Nonprofits and Social Media Contests

Chris Brogan’s post on nonprofits engaging in social media contests, like Pepsi Refresh and Chase Community Giving is worth the read. While he is more concerned about “flooding one’s channel with the promotion” and managing the contests and organizations you support, he makes an excellent suggestion,

I wish every vote cost $5, and that the $5 went into a pool for the winners. Hell, I wish every tweet requesting votes came with some kind of donation aspect to it. Then we’d raise money on the way to raising money.

Here are my thoughts and comment I left on Chris’ blog,

Thanks for this post and your thoughts on this. Always like hearing the perspective from someone not working in the nonprofit sector. I agree with you and Sue Anne Reed…imagine the money, impact and serious consideration nonprofits and the “contests” could raise if each vote was a donation. $5 or $10 is worth it when I want to select and make my voice heard. Perhaps more when so moved.

For a nonprofit to spend time “engaging” volunteers, donors, followers and friends to vote so they can win a popularity contest for anywhere from $2,500, $50,000 or more…their time could be better spent truely engaging on and off social media and raising significant money for their mission on a regular basis AND building a base of support they can cultivate. Certainly smaller organizations don’t have a chance at these contestsand could do more with $25,000 or have a higher impact than the larger groups who may raise that in a day through their well planned, executed and staffed development departments.

I also consider the “CSR” aspect of these corporate campaigns. Let’s not kid ourselves, does it raise the profile of the company who appears to be doing great good in their communities and engaging their customers? Free advertising while doing good? Maybe. I don’t drink Pepsi or any soft drinks and while Chase is my bank currently, this campaign does not make me feel better about it.

We MUST raise money to make our nonprofits successful in meeting community needs. Are these contests an effective way to do so? Should they be a part of our development or social media plans? I think it all depends on the cost benefit analysis and the human and financial resources of the organization.

That’s what I think…how about you?

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2 thoughts on “Nonprofits and Social Media Contests

  1. Barbara, I agree with you and take your arguments a step further at “Chase: What Matters?” on and in “What’s Wrong With Chase Community Giving?” on the Huffington Post.

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