The beginning of 2015 brought with it surprises, opportunities & fresh digital trends. My cousin, with a big passion for riding, approached me to help her design a digital campaign for Southern Equestrian Centre (SEC). Southern Equestrian Centre is a charity dedicated to helping children in need of therapy with a unique approach of healing with the horses. They are located in Zimbabwe and have touched the lives of many of their local folk through their horses. Like several local organizations, SEC depends a lot on external funds to function and run several online as well as offline fund raisers to collect money. When my cousin asked if I’d help her with a digital campaign for SEC, I figured it might be good to talk about how organizations like SEC, have the potential to raise funds through Social Media Marketing. So, here is a plan to help small causes, organizations & NGOs explore the online space and leverage their fund raising opportunities.
- Define & Understand your Target Audience: Like any basic marketing plan, it is extremely important to understand your target audiences. Understand the finer details about them: define various qualities and factors like geographic location, income, interest, etc. For e.g., SEC will target horse lovers across the globe because people who are passionate about horses will understand the role of horses in therapy and will be more open to donating to the organization. Similarly, other causes can target people based on their hobbies, interests or a behavioral characteristic.
- Build your Social Media Presence: Make sure your cause/ organization is on all platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. When you start out, not all platforms will make sense, but the audience uses these platforms differently. A lot of markets argue about duplication of audience but if used differently, funds can be raised through all these platforms. Try an influencer activity on Twitter, a photo contest on Instagram and an auction on Facebook. Additionally, there are simple yet effective tips to remember; for e.g., while creating the Facebook page, make sure you hit the cause or community page. This will enable users to organize themselves into communities of action that support specific issues, campaigns, or non-profit organizations. LinkedIn can be used to talk to corporate for tie-ups and donations. Be sure to understand which platform will be the best host for the campaign.
- Say Thank you: Most marketers will tell you this is important but only after the donation has been made. I say this is the most imperative thing. Recognize any kind of contribution, small or big, money or skill. Saying thank you via social media also means recognition and appreciation shared with their friends and family. This will be a good way to build a relationship with donors and have their long-term support.
- Encourage your Volunteers to Build their Social Media Profiles: Volunteers are always willing to share posts and information about a cause with which they are associated. When the volunteers have a good social network, the “reach” automatically increases without any paid effort.
- Online Volunteers & Skill Contribution: One of the easiest ways to engage with audience around the world is to encourage online volunteers to participate via skill contribution. They can donate money, handle the cause’s marketing, or help in building a website. This helps people from different parts of the world come together, and the cause benefits as it stands a better chance at raising more funds with minimal investment.
- Merchandise: The most popular stores nowadays are not in malls but are online. Creating fun yet cause-related merchandise will help raise money. People are always shopping and willing to spend a tad extra if it’s for a cause close to their heart. Merchandise can also be designed around what the cause stands for. SEC’s merchandise, for example, will all be focused around riding. Do not forget to showcase the merchandise on Facebook; the new call to action button of ‘shop now’ is sure to make a few sales.
If you have more ideas or want to discuss the your organization’s social media activities drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org