Nonprofits: To Trade or Not to Trade Social Traffic for Donations?

Have you seen something like the example on the right before? (I’m sure you have.) This social “ad” poses obvious questions and requires you to like or share for an answer.

But there are two problems with it:

#1 It’s desperate. You may get likes and shares, but you may be unliked just as easily. (I’m guilty of doing this as a user!)

#2 New fans won’t be engaged fans. Non-engaged fans won’t see your future posts in their newsfeed, thanks to Edgerank.

Just don’t do it!

Trading Social Traffic for Donations

What does this mean for trading (aka begging) for social traffic for donations? The exact same.

Begging for social traffic by promising a donation comes across as desperate and uncaring. In the case of the Arnold Palmer example (below and on the left), why doesn’t MasterCard just donate the $75,000 and have Arnold Palmer thank them in a post? “Because it’ll increase social traffic,” the social managers will say.

But those managers are missing the point. What is the ROI for more likes, shares, etc? Nothing. How will you prove the social value to your ED/CMO/Board? Unknown. Will that posting strategy get you more engaged fans, donors and customers? No.

Your Next Steps

Instead of begging for likes or trading shares for dollars, create a challenge that includes the audience.

For example, inform your audience of a large donation (via social channels and traditional), but that you think can be doubled with the audience’s help. The use of crowdsourcing websites, like Kickstarter, are also available for nonprofits and can help you to fundraise for a specific campaign. Many crowdsourcing websites allow donations of as little as $5 or $10. Use your social sites to dare others to help match the donation.

Be sure to reward your audience if they reach and exceed you goals. (Hint: Embarrassment is a great and free reward.)

But which crowdsourcing site is best for your organization? We’ve collected a detailed list of 5 popular options:

I would like to thank Condescending Corporate Brand Page for finding examples of what not to do on social. Follow the Facebook page for LOLs and great advice of what NOT to do on social.


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