Part 1–Social Media and Major Gifts–a 3-part Series

I get weird looks from development directors when I ask them what their social networking strategy is and how it is used in the overall strategic plan with their major gift program.

“What? That’s handled by our mass communication team”, or “Huh? Major donors are not that into Twitter or Facebook.” Or even worse, “What strategic plan?”

I say, ”Nonsense!”

Social Networking and Major Gift Programs are made for each other.  In a  three part series I’m going to outline how your organization can best use social networking to enhance both your program and your major donor’s experience.

There are three distinct areas I want to cover.

  1. Research/Deepening the Relationship with Donors
  2. Cultivating and Reporting Back to Donors
  3. Raising Money

Today I want to discuss Research/Deepening the Relationship with Donors.

Good research is key in trying to understand your donors.  Remember, we want to know and understand who our donors are, what makes them tick and what they are involved in, among other things.

Google Alerts, Tweetbeep, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are all great ways to deepen your understanding of who your donors are.  In fact, if you have a caseload of donors, there is no reason you should not have all your donors on Google Alerts and Tweetbeep right now….seriously, go do it right now.

Okay, now that you have them all signed up let’s continue…

Both of these free services allow you to track your folks if they pop up on-line or Twitter.  Let me give you an example.  Let’s say you work for an east coast non-profit and one of your donors lives in California.  Your donor receives a humanitarian award in their hometown and that event is posted in a local on-line newspaper.  That night you get an alert from Google about your donor receiving that award.  You then send a nice e-mail, Tweet or Facebook post on your donor’s wall congratulating them.

How awesome is that?  Your donor will be blown away!

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are great ways to connect with donors and get great information.  You will find out what they think about life, what they’re reading, working on, who their friends are and what they are passionate about.  This is all great information to help you understand these good people.

Now, don’t get discouraged if your donors don’t accept your friend request on Facebook or don’t want to connect with you on LinkedIn.  That is also giving you great information.  Respecting and understanding your donor’s wishes on how they want to communicate with you is a key element in your relationship with them.

And, of course, not all your donors will be using social networking…but many of them will be which is why you want to understand it and use it as another way to make a connection with them.

Don’t delay.  Get on board.  And, if you currently use social networking tools, tell us how you do it and how it’s worked for you.

Next time we’ll talk about cultivating and reporting back to donors through social networking.  It’s going to be good!


Follow me on Twitter @jschreifels

About Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry

Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry have over 55 years of experience fundraising for non-profits. Richard Perry was co-owner of Domain Group until 2005. Jeff Schreifels was a Senior Strategist for Domain Group for 12 years. They came together a few years ago to start Veritus Group, a full-service major gift fundraising agency. Veritus Group has a unique, data-driven approach unlike any agency focused on major gifts. Jeff and Richard are passionate about their work, passionate about life and hopes this blog will provide you with insights and tangible benefits for you and your work. Thank you for reading!
This entry was posted in Development Directors, Major Gift Officers, Major Gifts, Marketing Plans, Non-Profits, Philanthopy, Social Networking, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Part 1–Social Media and Major Gifts–a 3-part Series

  1. Just like to say that I have been at this a long time and this is the best I’ve read anywhere, anytime. Humbling, actually. When you began a few days ago I wondered how you could keep this interesting thread of topics going on such a thing as major gifts and each time you post a thought I am compelled to read from beginning to end. Please keep at it. Jim Schaffer

  2. Pingback: How Social Media Complements Nonprofit Donor Moves Management

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