Nonprofit staffers waver on whether social media actually delivers when it comes to fundraising. Social media definitely elevates your nonprofit’s marketing plan by inviting supporters to share stories and facilitating conversation with donors. But how exactly can we leverage social media for fundraising? The conversation continues, and we’d like to contribute.

Leveraging social media for fundraising does indeed increase donations. Absolutely. But to get the most out of fundraising with social media, you must stay focused on how it works. Social media is not the best platform for collecting donations. In fact, it’s email fundraising’s clumsy, less talented kid brother. And though nonprofits collect more via email, the wisest organizations still invest in social media. They invest because Facebook, YouTube and other social media resources dominate as fundraisers. Here’s how.

Lovey Dovey-less Relationships

Social media can give a fledgling donor database the boost it needs to nurture your nonprofit’s existent relationships. For example, if a current follower retweets a link to your donations page and asks their followers to do the same, your audience will broaden very quickly. And if a budding donor likes your Facebook posts so much that they subscribe to your email newsletter, they might be inclined to donate after a compelling appeal or two.

Oh, Oh It’s Magic

Let social media work its moneymaking magic by using it as a marketing tool for your fundraiser, not as the fundraiser itself. For example, Facebook and peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns work together so seamlessly that it’s hard to imagine one without the other. And devoted supporters are more likely to celebrate their efforts on your behalf (thus sharing your message with fans and followers) if your nonprofit has an engaging social media presence. Blog, post videos on YouTube, tweet updates—the more you interact, the more supporters will respond in kind.


Use conversations on social media as opportunities to build your nonprofit’s fundraising momentum. Specify the significance of donations. Add a picture to your Flickr photostream when a supporter adopts a dog from your shelter. Write on a donor’s wall to thank them for their recent donation. And if you’re really feeling creative, make like charity: water and create personalized donor thank-you videos.

These Public Displays of Donor Affection will motivate donors’ generosity come future fundraisers.

We’re convinced that social media plays an integral—if less showy—role in nonprofit fundraising. Tell us how your nonprofit leverages social media to increase fundraising in the comments section.