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    How Charities Can Build Stronger Relationships Using Social Media

    SocialMediaThere are ever-increasing challenges facing Charities and Not-for-Profits as recent results show the shift in consumer behaviour is having an effect on support and donations.

    Things have changed and not-for-profits have to work harder to cut through the clutter, get noticed and motivate people to take action. But is it possible to take advantage of ever-changing digital technologies to better engage with supporters?

    The future is engaging with audiences via multiple touch-points that provide consistent content and personalised experiences.

    Here we take a look at how charities can use social media channels to engage with current and prospective supporters to build stronger relationships, establish trust and help drive donations.

     

    Facebook

    Facebook has over one billion users, of which have an average of 130 friends and interact with content around 3.2 billion times a day.  Facebook enables charities to build relationships, reach new people and drive donations, making the social network one of the most important tools that not-for-profits can use!

    Facebook enables charities to tell their story and through the core feature of interaction, reach a wider audience, engage with supporters, raise awareness of campaigns and drive traffic back to your website.  Here are some innovative ways that charities are using Facebook:

    • British Red Cross: provide information on their services through the use of interactive imagery that features clickable hotspots enabling users to watch videos, read inspiring stories and read tips and advice.
    • Macmillan Cancer Support: encourage supporters to say thank you to someone who has supported them through their experience of cancer, creating a montage of interactive messages.
    • National Autistic society: hold live chat sessions that enables people to ask questions on a range of topics relating to Autism that are answered by the charity's knowledgeable staff.
    • WWF: enables supporters to adopt an animal straight from their Facebook page. All supporters have to do is select their country of residence to view the animal adoption packages available.
    • Other Facebook apps for charities include: donation platforms, email newsletter sign up, events calendar, videos of charity initiatives, information on volunteering, live blog feed, and petitions and polls.

    Twitter

    Twitter is described as being 'a real-time information network' and with 200 million active users, of which send approximately 400 million tweets a day; it is an extremely valuable channel for charities.  Twitter is a great way to help charities engage with current and prospective supporters. It keeps charities connected to people who are interested in the work you do, and enables you to reach out and communicate in real time. 

    It is also an extremely powerful way to raise awareness about your charity and spread the word about fundraising initiatives. According to Twitter, 100% of users listen and 60% tweet!  Here are some engaging ways charities are using Twitter:

    • Dogs Trust: use Twitter to publicise the dogs in their care that need a new home. They include images and get creative with the 140 character limit describing the dogs' characteristics in a light hearted way.
    • Macmillan Cancer: interact with their supporters by replying to tweets, personally thanking those who are fundraising, wishing supporters luck for upcoming fundraising events and retweeting posts by supporters that mention their charity.
    • UNICEF UK: provide information in real-time, about situations around the world that affect children's lives. UNICEF UK tweet news bytes regularly with links to external news websites to keep supporters up to date with current issues, campaigns and initiatives.
    • Other ways that charities are using Twitter include: connecting with high profile patrons to reach out to a larger number of people, publicising fundraising events, creating hashtags to listen to what people are saying about your charity and running live feeds from an event or campaign.

    Pinterest

    Pinterest has quickly become the third most popular social networking site in the world, meaning that charities should no longer overlook it as an important way to build stronger relationships with supporters. The site currently receives over 1.36 million visitors per day with 80% of pins added to the site 'repinned' to the sites community.

    The beauty of Pinterest is that it enables charities to showcase their services, campaigns, initiatives, fundraising products and events, in a visually dynamic way that is more likely to engage with supporters and capture their attention.  Here are some engaging ways that charities are using Pinterest:

    • Amnesty UK: has dedicated a board to promoting fundraising items available in their shop, with items including prints, posters and t-shirts. Clicking on a product image directs visitors to the Amnesty UK website shop.
    • RSPCA Cambridge: with a board titled 'Give us a Home', RSPCA Cambridge uses Pinterest to publicise animals in need of a new home. The board displays images of the individual animals, along with details about them, including name, age and reason why the need rehoming.
    • Greenpeace: have created a community board described as 'a group board for the eco-conscious' encouraging supporters to pin their favourite images related to environmental issues. Followers are also encouraged to invite their friends.
    • Cancer Research UK: has created a range of boards that aim to provide a range of information on different types of cancer. Supporters can also find information on symptoms, treatments and research.
    • Other Pinterest charity boards include: introducing staff members, promoting specific campaigns, publicising events, sharing images of actively engaged supporters, providing tips and advice, providing details on current research and sharing the history of your charity.
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