5 Tips on Using Social Media for Supporter Acquisition and Retention

Gaining supporters for charities/NPOs is always a challenge; the vast number of organisations people can support is growing daily. Here in New Zealand, we have a population of a little over 4.3million, for a small population we have over 23,000 registered charities.

For a country of its size, New Zealanders have a large number of charities to wade through when looking at who they can support. No easy task; sure people do select who they will support based on personal views, values and personal relationships & experiences.

From research I’ve undertaken, most people select a charity based on where they work in the community; family, children, health, welfare, international aid. For each of these, there’s normally a personal reason; when it comes to health it’s generally because the person has had a family member or friend affected by a health issue.

With the volume of data available, it’s easier for charities to tap into the market and narrow down where their likely supporters are. There are companies throughout the world who are able to offer services which will help charities pinpoint where their supporters are; some of these companies will occasionally offer their services free of charge.

Be proactive in acquiring new supporters

It’s important for all charities to be proactive in acquiring new supporters (and retaining existing supporters); the ways charities can do this are ever evolving.

Cold calling, which was the norm not too long ago is no taking a back seat to personal approaches; people on street corners talking about charities is now taking over, media are more receptive to stories on charities working on specific projects, and current supporters appear to be more open to talking about who they support and why.

With the proliferation of social media sites, charities the world over have a larger platform to talk about the work they are doing and connect with their ‘audience’. Just like businesses though, it’s important that charities aren’t just pushing their own barrow; they need to be connecting and engaging, joining in the general conversations taking place; listening to what people are saying; even if some of this is negative it’s important for charities to be seen and heard.

How you connect with your supporters, the stories you can share, the lives your charity touch and help change; all of this will help you gain the support you need to ensure you’re able to keep providing the services you offer.

Tips for Gaining Support

Some tips I’ve used to help gain support and let supporters and prospective feel as though they are part of what you are doing

1. Share stories – about you are doing, set up a blog

2. Share the stories of the people you help, ask for contributions from these people to include in your messages

3. Post videos on Youtube to show your charity ‘in action’

4. Use photo galleries on Facebook

5. Use txt messaging to interact, you can use txt to gain support too by include a short code txt message in all promotional activities

No matter what you are doing to gain (and retain) supporters remember it’s important to fully engage with, and be part of the community you work in. Offer help outside of your field, become volunteers for other community activities.

Start today.

What tactics have you been using to bolster support using social channels?

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