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PHILANTHROPY

Plan. Listen. Engage. Social Media For Philanthropies.

BY SARAH EVANS

Online Donor Statistics In terms of online donors (Blackbaud white paper), more online donors come from households including two or more adults. The online donor percentage of households with two adults is 41 percent versus 47 percent for the national level.

Create a plan.

Many new comers often times try to dive head first into social media, haphazardly throwing together a Facebook page and a Twitter account while spewing out messages left and right – “Volunteer to be on XYZ Board,” “Donate $5 to cure homelessness” or “Attend our fundraiser gala.” FAIL. While their hearts might be in the right place, this type of planning (or lack there of) only makes matters worse. Instead of formulating a plan and looking to engage potential donors, volunteers or generate buzz, many in the social media realm view these messages as noise, clutter and even worse -- spam. Social media is a tool, not an objective. Before opening a social media account, formulate goals of what you’d like to accomplish. Stronger campaigns incorporate goals of building meaningful relationships with the people you’re trying to reach, whether this is potential donors and volunteers, the media or the general public. When developing a social media plan, stay on track. All tactics should support overall objectives and serve as connections to the audiences that you’re trying to reach. Know your Audience. The average age of a social network user is 37 years old. To really know your online community and focus your efforts, research the people using the social media channels that you’ve labeled as viable tactics. Facebook Statistics There were more Facebook users from ages 26 to 44 than 18 to 25. And in a separate report, they also noted that Facebook is seeing massive increases in adoption among users aging 35 to 65. However, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is still women over 55. (Inside Facebook report in March 2009) Based on these statistics, decide whether or not Facebook is the best place to allot your resources. Twitter Statistics The media age of a Twitter user is 31. More than three times as many twitter users live in urban areas, the majority of which use Internet wirelessly (Social Media Today). 17 percent of Internet users in households earning less than $30,000 tweet, and 10 percent of Internet users in households earning more than $75,000 tweet. 24

Online donors tend to be more affluent. Starting at the level of $50,000 or more, online donors’ estimated income percentages at every bracket are consistently higher. Fifty-three percent of online donors are male, versus 49 percent female. A few (free) tools to help you start searching for your target donor audience include SocialMention, Topsy, Technorati, Twellowhood and Facebook search. Exit Strategy, Brand Ambassadors Your plan should also designate brand ambassadors and an exit strategy. This includes thinking about who controls the social media accounts (and what happens if they leave the organization), workflow (i.e. social media isn’t one more “thing”) and an exit strategy to name a few. When appointing brand ambassadors, most likely you won’t want everyone in the company using social media, as messages get muddled, confusion occurs along with the untimely release of information. It’s also important to have a policy on how to respond to negative comments. Managing Time Social media is time consuming, and it’s important to determine beforehand how much time you’re willing to devote on a daily basis to reading messages and posts and responding. When someone posts on Facebook or sends a Twitter message, a timely response is necessary to increase engagement and build relationships. By responding in online platforms, you model a behavior that rewards communication -- be prepared for more to come your way. Failing to respond due to lack of time could hurt your brand instead of helping it. The worst thing is to make a promise to your followers and not keep it. »

By responding in online platforms, you model a behavior that rewards communication — be prepared for more to come your way.

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