Increased use of social media for online fundraising reported

According to the 2013 eNonprofits Benchmarks study, more fundraising is occurring online and through social media channels. Nonprofits are becoming more creative with their fundraising strategies, making better use of online tools to increase awareness and drive giving. Social media channels not only help spread the word of a mission or fundraising effort quickly and efficiently, but also drive traffic to a website or donation page to boost contributions and word-of mouth-marketing all in one.

Study data
The benchmark study compared online tools for nonprofits that are being used to drive donations. When analyzing email campaigns and more social network-based efforts, social media channels are demonstrating a growing impact on nonprofit success in the digital landscape. The study revealed:

  • Online revenue increased 21 percent year-over-year thanks in part to a 20 percent jump in number of gifts collected
  • For every 1,000 email subscribers, nonprofits are also tallying 149 Facebook fans, 53 Twitter followers and 29 mobile subscribers on average
  • Facebook fans increased 46 percent since last year, while Twitter followers jumped 264 percent

As more nonprofits seek to expand their reach into new markets and countries, the use of online and social tools is driving awareness at minimal costs.

Beware of dark social traffic
Nonprofit Quarterly reported many nonprofits, like businesses, are looking to social media to increase online engagement with donors without increasing budgets. Data analytics can be used to track viewers on social media pages, online donation pages and other digital landscapes to determine which messages and links are being viewed and what efforts are falling short of expectations.

There are different types of website and social media traffic from potential donors that nonprofits should be aware of. Some viewers may reach an online donation page after typing in the cause to a search engine such as Google or Bing. This is known as organic traffic. There is also traffic derived from links shared on social media channels, as well as direct traffic that stems from a viewer typing a website into the address bar already knowing where they want to end up.

The Atlantic labeled almost all direct traffic as dark social traffic, as the website has been suggested to or read by the viewer seeking more information. A more elaborate link to another page on the nonprofit website, however, is longer and usually not typed into address bars from memory. This traffic is more likely the result of a link being shared with the viewer by the nonprofit or a friend or family member wanting to provide him or her with information. These sources of traffic are considered more social in that they may utilize email or social media channels to share the links online, rather than have someone type in the link after reading it or being told about it in general.

The more social links being shared by a nonprofit, the more visibility it may have online. Social links offer specific insights or content pertaining to an idea or concept, such as a blog post or video footage discussing a campaign. The specific content offers particular value to the viewer and is more likely to be shared. The standard link to the organization's home page, however, does not pinpoint key content pieces and is less likely to be shared with others. Make sure to send out links to specific parts of the website to increase sharing potential and drive traffic.

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