Social Media Fundraising 2012 Part II: Donor Retention

18 Jan

As I mentioned in the previous blog, Fundly was proud to assemble three of the leading experts in online fundraising to be a part of our panel for a webinar on Thursday, January 12, 2012. If you missed this outstanding discussion or just want a recap, keep reading. In this second part of a three part blog series, I’ll do my best to summarize the most important points that will help to accelerate your fundraising success this year. You can also visit to review the PowerPoint or connect to for the slideshow in conjunction with the discussion. This is definitely one hour that will positively impact your online fundraising strategies.

Our second presenter who shared in the discussion was Jeff Riddle, founder of and Riddle & Company which was recently acquired by advertising technology company ReTargeter. Addressing the question “How do we use social channels to attract, convert, and retain donors?” Riddle boils down the answer into one word: relationships. Technology is an incredible resource; however, we tend to lose some of the humanity when we don’t interact face to face. For example, when the telephone became commonplace it included the challenge to interpret what a person is fully saying without being able to read their body language. Compound this on the internet with a form of communication that doesn’t allow for voice intonation and it can be difficult for an organization to build deep, strong relationships from a distance.

Riddle’s first recommendation is “Relationships first, transactions later.” Giving is based on building a relationship of trust which takes an investment of time and effort. Secondly, Riddle explains that not all relationships are created equal so non-profits need to segment their audiences. “Give 80% of your time and resources to 20% of your top donors.” Finally, scale down your efforts based on your effectiveness. Random Tweets on your Twitter account thanking donors for their giving is cost and time effective, but will bring in a low return. Taking each donor out to a steak dinner takes a huge amount of time and financial investment, but the returns will be phenomenal (but this approach is highly improbable.) With this in mind, Riddle suggests that charity leaders create a “chain to balance effectiveness with time management.” Create the most effective method such as dinner meeting down to the lowest effort method such as writing a personal, handwritten thank you letter and compromise somewhere in between with your various levels of donors.

I must agree with Riddle: in order to create a lasting relationship, time and effort must be invested in order to have a decent outcome. To establish an ongoing partnership, we need to see each donor as an individual and appreciate each sacrificial donation that they make. Social media is a great way to connect to many people with little time and financial investment but knowing the right way to use this tool is key. Contact Fundly today to create a social media fundraising strategy to reach the masses while valuing the individual.


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