Unlike for-profit companies that reap profits from selling products, nonprofit organizations rely heavily on fundraising, which is often one of their main sources of revenue. While there are plenty of advertising and marketing strategies for selling goods and services, getting people to donate to a good cause can be much more complicated. In addition to publicizing their cause and increasing visibility, nonprofit organizations must create incentives and rewards for donating. In a field that contains a plethora of donation opportunities, organizations must separate their cause out from the crowd. One way to do this is to incorporate social media into marketing strategies including fundraising events.
On Tuesday, June 2nd, the American Red Cross raised over $2.4 million from roughly 11,500 donations. Named Giving Day, the Red Cross hoped to inspire a national effort to aid their organization. In addition to asking individuals across the country to donate, the Red Cross also requested that participants share the news that they donation with friends and family via social media. They tried to facilitate sharing with a hashtag, #allin1day, just for the event.
— American Red Cross (@RedCross) June 2, 2015
Over 30k Tweets were written from June 1st to June 3rd. In comparison, roughly 124k posts were written about the Red Cross in May. The June conversation also contains distinct hashtags #allin1day (12k) and #givingday (400), shifting the conversation from the Nepal-focused hashtags that were the top hashtags in May. In addition to monitoring this dramatic change in volume, ForSight’s BrightView allows for a more in-depth analysis of the actual Twitter conversation.
Based on the opinion analysis, it is evident that there is a change in the Red Cross conversation on June 2nd, Giving Day. The unrelated category which is made up of news, facts, and gossip usually makes up the majority of the conversation and categories relating to donations make up the minority. This changed drastically on June 2nd when 96% of Tweets were encouraging followers to donate, 2% expressed an intent to donate blood, and 1% expressed an intent to donate money.
It appears as though the Red Cross’s efforts to stimulate social media activity was successful, increasing conversation volume and focusing conversation on donations. In addition to having increased, donation-specific conversation, the Red Cross also engaged social media users who are interested in nonprofit and health-related topics. The June 2nd audience is 262 times more interested in emergency management, 26 times more interested in charities and nonprofits, and 20 times more interested in fundraising and philanthropy than the general Twitter audience.
While #allin1day was a success by most measures, nonprofit organizations must recognize where their campaigns can be strengthened in order to maximize the ROI of future campaigns. One measure that highlights an area that could be strengthened is the difference between total potential impressions and total number of gifts. Calculating the total impressions for the Red Cross conversation by summing the followers of each Twitter author, it appears as though there were 121 total potential impressions made on June 2nd. A substantial number, it outweighs the 850 total potential impressions made in May.
Although total potential impressions is an overestimate of the actual number of Twitter users who saw posts about the Red Cross, the hope is that everyone who does see a Red Cross Tweet will be inspired to donate. Viewers may also choose to Retweet or Reply, spreading the message to their networks and increasing potential impressions. Analytics for the @redcross Twitter Handle provide yet another tool for measuring engagement. In an extremely competitive field, social media analytics become increasingly necessary for measuring the effects of online fundraising campaigns and finding ways to make them better.