Online Fundraising, Social Media, and GIVEBIG San Diego

The giveBig San Diego is over and the results are astonishing:
$2,109,640 was raised through 6,175 gifts in 36 hours. For those of us following along via Facebook, it may have appeared as if the campaign was run on social media; however, a closer look at the top 10 fundraising organizations shows a different story.

The Campaign Overall

Time frame: 36 hours
Dates: Dec. 14th at 7am to Dec. 15th at 7pm
Total raised: $2,109,640
Total  nonprofits: almost 400
Total number of gifts:  6,175
Average gift:  $342

The Top 10:

The top ten nonprofits raised $568,664, approximately 27% of all funds received. The average raised by the top 10 was $56,866. I follow many nonprofits on Facebook and saw that they were active in the campaign. In fact, I saw so many Facebook wall posts about the campaign that by 8am on the day it began I was ready to turn Facebook off.

My assumption was that much of the money was raised through social media; however, that is clearly not the case. The table below demonstrates that only two of the nonprofits tried to actively engage their social media communities in the campaign. Those two – Voices for Children and Just In Time Foster Youth – each posted about the campaign 11 times. This began shortly before the campaign kicked off and ended just afterwards.

Several other nonprofits made a couple of postings  but many made few or no postings. In fact, I have to wonder if their social media staff person even knew it was happening. . . how much more successful would they have been if they had tapped into their online networks. Remember – the average Facebook user has 150 friends. If a nonprofit has 1,000 fans, their extended network is 150,000!

Social Media & the Top 10:

  Organization Received Facebook Fans Campaign Posts Twitter Fans Campaign Tweets

1

La Jolla Music Society

$87,565

1065

1

158

1

2

High Tech High Foundation

$83,202

NA

0

NA

0

3

YMCA of San Diego County

$82,300

2375

0

1305

0

4

Voices for Children

$75,381

1137

11

360

12

5

San Diego Food Bank Corporation

$45,852

906

4

671

3

6

Monarch School Project

$43,445

502

0

485

2

7

Friends of Chula Vista Nature Center

$39,089

2440

3

342

3

8

The Preuss School

$37,975

NA

0

13

0

9

Urban Corps of San Diego County

$37,580

629

2

NA

0

10

Just In Time Foster Youth

$36,275

579

11

97

0

The question is, if social media was not a primary component for most of the top ten . . .  how did they raise all of that money? My guess is that these nonprofits planned ahead.  They probably did one or more of the following:

  • Asked core donors to give during this time frame
  • Asked several major donors to give during this time frame
  • Coordinated the ask with already planned annual fundraising campaigns
  • Sent out an eblast to their supporters
  • Included a link on their website

This does not negate the overall importance of social media to online campaigns, including this one. Here are some of the benefits of social media:

  • Donations from those who many not have given before
  • Donations from friends of friends, asked through social media
  • Larger number of smaller donations
  • Increased awareness – I saw the names of many nonprofits I had never heard from, many of whom came across my news feed from my friends rather than from the nonprofit itself
  • An opporutunity to have a conversation about the work you do and why your followers should support you

Blending Online and Offline Fundraising

Our lives today are a blur between online and offline. . . fundraising is too! You can see from the list above that online fundraising must be combined with traditional fundraising methods and strategies.

Did you follow along with the campaign? What organizations did you see that did a particularly good job of engaging their social media community? Please comment below.

Here are a few I thought did a good job of keeping followers engaged.

Want to learn more about online philanthropy? I’ll be offering a special course on online fundraising beginning in January. Check back for details!

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