Not-for-profits like MoodOff Day are increasingly leveraging social media in a bid to convert followers into funders outside major campaigns, Jade Bentley reports.
The sentiment of giving back and donating has always been one that the general Australian population has largely rallied behind – raising over 12.5 billion for charitable causes and not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) in 2015-16 alone (according to Philanthropy Australia).
Yet, when it comes to funding, many NFPs struggle to convert followers to funds outside major campaigns and fall short of their fundraising targets on a regular basis.
NSW-based harm-prevention charity MoodOff Day is an example of an NFP that has expressed concerns over raising donations and funds outside of its campaign pushes, despite having a large following both nationally and internationally.
MoodOff Day has just wrapped up its annual Breakfast Before Browsing awareness initiative, which it hosts each year on the last Sunday of February to help draw attention to the issue of smartphone addiction.
The annual awareness day has run for the past five years, attracting over 18,000 individual and business followers in more than 20 countries and gaining some impressive media coverage over the years (including on Sky News and Network Ten).
Yet, despite the much-needed attention to its cause and the continued commitment of its followers, MoodOff Day struggles to raise the funds to run on a daily basis – let alone for the specialised campaigns and initiatives it rolls out throughout the year.
This means staff work round the clock on a volunteer basis to keep campaigns, like Breakfast Before Browsing, running. MoodOff Day is not alone in this struggle – according to the Australian Charities report 2016, one in two charities (49.6%) operate with no paid staff.
So what should charities and NFPs be doing to keep donations rolling in and converting followers to long-term funders, long surpassing those gathered during hard campaigning and pledge periods?
Assess and familiarise yourself with social trends
In Australia’s fast-paced and consumer-driven media landscape, it is important that NFPs understand social demands and trends. Charities are not only fighting for attention against other charitable organisations, they are also competing to stay relevant against social trends.
Many of the traditional tactics used to obtain donations – such as door-to-door, TV adverts and flyers/posters – are slowly becoming obsolete in a digitally dominant society. More and more engagement is happening online, particularly on social media, which means fundraising tactics should be developed to meet the changing market.
MoodOff Day founder Tapas Senapati says that while his organisation has been using social media for quite some time, it has always felt unsure about using these platforms to directly raise funds.
“There used to be the sentiment of not wanting to directly fundraise to your social media followers as they were typically audience and presence-building platforms,” Tapas says.
“But, as most of our traditional tactics are becoming less effective, we are in the process of switching tactics and social media campaigning is definitely on our radar.”
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are easy to manage platforms that allow day-to-day engagement with minimal effort and costs – perfect for NFP campaigning and networking.
“It is a matter of staying relevant and present with our supporters. Social media is a great way to connect with new pledges, but also helps us broadcast our outcomes and efforts that result directly from support and funding,” Tapas says.
“It is great to show them just where funds are going and all the work they are helping us achieve.”
Whether it be funding a short film or building a start-up from the ground up, crowdfunding has proven to be a great way to raise considerable amounts of money fast.
According to the World Giving Index 2016, Australia is ranked number three in terms of charitable contributions and generosity – meaning there is a demand for digitally compatible platforms where people can donate to various causes; thus, crowdfunding has been so effective.
However, with hundreds of initiatives/charities and businesses registering, there is no shortage of competition, making it hard to stand out among other fundraising organisations.
The key to making your crowdfunding a success is to have a killer idea and a thorough strategy. Credibility and plausibility are vital, followed by a side note of ‘interesting’ and ‘unique concept’ to pull in numbers and interest.
Partnership and sponsorship
It is beneficial for corporations and companies to donate to charitable causes.
Not only does it work on that ‘feel good factor’ for companies and employees alike, it is also a great way for an industry entity to build popularity, credibility and increase ‘social-likeness’. And it makes for great publicity – everyone loves a company who is willing to give back and contribute their time, money and resources to a good cause.
Use this to your advantage! Seek out partnerships, donations and support from organisations with similar goals and company ethos. Not only will this provide you with opportunities to increase funds, but you will also expand your network numbers, which you can call on to rally during peak fundraising periods.
While the social desire to donate and get behind charitable events and organisations has never wavered, the capabilities and means in which we must meet that desire have rapidly changed.
Those organisations that continue to implement traditional fundraising tactics might find that they are at risk of failing and could be left behind by their counterparts who have diversified and adapted to digital communication methods.
Additionally, it is no longer enough to campaign and pull pledges sporadically. While initiatives like Breakfast Before Browsing are great for bringing scope to social issues like smartphone addiction, it is equally as important for NFPs to push funding and presence all year round.
Not only does this guarantee that charities can function on a day-to-day basis, it ensure these issue stay publicised and on the radar, which can be the greatest battle for philanthropic and charitable causes.
For more information about MoodOff Day and its Breakfast Before Browsing awareness initiative visit www.moodoffday.org.
Jade Bentley is a freelance writer that is widely published in countless print and online publications nationally. With a degree in journalism, she has written across various topics, industries and genre, as well as ghostwritten content and opinion pieces for various industry experts. With years of experience across news, magazines, online articles, the business arena and publicity, Jade has not only shared of her talent and skill, but her passion for the written word.