Creating a well thought out social media fundraising strategy is central to a successful internet campaign. Defining goals and priorities will direct and unite the communications and fundraising staff and encourage the executive staffs to make long-term investments in media and fundraising. Social media changes so quickly and detailed that long-term strategic plans quickly make the process too complicated. To help you begin, follow these steps!
Step 1: Conduct an Online Communications and Fundraising Audit
This audit is a comprehensive review of all you online communication systems. This should not be exceptionally detailed and should be able to be completed in less than a week. The process of reviewing your current system will give your organization a better understanding of which systems can be upgraded within a realistic timeline. Begin by creating a list of the systems that need to be reviewed and then create a document that lists these systems with corresponding bullet points and scores for each system. The goal of this audit is to get a greater understand of your companies needs on social media.
Step 2: Write a Social Media Fundraising Strategic Plan
After completing the online communications and fundraising audit allocate four to six weeks to create your strategic plan, create your budget and a system for tracking and reporting success.
Step 3: Create a Budget
A social media fundraising budget will help match the items you prioritized in your strategic plans. It will be difficult to create specific dollar amounts to allocate to the strategic plan due to the diversity of the nonprofit sector. But your budget will be mostly dictated by the systems and services you select. Excel is the preferred software that visualizes monthly and annual totals.
“The far left column should list your action items and then an additional 12 columns should be inserted and titled, one for each month, where fees associated with your action items should be displayed on a monthly basis. A fourteenth column should total your monthly fees and be summed to display your total annual budget. If an action item is scheduled for September and it’s a one-time fee, then display the fee in the “September” column. If an action item requires a monthly fee, then display the monthly fee in all twelve columns from January to December, or from July to June based upon your fiscal year. If fees unexpectedly rise or fall during the year, then adjust your budget.”
Step 4: Create a System to Track, Evaluate, and Report Success
It is critical to create a system to track, evaluate, and report social media success on a quarterly basis. Get organized and be prepared to either have constant communication with key staff to report success. The plan is to achieve the goals and action items listed in you strategic plan. Provided that you listed realistic goals and achievable action items, there will be success.
“Your social media fundraising success spreadsheet is an Excel document formatted so that success can be easily visualized. The far left column should list the goals detailed in your strategic plan and then an additional 12 columns should be inserted and titled, one for each month, where the metrics associated with your action items should be entered on a monthly basis. For example, if your goal is to increase website traffic by 40 percent over one year, then the metric to track is monthly website traffic. If your goal is to increase your email list by 30 percent, then the metric to track is your total number of e-newsletter subscribers on a monthly basis. Pick one day a month and enter your metrics. A fourteenth column should then be inserted to list your goals.”
To effectively demonstrate your system’s success, you will need to have access to your website and blog traffic, e-newsletter and mobile lists, monthly online and mobile fundraising totals, and your event attendance totals. There is a science to good social media and fundraising. If you successfully implement multichannel communications and a complete fundraising strategy your numbers in your social media fundraising success spreadsheet will continue to grow month-to-month, year after year.
Okechukwu Ukah is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in Sociology with a Certificate in Fundraising and Philanthropy. He is very passionate about fundraising and local politics. After graduation, he plans to work in the non-profit sector while staying involved with Iowa City politics.