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Social Media and Planned Giving for Nonprofits

Social MediaOne of the most prominent problems for smaller non-profits, historically, has been being able to compete with the larger non-profits in terms of planned giving.  Larger non-profits have marketing budgets, larger checkbooks, and a larger list of donors.  But one of the most useful equalizers for these smaller companies has been the Internet; and more specifically the use of social media.  Nowadays, even if you are one of the smaller players in ‘real life’, you can be one of the larger players in terms of online presence.

Now, this isn’t to say that the newer tools that not for profits use to fundraise such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. are going to replace the older vehicles for raising money- but they will greatly enhance them.  “The purpose [of social media] is to build a relationship with supporters, engage them and tell them about work.”  Since a majority of those who give to charities are older individuals, social media has not always been a viable option.  But these days, as more and more older Americans are coming to Facebook and creating profiles to see photos of their children and grandchildren, social media can actually be a useful vehicle to attract donors to non-profits.

In particular, advertisements on social media can have a great impact on non-profit’s donor-bases and can also be extremely cost-effective.  In TheNonProfitTimes, Kristen Jaarda (senior vice president at Crescendo Interactive) looks at the difference between putting an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal and putting an ad on facebook.  It will usually cost between three thousand and five thousand dollars to run an advertisement in the WSJ- each one of these ads will result in around 3 – 8 calls to the advertiser.  Whereas a Facebook ad campaign will cost between $50 and $100 per ad and will result in roughly the same response.

Clearly, social media is a new and useful tool for non-profits to begin to use.  Though the best ways to utilize all of the outlets that social media can provide is still unclear, it is undoubtedly going to prove to be a useful tool for non-profits (and especially smaller non-profits) to be able to utilize in the future- hopefully continuing to add the the greater good and the overall positive karma of the world.