Social media’s role in your nonprofit’s marketing funnel

January 24, 2011

In the midst of reading a direct marketing book the other day this simple sentence made me pause:

“One-step selling is very difficult.”

How true!

Yet we expect every appeal letter to a new prospect to bring in a big fat check.  We expect that by slapping a “donate now” button on our website, the online dollars will begin to flow in.  We launch our first email newsletter and expect our subscriber list to snowball purely by osmosis … and we expect those subscribers to donate!

You’ll always experience greater success by creating steps – and lowering your barriers to response way, way, way down … to enable you to capture the most prospective friends and supporters possible.

By creating a multi-step process – a funnel if you will – you’ll begin to create a system where your prospect actually feels that he is choosing you – rather than you pursuing him.

What do I mean about multi-step?  For the small nonprofit organization without a lot of resources, social media can provide that very important first step — with its enormous potential for exposing literally millions of people to your mission.  Your next step would, of course, be driving potential supporters to your organization’s email list.  Then you can begin the process of converting them to real fans and eventually supporters of your cause.

The mistake many organizations make in using social media is thinking that Twitter or Facebook is going to someday “bring in the big bucks.”  Chances are it’s not.  It is, however, the first step in your multi-step process!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherry Truhlar January 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Pamela, great explanation of how to approach social media. I plan to share this with a couple of clients who are working with committees for upcoming charity auctions. They are in the middle of “how do we support our event with social media”. Your post is a quick reminder of a good strategy.

Gayle L. Gifford January 26, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I keep encountering many nonprofits that have jumped into social media without any strategy at all. Thanks for a good starting thought.

Betsy Baker January 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Pamela, how true! It’s much more than “if we build it, they will come.” It IS all about steps. Thanks for your encouragement!

Tammy Zonker January 26, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Great post, Pamela. ALL relationships requires ongoing care and authentic nurturing. Thanks for the reminder; why would social media relationships be any different?

Sandy Rees January 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm

You’re so right. Nonprofits can send just one letter or one email and expect to raise all the money they need. It’s basic marketing – it’s about multiple touches with the prospect. And, good fundraising is all about building relationships, which requires lots of interaction.

Sandy Rees

nonprofit help April 20, 2011 at 10:57 am

I agree with you 100% on the fact that non-profit orgs don’t have a lot of resources since most of the team is volunteering their time. However, there are ways to get around that such using social media as mention to promote events and fundraisers. But there is no guarantee that they will rake in the big money donations. But as long as they stay persistent and engage with anyone who might be a potential donor they will be on the right path. That is one tactic I have recommended to past clients as well as establishing relationships.

FirstGiving April 4, 2012 at 6:52 am

Makes perfect sense to us Pamela. With all the clutter out there these days, you can’t simply push out your message and broadcast it. You need to pull in supporters by creating great content and engaging in smart conversation. Social media is perfect for that very reason. It’s the present and will be the future 🙂

– Dan on behalf of FirstGiving

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