Social Media Can Boost Funding in a Tough Economy

Is It Hopeless For Nonprofits to Get Funding?

Since the market crash of 2008, nonprofit organizations have struggled with funding an increased demand of people needing help.  It creates challenge for nonprofits to continue providing service at pre-2008 levels and forces leaders to think unconventionally when it comes to collecting funds.  As government funding continues to dwindle, it’s difficult to address an economically strained community, but don’t become discouraged with all the negative statistics.  They’re important to consider, but there is a way to reach people wanting to help.

Social Media Is Key

Facebook and YouTube appear to be the most common outlets used by nonprofits today because they offer a forum to communicate on a personal level.  Facebook allows nonprofits to communicate what services are offered and available, share inspirational testimonials, and connect people with like interest.  For example, American Red Cross in District of Columbia, DC uses Facebook to communicate health tips regarding flu shots, how to manage fire alarms in your home, and updates on services provided abroad.  Facebook offers the ability to upload pictures, videos, web links, and instant updates during disasters.   The United Way uses Facebook to communicate ways to deal with student truancy, and other child related assistant services.  In both cases, Facebook is a useful tool to personalize messages with pictures and videos to show the worth of their efforts.  YouTube is also used by many nonprofit organizations.

YouTube videos are pure in a sense as there is no question to the testimonies or effects of where donations are being spent.   I’m suspect there is always question to the authenticity of the video, but looking at this example it is hard to say, “this is fake.”

Twitter Can Help

I don’t think many nonprofits are using the total benefits of other social media like Twitter.  Twitter can be used to communicate immediate status updates during a disaster like Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy.  It can be used to send links to where money from donations is going and how people can help.  Most feel money is the only means of help, but that’s not true.

I’ll use myself as an example.  I’m not the richest man on earth, so I don’t have a lot of money, but I can donate time, labor, or skill.  I know how to hammer a nail.  I know how to saw along a line.  I have a pickup that can be used to haul junk to the dump, and a lot more. I’m a business man by trade, but I’m able to help anyway I can.  I feel there are many like me in this world but if I knew where I can connect and donate my small part, many like me combined can make a difference.  This is where Twitter can connect the dots.


6 thoughts on “Social Media Can Boost Funding in a Tough Economy

  1. As you mention, limited availability of fundraising dollars are aggressively competed for by hundreds of cash-strapped non-profits organizations (NPOs). This competition creates big problems for smaller NPOs that do not have in-house knowledge or budgets to augment the needed skills to execute social media campaigns.

    I know from my past research, one of the biggest causes of reduced funding going to NPOs is from the rise of disaster-based competing fundraising efforts. An example of this type of funding includes the OneFund ( started in response to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Within six months and a heavy dependence on social media, that fund has raised $60m dollars from primarily Boston-area funders as illustrated in this map:

    When an unexpected $60m in fundraising dollars gets allocated to the tragic events, it severely limits the operations of local NPOs. For this reason, these NPOs need to really gain an understanding of effective social media use so that they can compete for these limited dollars.


    • Excellent points Healththatlasts. I’m especially intrigued at the amount of money quickly raised for the Boston bombing victims; a cause well deserved and respected. It is also inspiring to know the spirit of giving is as much alive today than it was pre-2008.

  2. Pingback: Have you Connected? | Jacqui Senn

  3. You make some great points. I especially enjoy your emphasis on how social media can be used effectively in disaster situations. This is quite true of Twitter, as news often breaks on Twitter these days. Also, it is extremely common to have newscasters on TV reading and displaying tweets as additional information.

    From a nonprofit perspective, I also feel Twitter can be better used as a nonprofit tool. The nonprofit I work for is mostly focused on Facebook, but I have been trying to enhance our Twitter presence recently. With Twitter, it takes time before results are seen in comparison to Facebook, and this may be why nonprofits aren’t taking full advantage of the platform. They may simply think it’s not effective.

  4. Great post. I think that the more research I do, the more businesses I find using Facebook as their number one social media platform used. This surprises me only because with any contact that I have had with this product, it has been friends and family talking about things that don’t really interest me, but if you know how to use it business wise, I guess that is is a great help. You never know who you’ll run into that wants to donate some money to a great cause.

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