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Does asking all your social media contacts for donations actually work?


Just a quick thought for now in-between reserach for other articles…

Image from the start of this week, I’ve received nine separate asks for donations or sponsorship from different people doing all sorts of cool things for the causes they support. All of the asks have been via social media and all but one are from connections I have, but that Iwouldn’t call close. I checked a few individual’s tweetstreams and it appears that they sent quite a number of (the same) asks to their contact lists.

I have no problem with people asking for support, I just wonder how effective it is when we try to scale-up our social media contacts like this?

Sure, it’s cheaper than direct mail, administering sponsor forms or indeed blasting email campaigns but I think it misses one key asset that these other media all have; no opportuntiy to engage me with what the cause is all about. I can’t easily see (or hear) the stories of how these charities are making a difference to people.

So it’s tough for me to be compelled to give.

As it turned out, I’ve sponsored the one person I know and made a donation to one other charity whose work I know. But that’s because of prior knowledge, not the asks themselves.

All opporunties to ask are precious and perhaps someone can prove me wrong but I’m just not sure that this approach is going to pay dividends in the long run.

Do you have any experience of this kind of fundraising? Did it / does it work for you? Pleae feel free to share.

Image sourced from : Twitter tips for successful non-profit fundriasing, Rosita Cortez, Social Media 4 Nonprofits (

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Sue Sinton-Smith permalink
    11/02/2011 9:30 am

    I agree, Kev. I am likely to help if people I know ask and want to share in more detail what they’re doing. If vague connections make requests which are obviously part of a mass send I probably ignore. I may retweet though. Recently I’ve started supporting original ideas such as @CerebraUK #1paday campaign to encourage original approaches.

    • Kevin Baughen permalink*
      11/02/2011 12:36 pm

      Good point Sue. I’ve retweet various asks too – it’s almost a new form of micro-volunteering! Ooh I think I’ve just invented a new classification – what do you think?

  2. 16/02/2011 11:53 am

    I think you are right. I’ve just read a great mission statement at

    NPC’s mission is to put effectiveness at the heart of how charities work and how funders give, so that more lives can be changed for the better.

    A tweet does not allow one to establish how effective the charity is going to be. Donors ought to consider this. See also great blog post by Matilda Mcduff

    • Kevin Baughen permalink*
      28/02/2011 5:07 pm

      Dr Douglas, thanks for your points… I couldn’t agree more that it is important for charities to show how effective they can be using as many charities as possible.

  3. 16/02/2011 11:59 am

    Good points, well made, Kevin.

    A line from a song just popped into my head when I read this, ‘It Ain’t What You Do, It’s the Way That You Do It… and that’s what gets results’. As you’ve said here, many are missing out on the opportunity to *engage* through social media and charity brands are probably more guilty of this than the individual fundraisers you mention – because they should know better, surely?

    The problem with these free media is that it’s all too easy to view it as being without value (people tend to value what they pay for more than what they don’t), or not to value it and take it seriously enough. I still find myself somewhat frustrated about the squandering of the huge opportunity I believe social media provide.

    Ash has just written about the value of creating engagement in this week’s beautiful bytes, if you’re interested in having a read:


    • Kevin Baughen permalink*
      28/02/2011 5:07 pm

      Thanks for the comments Rachel – you’re right that social media is such a huge opportunity when integrated with other acivities.

      And I liked the beautiful byte on social valentine too… just wondering looking at both together, if some of the reticence to take social media forward isn;t coming from the kind of resources people perceive are required to do the things outlined in Ash’s blog?

  4. 28/02/2011 11:20 am

    Enjoyed your article, Kevin – thanks.
    I do feel that it’s very important to engage with people before you make the ask – let potential donors know exactly where their money will go, what difference it will make and arguably as imporatant, WHEN their money will make a difference. As a grant making organisation, our objective is to get the money in and straight back out again – to do the job we’re here to do. We’ve arranged project visits for our corporate donors to experience, first hand, the impact their money has made. Thanks to all for their comments – the sharing of information and viewpoints is good for all of us. Sharon

    • Kevin Baughen permalink*
      28/02/2011 5:03 pm

      Sharon, I like your point about timing. “WHEN” the money is needed and when it will make the difference being described are key in managing donors’ expectations.

      Thanks for your comments

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