraising

Social fundraising has proved beneficial to charities for three key reasons:

1. It works

Network for Good, one of the main donation processing companies in the US, found that peer-to-peer fundraising grew by 55% in 2013 compared to 2012, and 21% in 2012 compared to 2011.

They also found that social fundraising helped boost online giving by 20%, and simply offering peer-to-peer fundraising helped increase donations by 15%.

2. It’s cost effective

Most social fundraising tools, including Chimp, FundRazr and CanadaHelps, do not cost charities or individuals anything to set up a page (there is a transaction cost in addition to credit card fees.)

The total cost ranges from 3% to 10% depending on the platform, but even at 10%, it’s still a cost-effective way to raise funds. And because it’s transaction based, you don’t pay for what you don’t raise (unlike the case with a lot of other fundraising strategies and consultants).

3. It provides long-term benefits

There can be huge residual benefits to social fundraising, like increased web traffic, a larger social following and bigger direct mail revenues. Because of the focus on digital communication, social sharing and tangible projects, social fundraising offers many opportunities for new ways of engaging with supporters. Donors may tire of getting asked to donate, but the idea of climbing a mountain, riding a bike or covering songs for charity is fun and exciting.

In my experience, social fundraising isn’t perfect but it can be a low-cost, high-impact strategy with some longer term benefits for charities.

Read how to run your own social fundraising campaign here or watch how to mobilize your supporters simply and socially for GivingTuesday and beyond in this pre-recorded webinar with Chimp’s own Jeff Golby.

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