Fundraising – Finding Virtual Leadership using Social Media

Robert McGheeI had a great conversation with Robert McGhee, VP of Community Development, U.S. Bank. We were talking about Summer of Social Good, Twestival and 12for12K – all good intentioned attempts to raise money via social media and in person. For me, the results were less than stellar as I have written in previous posts. 

Robert and I talked about the new generation of potential donors. They want to network (in person or virtually), are immensely comfortable using social media, quick communication and updates feed them. A happy hour with some social good thrown in works for them. Not the other way around.

Traditional fundraising is a high-touch, verbose and stuffy. We are still sending event invitations via mail. These folks have electronic billing and probably receive little hard copy of anything via snail mail. They have no patience for a dull event or dinner focused on raising money.

Convert traditional event leadership recruitment and expectations into virtual event leadership.

  1. Take a look at the fans and friends on your organization Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  2. Identify those with many followers and friends
    • 500-1,000+ – you want power users
  3. Review their updates, comments, friends, pages, causes, groups – see if there is a link to your organization
    • Honestly, Facebook and Twitter can provide the best insight to a supporter we have ever had! Through these profiles, we can learn a lot about a person.
  4. Contact the power users and ask them to lead your campaign on Twitter, Facebook, web
    • Using the power of their network to invite people to support your organization
    • Ask for their advice on outreach – see what ideas they have
    • Ask them to represent you, raise money, ask their friends to support them and the organization – but using their network and social media fundraising tools.


“If you want money, ask for advice. If you want advice, ask for money.”

Because these folks have many friends and followers, the opportunity for your campaign to grow quickly is huge. A couple of friends of fans with 1,000’s of on line friends can quickly ramp up your fundraising using the social media.

Think about it – hosting a virtual event, posting  a Cause page or Tweetathon costs less than a traditional event.  We can engage the social media savvy on their turf in a medium they are comfortable.  Get them to start giving. Then it’s up to us to keep their attention in a way that works for them.  Your powerusers will have new ideas and experience – they are your new Board members – wait – your new virtual board members!

More on how to cultivate a relationship with our virtual leaders in the next post – think major donor!

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