The Impact of Conversational Messaging on Social Fundraising

As you are preparing your campaign for fundraising, you are well aware of the power of building strong relationships with your supporters. By now you have likely acquired donors and supporters, sent regular email newsletters to update your audience, and have even instituted a texting program to further your fundraising efforts.

Because you are so on top of the game, you probably have avoided social fundraising. Social media based fundraising has been somewhat polarizing because it can be a struggle to build strong relationships with supporters. However, the best recommendation is to embrace these tools as they are here to stay. Plus, the conversational messaging that is possible via these social networks have elevated social fundraising to a whole new level.

Social Media Strategy

Social media is one of the greatest tools to use for your political campaign, in part because it’s free to use. Although there are options for paid social media placements, you can maximize the impact of your organization’s profiles on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram free of charge.

Most importantly, these platforms are what make social fundraising campaigns possible! When it comes to running a social fundraiser, there are two key sides of social media to take advantage of. These are:

  • Your organization’s social networks. Use your own social media profiles to attract and interact with new supporters, and keep your followers updated with real-time posts. Social media updates are a great way to interact with your younger audiences. Challenge your supporters to take part in your peer-to-peer campaign by becoming fundraisers.
  • Your supporters’ social networks. Your supporters are key to your social fundraiser. When the request for support comes from a loved one, the likelihood of a donation is much greater. This power of “social proof” is what makes social fundraising such an effective strategy. Encourage your fundraisers to discover the power of their own social media platforms when they ask family and friends to join the cause.

All you need is a good social media marketing plan to get started! Implementing a strategy goes a long way to ensure cohesiveness and efficiency across multiple platforms, and an overall success for your nonprofit.

What is Social Fundraising?

Social fundraising, also known as peer-to-peer fundraising, is a method of fundraising in which supporters of your campaign take on a more active role in the organization by becoming fundraisers themselves.

These supporters-turned-fundraisers, armed with their own fundraising pages, take to social media and other forms of outreach to engage their families and friends and solicit donations for your organization.

Of all social media platforms, Facebook is the true blueprint for social fundraising and has been a leader when it comes to conversational messaging. It is important to note that before conversational messaging was so prevalent, social fundraising looked very different.

Social Fundraising Before Conversational Messaging
If you do a quick Google search of social fundraising, you will find that it has drawn a lot of criticism. But why?

Well first, it can be difficult to express adequate gratitude and build relationships with supporters. This is because Facebook only provides limited information about fundraiser participants and it can lead to an impersonal experience for both users who start fundraisers and those who donate to those fundraisers.

It can seem as though there are many unknowns with if and how donated funds make it to the campaign’s account. For example, if there is no follow up or thank you to a user who started a fundraiser— something that can be difficult to do as Facebook doesn’t notify you when fundraisers are started— how does that user know that the funds were received by the right organization?

For some, Facebook fundraising may seem like a less impactful source of funds. Considering 25 – 50% of all fundraisers on Facebook end without raising any funds, it can seem like a waste of time to invest significant effort into the platform.

Thinking back to how social fundraising was conducted in the past, these criticisms have been proven to be completely valid. It was said that campaigns and the like were instructed to build up their audience on social media platforms and then direct the audience to an entirely different platform (like their website) to actually engage with the supporters they discovered via social media. The social media platform was seen as a simple middleman. Because of this organizations have limited their efforts to posts broadcasting updates across their entire audience, ads to increase participation in fundraising events and other activities with a few “thank you’s” mixed in here and there.

While this isn’t the worst strategy out there, it is definitely not going to result in strong relationships with supporters or impactful growth for a social fundraising campaign. Thank goodness we now have conversational messaging to help!

Conversational Messaging Impact

Conversational messaging describes in-channel, one-on-one communications with your supporters. Rather than broadcasting a message to your full audience, you’re speaking with individual supporters about their personal connection and engagement with your organization. Check out these 5 primary campaign fundraising strategies that we can learn from the pros to ensure that your conversational messaging on social fundraising is at its highest impact.

There are also some great benefits to conversational messaging. The first is in-channel communications. About 90% of the users who start Facebook fundraisers on behalf of someone are new to that organization or cause. The platform that is chosen by a user is more than likely chosen because it is a platform that they are already comfortable using. By providing a place of engagement on a platform that is familiar to supporters, you are staying in their comfort zone which means they will continue to stay engaged a lot longer than if they were on a platform that they were not comfortable with.

Another benefit is personalized one on one messaging. This type of messaging functions as a conversation between two people— so, you can adjust the topics addressed, tips provided, appreciation expressed, and opportunities shared depending on the individual. You can ask questions about the user’s preferences and adjust accordingly, which both allows your team to collect data and the supporter to have a more enriched experience.

You’ll notice that these benefits are very similar to those of SMS marketing and text-to-give tools, which also shine due to their personalized and one-on-one nature. Both tools move toward the goal of building relationships with your supporters, rather than just raising a one-time gift.

How To Use Conversational Messaging in Your Strategy

When it comes to social fundraising, two main tools stand out for conversational messaging: Facebook groups and Facebook Messenger (obviously when using the Facebook platform).
For both options, you’ll first need supporters to opt into communications with your campaign through the tool. There are a few different ways to do this:

  • Say thank you. When you post a thank-you on a user’s fundraising campaign, invite them to connect with you through Messenger or a dedicated Facebook group.
  • Use ads. Create an ad campaign targeting your campaign’s supporters. Make the call-to-action of the campaign “Join our fundraising group!” and link directly to the group page.
  • Share the opportunity widely. Conversations, printed mailings, and posts— each is an opportunity to tell supporters about the new ways they can engage with you via social media.

Once you’ve nailed the supporters, you can now use the tools on your preferred social media platform to interact with said supporters. Here are a few ideas for conversational messaging through both tools:

  • Share gratitude, encouragement, fundraising tips, and upcoming opportunities with individual supporters. You can answer their questions and help them overcome fundraising challenges, and ask your own questions to understand them better. Then, you can tailor your recommendations to match the user’s interests.
  • Encourage participants to connect with one another, chat about their shared interest in your mission, and encourage one another to meet their goals. Check in with the group regularly to stimulate the conversation and ensure the messaging stays on brand for your nonprofit.

With all of this in mind, it’s reasonable to assume this type of conversational messaging will be a large administrative lift for your team— especially when it comes to thanking each user who starts a fundraiser and carrying on continued conversations with them. As your social fundraising audience grows, this audience can quickly outpace your team’s resources.

If these tasks seem a bit outside of your team’s current capacity, consider investing in social fundraising solutions.

Just as you’d work with an SMS marketing and peer-to-peer texting services provider, like Robocent, to manage your text-based conversational messaging, we recommend working with a social fundraising services provider to carry out the strategies we’ve provided here. You can connect with a Robocent team member today to give you all the details of how we can help.

Our team at Robocent will give your team the people, processes, and technologies needed to grow your social fundraising audience at scale. We can help you understand, inspire, and grow your audience with custom automated messaging sequences that appeal to your unique social fundraising supporters.

From increased staff time to personalized experiences for individual users, social fundraising services are key to making the most of conversational messaging on social media platforms and beyond.