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Social marketing is the way to go for fundraising

Social marketing is the way to go for fundraising

Where does social marketing score over an e-mail requesting for your help that comes to your mailbox ? What’s it with a thematic campaign that attracts “Likes” and “Shares” and shows the number of donors on a webpage, with a visitor count and the daily rise in the amount collected?

Why is it more transparent, trustworthy and emotionally gratifying? There’s something in its very public nature that convinces and rewards better, where people feel the objective will really materialize and they appreciate the scale of effort as well as the public response to the campaign.

When people are surfing around topics of their interest or monitoring what their contacts/friends are doing, they naturally come across social messaging and can respond spontaneously to it. This is different from getting an intrusive e-mail because someone got hold of a database of mail IDs.

That’s the first advantage for social marketing – to identify and take up appropriate social web space, and let the nature and tone of the messaging appeal to the viewer. If you are careful to evaluate such potential spaces for their receptivity, and craft the message with the particular targeted group in mind, there are fewer chances to fail. Since the “forwards” are potentially unlimited, the campaign effectiveness can deliver far more than any e-mail campaign which is limited by the conversion ratio and the database size.

There is something in the psychology of us social beings whereby we tend to respond, and feel the urge to offer a response when the call is made in public and we can literally see or visualize several others responding to the call. It tends to impel us to take that action. There is a push that is over and beyond any impulse we may feel to answer a personal e-mail.

Imagine this, your HR manager sends you a request by e-mail to report at 9 a.m. for a flag hoisting on I-Day. Now what if there is a poster to the effect in the lobby everyone enters through. We all tend to place more weightage in the latter, because we know many others have seen and noted the poster in the lobby. We see it as a collective call, not as an individual request. This is the “weight of numbers” principle at work!

To harness this principle effectively, it is important to know the targeted group’s vocabulary, to speak their language, and to highlight the values that are common and popular with this group. Remember, in every kind and for every communication objective, no matter where or when, there is an indispensable role played by Audience Research. The more you know about your audience, the more likely you are to persuade them, to get them to act, and to win their support.

The idea of Social Marketing is to appeal to groups or segments at a time with a customized communication strategy, and to do the campaigning in collective space. The “us” and “we” element, and the power of the group must be underlined because these are factors that will enable the fundraising and the successful deployment of the funds towards helping the cause.

The nature of recognition of the contributors/donors, and the giving of thanks to them is also different in Social Marketing. Remember, all the action is happening in collective space, though some follow-up can be done individually as well as a supplement.

To succeed with this type of approach, remember the social angle, the collective space, and the characteristics and value system of the target group. Now, you can share this article with those friends in NGO circles who are planning their social strategies with fundraising objectives. You can help them thus in getting their campaign rolling!

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