Reaching the (which?) Donors

6 Oct

Who’s listening, anyway?

It’s important to be aware of the audience one is trying to reach when using social media for fundraising purposes.  There are statistics that reflect the most active users, the number of times people log into social media sites a day, and exactly which pages they visit.  So, there are definitely ways to see who we’re reaching, but when it comes to fundraising, a second angle has to be considered.  Who’s going to click on these pages and then donate money?

According to a post at JeffBullas.com, the largest group of social network users (on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) falls in the age range of 18 and 34. On Linked In it’s ages 35-49.  While this is the largest group using social media, the older generation is also very much present in the world of social media, and is one of the fastest growing age groups.  According the the graph below, people over 50 have jumped from 25 to 47 percent.

This graph represents the age group over 65 as one of the fastest growing groups

The oldies are starting to…

The 50+ age group has a membership level of 47 percent. I think this is immensely beneficial for nonprofit groups, since this opens up the channel to reach this group through social media.  Instead of sending out emails, letters and airing TV commercials, charities can reach this age group through social media, which is much more cost efficient and faster.  Why is this an important group to target? Funds.  This age group is more likely to donate to a cause than the 18-29 year old audience, and possibly more likely than the 18-34 range mentioned earlier as the largest group.  While people of this age might contribute to a cause or volunteer their time in events and campaign efforts, they’re probably not as likely to donate the big bucks.  After all, they have student loans, rents and cheap beer to pay for.  I’m not attacking the younger group by any means- I’m a member too!  But realistically, nonprofit groups absolutely need to look at who they’re reaching.

Different strokes for different folks

So, how are charities reaching out to older audiences?  Consider the difference between the following two events.  One is an event on UConn’s campus organized by a sorority that is supporting a philanthropy which links together women with breast cancer, that’s been advertised through Facebook:

Notice the event description.  It’s short, sweet and to the point.  This is what college kids want.  They’re not going to sit and read a huge drawn out description of the group, it’s cause or event details- they only want what they need.  The group emphasized the fact that local UConn performers will be present, and included links to the band’s pages.  I’d argue an older generation would probably want a link to the cause’s page if there is one, or more information about it, since they want to know where their money is going.

Here’s the Cause Application for the Campaign for Cancer Prevention.  Granted it has a much base with more resources and most likely a team working on the Facebook page and event listings section, there are still some major differences. Here is the use their Cause Application. Check out the fundraising section.  You’ll notice a detailed description of where the money goes, how much has been raised, and how much has yet to be raised.  From this page, a viewer can donate or share the cause.  There’s also a discussion board.  These are all aspects that make the page valuable.  Since there’s more information, and it’s designed in a way that looks professional and reliable, which lends itself to credibility among the older generation.

This is one example of the types of methods used among nonprofit programs for reaching audiences of different ages.  Twitter, YouTube, and other networks also reflect this concept.  It’s an extremely important factor to consider when raising money.

Sources/related articles:

Social media marketing adviceJeffBullas.com

Facebook Facts and Statistics from the Digital Buzz Blog

The next generation of ePhilantrhropy from People to People Fundraising

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One Response to “Reaching the (which?) Donors”

  1. Rick Hancock October 6, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Very good. Excellent observations. As a communication tool social media is becoming a utility and not a luxury.

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