Social Media Fundraising Success

Epic Change ran a fundraising campaign over twitter this thanksgiving – #tweetsgiving!
They raised over their target of $10,000 in 48 hours. The money is intended for building a classroom in Tanzania. While the lure of social media promise for fundraising continues to elude many, there are a few hopeful and stellar examples of success.

I believe this campaign was successful for the following reasons (there may be more, but this is my sense of it right now).

1.Tangible concrete goal – raising this amount for a project is more compelling for most small donors than contributing to a general effort of an organization. A classroom in Tanzania. Every $10 is a brick, and we need 1000 bricks. Thus the donor may ask themselves how many bricks do they want to invest.

2.Trusted organization/people – Epic Change has been on twitter with a sustaining present for a long enough time to be recognizable to many – and draw in visibility through a network of trusted connections. One has to have the inner network trusting you before you can scale to second tier networks of scale. I could do a whole post just on how to establish trust in these networks. For now, I will just say that Epic Change has been following the rule of give to get by joining conversations and engaging their network in non-monetary sharing consistently.

3.Pass It On dynamic – the rules of tweetsgiving were clearly stated in the website put together just for this effort. They clearly encourage passing on the tweetsgiving to others. Furthermore, passing it on was facilitated by the core with ample thank yous and other acknowledgments. Additionally, donors are listed on the site as people to follow on twitter. There were also individual outreach efforts to get advocates for Epic Change to evangelize the the effort.

4.Tapping into Gratitude – the effort was tied into a holiday of gratitude. People give more when they are reminded of their own abundance – that they have enough. Thanksgiving is a good holiday for that reminder. And tweetsgiving reinforced this connection by asking people to post what they are grateful for along with the tag #tweetsgiving.

5.Event Bigger than Project Focus – sharing gratitude is a general activity around this holiday, so #tweetsgiving gave people a chance to share what they wanted to share in a way that really works on twitter. Tweeple like tagging for the aggregation of many voices about one topic.

6.Well-networked Core Team – this campaign was created and implemented by a team of folks rallying around the cause who are avid twitter users with networks of their own, including many vital influencers. This means the reach of the project was sufficient for success.

7.Clear timeline – the project was not open-ended or even long term. It was 48 hours. While there is probably not any clear urgency on the school being built necessitating a quick campaign, the campaign itself had a focused energy by being short-term. Attention to the cause did not require ongoing commitment of participants or even ongoing attention. Go in, twitter, make a gift, forward the action with a gratitude, and within 48 hours it is over. Meaning made, finances collected, and forward to the next activity for all involved. (note this is also cost effective for the fundraising team)

What do you think made it successful? How can you adopt these strategies in your fundraising and resource development?

2 thoughts on “Social Media Fundraising Success

  • Thanks so much for your thoughtful analysis of our effort. As I mentioned via Twitter, the main items I’d add to your list are simply agility (we’re small, so we could move in 6 days with $0), and a willingness to take the risk of potential failure.

    I also think the power of elbow grease can’t be underestimated. Our core team worked tirelessly over the course of about 10 days from idea through campaign completion – and for them (@MeshugAvi, @CarrieKerpen, @DaveKerpen, @VincentHunt and others, like @lend4health and others who leapt in to participate fully once TweetsGiving was underway) and everyone who donated and spread the word, I am so incredibly grateful.

    I’ve written my own list of success factors, which include most you’ve listed here, at http://epicchange.org/blog/2008/12/05/why-tweetsgiving-worked-imho/ along with some pretty charts and graphs. Of course, there’s not yet a twitter tool to create the network graph of retweets that I’d really like…but I’ve heard it’s on the way soon.

    Thanks again!
    Stacey

  • Hi NurtureGirl, I’ve learned a lot looking at your site and reading about your thinking already. I’m wondering if you could help me or make some suggestions for funding a trip I want to take. I want be part of a delegation to El Salvador from March 9-19 to be an elections observer for their national election on March 15. The progressive party is in the lead but violence and fear inducing tactics are increasing. I need to raise about $2000 to go. Do you think something like the TweetsGiving would be appropriate for the $ I need to raise? Do you have any suggestions for how to move forward and or who to talk to? I am new to this level of social networking and there seems a lot to learn if I were to try and use it for something like this. Thanks a lot for any suggestions you may have, Obie

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