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Major Gifts — Just a Tweet Away?

Sorry, no, not really. But social media can be an important part of your strategy.

January 2013 By Jeff Schreifels
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I get weird looks from development directors when I ask them what their social-networking strategy is and how it is used in the overall strategic plan with their major-gifts program.

“What? That’s handled by our mass communication team.” Or, “Huh? Major donors are not that into Twitter or Facebook.” Or even worse, “What strategic plan?”

I say, “Nonsense!”

Social networking and major-gifts programs are made for each other. In this article, excerpted from a three-part series that I wrote for the Passionate Giving blog, I outline how your organization can best use social networking to enhance both your program and your major donor’s experience.

There are three distinct areas I want to cover.

  1. Research/deepening the relationship with donors
  2. Cultivating and reporting back to donors
  3. Raising money


Research/deepening the relationship with donors
Good research is key in trying to understand your donors. Remember, you want to know and understand who your donors are, what makes them tick and what they are involved in, among other things.

Google Alerts, TweetBeep, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all great ways to deepen your understanding of who your donors are. In fact, if you have a caseload of donors, you should have all your donors on Google Alerts and TweetBeep right now. Seriously, go do it right now. OK, now that you have them all signed up, let’s continue …

Both of these free services allow you to track your folks if they pop up online or Twitter. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you work for an East Coast nonprofit and one of your donors lives in California. Your donor receives a humanitarian award in her hometown, and that event is posted in a local online newspaper. That night you get an alert from Google about your donor receiving that award. You then send a nice e-mail, tweet or Facebook post on your donor’s wall congratulating her.


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