Lately I’ve heard lots of comments around the pitfalls and challenges of various social media platforms when it comes to corporate fundraising. I’ll be the first to admit, there are all sorts of reasons why social media is… well, frustrating to say the least. And yes, the majority of us ignore those annoying advertisements that come in the form of sponsored ads, promotions and the like.
BUT hear me out. Give me a minute (maybe two) to convince you that social media is still a major part of the fundraising game and not to be ignored.
Why You Can’t Ignore Social Media in Corporate Fundraising
Let me start off by saying that if you are going to raise more money from companies, you are going to have to spend more time on social media. I mean, I do my best to share industry info and leads via my Twitter feed, and my clients know I send them some special personalized tips but I can’t keep every client up to date with every trend (at least not every day).
The truth is that the best way to stay in the know is to be in the know and to stay engaged with what’s happening online. Here are a few examples of what I’ve learned about corporate fundraising over the past few weeks alone, simply by being active and engaged on social media.
From Ice Cream to Mental Health: Lessons Learned from Social Media
- Last month, through many of my Facebook friends, I witnessed the Children’s Miracle Network launch an incredibly successful annual Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day. I mean, who needs an excuse for a Blizzard in August, but if you did, you were in luck. On Thursday, August 2nd, for every Blizzard Treat sold by DQ, $1 or more was donated to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. By witnessing the campaign on social, I was seeing best practice in action. It was an excellent example of how to create a partnership between a national charity and a local hospital, both of whom did a great job of activating an on-brand campaign and thanking their donors at the end of the day (see campaign homepage).
Takeaway: Use social media to keep an eye on other cause marketing campaigns. Learn from their messaging, gather ideas on how they show appreciation. Many of these ideas can scale to small local businesses as easily as they can be nationalized.
- I was also so impressed by #TDThanks campaign that was focused on Customer Appreciation Day while weaving several charities into the fold. The bank thanked their customers while focusing on the community organizations and causes they are involved with, all of whom had received some amount of funding from TD. I couldn’t help but feel happy for those charities that were selected and of course so deserving of the attention. At the same time, I started connecting with my client charities to figure out how to make sure that they were on TD’s radar the next time around.
Takeaway: If you see a partner of yours launch this type of campaign, make sure they know you’re open to this sort of opportunity moving forward. Maybe reaching out over email makes sense for you or maybe there’s a better approach – that’s something we can definitely chat more about. If they are not your partner or prospect, recognize that this is the kind of content marketing strategy that is on-trend for corporate charity partnerships, and figure out how to make it work for you.
- On a less uplifting but equally impressive note from a corporate communications and corporate charity partnership perspective, was RBC’s handling of their concert with Demi Lovato. RBCxMusic had recently launched their concert announcement and its connection to Kids Help Phone. With the terrible news that Demi Lovato was facing a health crisis related to her journey with addiction, RBCxMusic had to cancel the concert, but capitalized on the opportunity to reinforce its commitment to youth mental health.
Takeaway: Make sure when unhappy or challenging news happens in association with one of your corporate partners that you are there to support them in their messaging. And, reach out and offer your assistance. Don’t assume that they are connecting their issue to the solutions you can provide.
These are just a few examples of how I am constantly upping my corporate sponsorship game by staying connected and engaged on social media. Your homework?
- Spend 30 minutes at least once a week, reviewing the social media feeds of your top 10 charities and 2 others.
- Pull out at least a couple of lessons to apply to another partnership. Write them down so they sink in.
- Craft at least 1 email to an existing or potential partner that shows a lesson learned or appreciation of something they did/are doing. Need help with this email? Send me a note here, and I will help you out!
Being (digitally) social is part of the job – yes, even when scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds happens in the wee hours of the morning or late at night when you’re in your PJs with only your cat for company. Remain open to new ideas, roll up your sleeves (grab a glass of wine – or two) and get to work.
Want to talk about it? Need a sympathetic ear about how hard it is to fit it in, or a kick in the pants to make it happen. I’m here, you can book a 45-minute complimentary call and we can talk it through. Click here to schedule a chat with me.
PS – I know a lot of us were on vacation, and maybe some of you missed my last blog. If you did it included a cameo of me in my wedding dress, and perhaps a tip or 2 about a common pitfall with proposals. Read it HERE.