2015 Digital Fundraising To Do List #3 Allocate Budget For Paid Social Media

No More Free Social Media

The writing has been on the wall for a couple of years now. Facebook, needing to more effectively monitise its massive user base, has been gradually changing the way in which content published on brand pages is shared organically with followers – so as to encourage more brands to pay to promote their content. Last year this decline in ‘organic reach’ hit the point where the average organic reach of brand page content was around 6% – and falling fast.

Then came the official statement that from January 2015 Facebook is “bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages”. A statement widely seen as heralding the final death of free organic reach for promotional content – and that includes content you publish on your organisation’s branded page promoting fundraising asks.

So, what’s a fundraiser to do in the new ‘Pay to Play’ world of Social Media Promotion?

Well, the first thing is not to panic. Despite repeated rumours of its demise, Facebook remains the most popular social network world-wide (outside China) and older consumers are becoming increasingly active users – which is handy, as they’re the consumers most likely to be donating to charity too. So, while you may well need to change the way you use it (and other social media – as Twitter looks like going the same way) there may well still be a role for Facebook activity in your fundraising programme.

Begin by conducting a careful and honest review of just how well your own Facebook activity is really performing in support of fundraising. Not just in terms of how many Page Likes you’re getting (although we all know how much senior management love those charts), but also assessing how your levels of reach are changing for different types of content, what traffic Facebook is driving to your website, and just what that traffic does when it gets there.

Then, get online and learn about what options exist for targeting paid social content. You’ll find that these range from traditional demographic, lifestyle, interests, and ‘lookalike’ targeting to Custom Audiences through which you can specifically target people who already donate to you. The latter is especially interesting for fundraising – as it offers a targeted Social Media extension to your donor development activity (and several fundraisers I’ve spoken to recently have reported good results from tests of this).

Once you understand the options, allocate a testing budget and design some proper, robust tests to assess the real potential of paid social activity to directly support your fundraising programme. Just as you would with any other paid channel, take the time to look around and talk to other fundraisers to find-out what is and isn’t working – both in terms of targeting and the content and fundraising propositions being used. Aim to make 2015 the year you get some good benchmark data on the potential of paid social for your fundraising – which you can build-on when planning for 2016 and beyond.

Lastly, if you come across anyone who is still under the impression that Social Media is a free extension to their digital fundraising programme then do them a favour and gently bring them up to date with the way the world is changing. As, despite discussion of failing organic reach having been ongoing for a long while now, the belief that ‘Social Media is Free Media’ remains hard to shift in some quarters.

Only time will tell, but I’m hoping the shift towards paid promotion will actually bring a much needed dose of realism to the use of Facebook for fundraising – and so help lead to far greater Social Media fundraising effectiveness overall. For too long the perception that Social is a free engagement channel has led to it being pretty badly managed by many organisations when it comes to fundraising. Now that we need to start paying for it, hopefully it’ll be treated with a bit more rigour and respect – and deliver a lot more income as a result.

 

This post is the third in a series suggesting things I think fundraisers should have on their 2015 Digital Fundraising To Do List. The first two are:

#1 Conversion Rate Optimisation

#2 Get Serious About Email Fundraising

A must read for all digital fundraisers – latest free Global Digital Statistics Compendium from We Are Social

 

It’s that time of year again – when fundraisers the world-around take a breath after the end of year seasonal donation high and get ready to do wonderful things in the year ahead. So, when better to get yourself a good dose of digital market insights to help underpin your planning.

Step forward those generous folks at We Are Social – who are back with a better than ever update on their annual Global Digital, Social, and Mobile Statistics Report.

As well as global summaries, within the reports 376 pages you’ll also find country-specific sections, so you can get some real insight on your own markets as well as understand how you fit into the world-wide picture.

And, best of all – it’s free to download from SlideShare. What’s not to love!

Happy planning!

Kick-off the New Year with a healthy dose of global digital stats

The strategy projects I work on often involve organisations working in multiple countries, so I’m always on the look-out for research reports that offer country-by-country comparative digital usage data – to help assess the need for office-specific variations in plans or expectations.

With this in mind, it was great to see the Global Digital Statistics Report the kind folks at We Are Social Singapore have just made available through Slideshare (you can flick through a copy above).

From Regional Comparison data across internet, mobile, and social media usage, to detailed snapshots on 24 countries, it makes very interesting reading for anyone wanting to keep-up with how the digital world is evolving outside their local market.

Last few places available on my IFC Integrated Digital Planning Masterclass in October

International Fundraising Congress 2012

If you’re thinking of attending the annual International Fundraising Congress over in Holland this October (along with hundreds of fundraisers from over 60 countries) and would like to give your digital fundraising a real strategic boost, then do book on to the Integrated Digital Fundraising Masterclass I’m running on the first two days (15th and 16th).

Combining planning theory with examples from projects I’ve worked on across a whole load of different countries, I’ll be covering everything from overall strategic planning approaches, stakeholder consultations and opportunity evaluation, to the details of integrated activity and resource planning – so it should be fun (if you like that sort of thing)!

It’s a charities/non-profits only Masterclass and to enable me to tailor the content as much as possible to the attendees the numbers are limited, but when I last heard from the convention organisers there were still a few places left. So, if you’re interested head over to their website and get yourself signed-up – and I’ll see you there.

The main Convention programme (16th, 17th, and 18th October) also has a whole lot of great digital fundraising sessions, as well as pretty well every other aspect of fundraising you can think of, and as a regular attendee I can guarantee it’s an event like no other for refreshing your fundraising fuel tank.

If you’re not able to make it to Holland, or to get a Masterclass place, but are interested in giving your online fundraising team a strategic boost then I do run equivalent tailored training workshops for in-house teams – just drop me a note via the contact form here and I’ll see what I can do.