Jennifer Hurless

Founder & CCS | Go Be Social Media

The Future of Giving Is Online

Social media and Internet crowdfunding have become integral sources in raising funds for charitable causes in a new giving landscape. Donations are instant–and impressive.

Social media is an incredible tool utilized to reach large audiences. In the past few years, it has become an integral component in digital marketing strategies for businesses. Social media can provide a succession of advantageous results in sales, leads, and branding. Additionally, it imparts a resourceful way to bring awareness to a cause and reach a relatively large number of people at a low cost. Most recently, many foundations and non-profit organizations have been using social media for these various reasons. By merging the massive influence that social media has on public communication with the humanitarian and globally poignant objectives of various foundations and nonprofits, the result is a powerful alliance of both reach and impact. For many organizations, getting their message out to as many people as possible is how they succeed in making a widespread difference. By inspiring awareness and receiving donations, they thrive on the essence of philanthropic giving.

[To read more of Jennifer Hurless’ thought leadership click here]

Intrinsically, social media and humankind are interrelated by the basis of the word “philanthropy.” The word itself translates to “the love of humanity,” otherwise the gratuitous devotion to advocating for the well-being of others. The worldwide community of people is the “social” component of the “social media,” whereas the “media” is the platforms that connect all people to share a collective responsibility in improving conditions for humanity.

After a natural catastrophe occurs, a considerable number of people worldwide will learn about a non-profit organization due to the sweeping impact the event has globally. The recent hurricanes brought about a tremendous humanitarian effort and awareness for organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and SPCA. As a result, people want to help and donate after hearing about the organizations from television or social media outlets. While this is an incredibly huge help to the organizations and the immediate cause, the objective should be to stay connected to these donors even when there isn’t a natural catastrophe. This can be achieved through social media. In traditional philanthropy, forming and cultivating donor relationships, gift giving, and gala events have been used to raise money for an organization. However, non-traditional philanthropy is steadily becoming a credible way of creating a unified community with passionate followers. This is possible because unlike traditional media such as newspaper or television, social media offers two way communication.

Currently, there are more than 50 million small businesses using Facebook pages to connect with their customers. Four million of those businesses pay for social media advertising on Facebook. Platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and even Pinterest have all established beneficial results for targeting and reaching a like-minded community of people.

As the use of social media multiplies, so does the influence that it has on philanthropic matters through various means including crowdfunding, marketing, and public relations for nonprofit organizations. Who remembers the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”? This is a perfect example of how social media was used in philanthropy. It was a huge PR success raising awareness for ALS, as it covered a worldwide demographic while implementing crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a donation-based funding whereby a large amount of donors contribute online instead of in person. Examples of crowdfunding platforms include GoFundMe, Kickstarter, IndieGogo, and more. This is still relatively new to the non-profit sector; however it’s expanding and changing every day.

It’s important to note that just having a profile on social media itself will not inspire engagement or increase awareness. Having a methodical strategy that consists of effective two-way communication is essential. Furthermore, understanding the importance of delivering messages on social platforms in the right way while actively participating on them is how successful social media works.

Social media bestows an opportunity for each person to make an impact in the world regarding what he or she cares about. The Internet is the foremost source widely used to connect people of all ages and backgrounds across the world. As recent history has demonstrated, daily Internet activity and usage has become a conventional practice due to more people gaining technological access. Consequently, people utilize this outlet to show support in the nonprofit sector. It has become not only an option but a necessity for all businesses and philanthropies, especially foundations, nonprofits, and campaigns, to be prevalent on social media. When it comes right down to it, it’s all about getting the conversation started within a like-minded community. It is through the increased effort to create brand awareness and a stronger social media presence that allows non-profits to connect with both the current and next generation of givers—with just the click of a mouse.

[For more on Go Be Social Media’s approach to Social & Digital Media click here]