It’s hard for nonprofit fundraisers to get used to the back-and-forth dialogue, not to mention the slow results, that are part and parcel of building links with supporters via social networks. And apparently many nonprofits haven’t yet hit the right note — in fact, as Gary Vaynerchuk amusingly tells it in his video, “Don’t Pitch Me, Bro,” they’re acting like a “19-year-old dude,” who are “trying to close on the first engagement.”
Asking for money before you’ve built a relationship doesn’t work with potential social network donors any better than it does with the major donor philanthropist or CEO you’re having lunch with next week. That doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time. You can do a lot of relationship building for very low cost, and using only a few minutes of time each day, within these networks. But the emphasis should be mostly on building the relationship, not on opening the virtual wallets.
How do you do that? Think of your readers as friends, and tell them what’s really on your mind as you do the day-to-day work at your nonprofit. (Okay, I can hear the chuckles. Leave out the internal politics and frustration over the leaking tap.) But there’s lots of possible material that’s interesting or timely enough for a short update (like, “Got our fingers crossed about a big grant,” or “Three new volunteers started today!”) that wouldn’t be worth a newsletter update, website article, or annual report mention.
For more information on what works in this new and evolving realm, see “Social Networks as Fundraisers (or Friendraisers) for Your Nonprofit.”