Stephen Fry is a British actor, technophile, and one of the first celebrities to make use of Twitter. He describes the site as a way of enabling personalities to reach the public without having to be interviewed by reporters. His tweets originally consisted of snippets of his life and his travels, and reports from the sets of his movies and documentaries.
Lately, however, they have become dominated by appeals from non-profits. Out of twenty tweets posted by the comic actor and writer as many as eight will usually be a promotion for one charity or cause or another. So high is the demand for Stephen Fry’s audience of more than five million followers that applications for a tweet have to passed through his management who check that the non-profit’s website is robust enough to take the strain of the extra traffic before passing a selection on to the celebrity for broadcasting through social media.
Stephen Fry is not alone in finding that the audience he has accumulated is a key target for good causes. Ashton Kutcher’s Race-to-a-Million Twitter followers (he now has more than 13 million followers) was a publicity stunt created to raise money to buy malaria nets. He has since tweeted about human trafficking and climate change to name just two causes. Lady Gaga has used her 32 million-plus Twitter followers to publicize her work on compassion for the UN.
The effect has been seen right across non-profits. According to an infographic from MDG advertising, 98 percent of non-profits have a presence on Facebook and 74 percent are active on Twitter. The most common social media activity is to ask for a donation, a strategy which has increasingly been bearing fruit even in straitened times. The average donation made through social media is now $59, up from $55 last year, and $38 in 2010.
For fundraising drives, the benefits are even clearer. An online drive raises an average of just $22.97 when it excludes Twitter but brings is ten times that amount when requests for donations make use of the microblogging Twitter site.
Over twelve months, a single “Like” on the Facebook page of a non-profit will translate into $161.30, a figure which rises to $214.81 when combined with other channels. So great is the potential for non-profit contributions that organizations now promote #GivingTuesday as a hashtag-powered alternative to Black Monday as a method of fundraising. Project Hope, an international healthy charity, raised $6,720 through the hashtag this year, compared with just $784 at the same time last year.
It is one thing to ask someone on Twitter or Facebook to dig deep for a good cause, but it is quite another to expect the same person to buy a product and benefit a commercial business. But asked what most contributed to the success of a non-profit campaign on social media, the answers that the organizations gave are as true for companies as they are for charities:
- produce a detailed social media strategy;
- have executive management make social media a priority;
- and create an exclusive position for a social media marketer.
Implementing those strategies might not make you as popular as Stephen Fry or Ashton Kutcher, but it should raise funds for your business. But…do not forget what I said last week.