Candidates and campaigns have been infatuated with the Internet ever since campaign websites and emails really started to take off around 2000. And every election cycle since we’ve seen online consultants going ga-ga over the latest new “shiny object.”
The biggies this cycle, of course, are social media opportunities from Facebook, Twitter and the like. And many a candidate has visions of campaign riches pouring into their bank account from all those “Likes” and “Follows” they’re piling up.
But with rare exception (presidential candidates and Gov. Scott Walker)…it ain’t happenin’.
The problem for most campaigns isn’t how the fundraising message is being delivered…whether it be traditional paper-and-ink snail-mail or new-and-improved email…but what the fundraising message is.
A good message to the right list will raise you money no matter how the message is delivered. But a lousy message using if the most wonderful new social media delivery vehicle will bomb…as Jeff Brooks of Future Fundraising Now explains in the column below.
And for information on how to REALLY get your own fundraising into high gear, click here:
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What’s wrong with social media fundraising?
By Jeff Brooks/Future Fundraising Now
If you have a thick skin, do what The Agitator did recently and say something critical about the use of social media for fundraising: In Defense of Serious Fundraising Dialogue.
What happens is this: A lot of 140-character shouting. You are an ignorant dinosaur.
Which is too bad, because, as the Agitator notes:
The solid, professional, serious advancement of our trade … is seriously diminished by those who flit about on the channels, all thumbs, no thought. Those who have little idea what fundraising is all about, often because they have minimal experiential grounding in what’s important and why.
Not long ago, I was held captive on a phone conference where a new media expert revealed his grand plan for a nonprofit organization’s bold new future in social media.
Beside the fact that the expert’s entire case for his grand plan was based on anecdotes about dissimilar situations, it also had several fatal flaws that anyone with even minimal fundraising experience would not have made:
• The entire campaign was hidden under a puzzling new sub-brand.
• There were no benefits — just features.
• There was no specific call to action. If the first two problems don’t kill the campaign, this one will finish it off.
The campaign is probably going to fail.
And it’s going to fail because when social media and other new channels became the topic of conversation, everyone’s brain turned off. They willingly chose to be hypnotized by a Dangerously Ignorant Guru who doesn’t actually understand the basics of human motivation.
The end result: After the failure, this organization will likely decide social media “doesn’t work.” Which will only be half-right at best. A better conclusion: When you do it wrong, it doesn’t work. Who knows what might happen when you do it right?
Social media of some kind will probably eventually become important in fundraising. But that’s not going to happen until discussions and plans become based on facts, not noise, anecdotes, or ideology.
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