Connect with Your Supporters on Social This Holiday Season

Ellen Bristol

February 13, 2022

About the Author

Ellen Bristol

Ellen Bristol, President of Bristol Strategy Group, is a nonprofit thought leader in fundraising effectiveness and nonprofit management optimization. She has a passion for helping small to medium sized nonprofit organizations, NGO’s, and social enterprises build and grow fundraising capacity, adapting classic principles of the process-management discipline to this all-important strategic function.

The year-end giving season is one of the most important times for nonprofits across the country. Starting with Giving Tuesday in November, many supporters are looking to support important causes at a time when giving sentiments are high. Ramping up your fundraising efforts as you enter the last few months of the year is essential to meet your goals and start the new year with strong momentum. 

Nearly one-third of annual giving occurs in the month of December. This underscores how essential it is to be top-of-mind for your supporters during this season. Being forward-thinking will ensure that your organization reaches its fundraising goals before the year’s end. 

And one of the best ways to reach your supporters today is through social media. Planning early and crafting a foolproof social media strategy to promote your fundraising campaigns can set you up for success for the holiday giving season

To help you prepare, we’ll discuss these five ways to make the most of social media this giving season: 

  1. Use a multi-channel approach 
  2. Make use of native features
  3. Utilize storytelling
  4. Create a schedule
  5. Optimize your website and donation page

1. Use a multi-channel approach

The holidays are a perfect time to improve donor relationships. As you read on, keep your unique donor base in mind and think about how our tips can be best utilized to help you connect with your supporters.

Multi-channel marketing gives you the opportunity to reach different segments of your audience and keep your communications fresh. As you form your strategy, focus on a few different channels and create marketing materials that are specifically tailored to each of those platforms for maximum impact. 

A few different social media platforms you can use are:

  • Facebook. When it comes to fundraising, Facebook has many capabilities that make it a great investment of your time. Explore Facebook’s built-in fundraising features that allow users to set up what are essentially peer-to-peer campaigns. The holidays are a perfect time to encourage supporters to fundraise on your behalf through their Facebook profiles!
  • Instagram. This is a very versatile platform because it utilizes stories, static posts, video, and has direct messaging. Facebook has many of these features too, but Instagram can be more effective for building a brand because of the profile page that each account has. Additionally, stories are much more prevalent and are used more on Instagram than on Facebook. 
  • TikTok. The primary benefit of using TikTok is to gain visibility and build a brand reputation among younger supporters. Consider creating behind-the-scenes videos that show the work you do or sharing impactful stories of how donations help. Don’t be afraid to jump on a trend and get a little silly in order to create a more authentic connection with users and craft an approachable brand image. 
  • Twitter. This platform is best for quick updates and messages. Because of the strict character limits, you’ll have to be very selective with what you choose to tweet. Threads on Twitter are a great way to share longer stories or updates when it’s necessary.

The most important thing to remember is that each platform caters to a different kind of audience and has different best practices. Your Facebook fundraising strategy will be very different from how you create TikTok content. Make sure you take the time to learn best practices for each platform you choose to use.

2. Make use of native features

All social media platforms have unique features that can greatly boost your impact if you use them properly. While some social media posts are primarily focused on building your brand or creating community, your ultimate goal is to drive users to take specific actions, like donating. Learning how to use these features is a must.

One of Snowball’s top tips for boosting conversion rates is to create excellent calls to action. All of your social media posts should contain some kind of call to action, whether it’s to go to your website, comment, share your posts, or donate. Here are a few features on different platforms that can help you convert followers into donors:

  • Facebook’s fundraising features. We’ve already mentioned the peer-to-peer fundraising capabilities on Facebook. These are really incredibly useful, and you should focus on creating posts that encourage people to share their own fundraiser on your behalf. 
  • Instagram’s donation sticker. While not as robust as Facebook’s feature, Instagram also has a sticker that can be used on stories to share a fundraiser. When a user shares a donate sticker, they connect it to a specific nonprofit and their followers can click to donate. 
  • Story interaction stickers. There are other types of stickers, like polls, questions, and reaction sliders that you can use on Instagram stories. This will encourage engagement and get followers to interact for longer, which will signal to the algorithm that they should show your content to these followers more frequently. 
  • Retweet/Share. Another important call to action besides donating is asking your supporters to share your content. This can help boost visibility for your cause in general or help solicit more donations for a specific campaign. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that each platform has unique features that you should focus on using. Doing so will boost your engagement rates on the platform and will help you more effectively drive traffic to your website and donation form as you show up in your supporter’s feeds more and more.

3. Utilize storytelling

As the holidays approach, you should focus your communication strategy on tapping into supporters’ emotions and empathy. With many people already in a giving mindset, utilizing storytelling in your communications can help you forge a deeper connection with your supporters.

Whether you’re writing an Instagram caption, a tweet, or scripting a TikTok video, all stories need a few essential elements. 

This includes: 

  • The main conflict, or the problem you’re working to solve.
  • A protagonist, who is the central character in the story.
  • A resolution to your conflict, ideally one that involves your supporters. 

By describing your conflict in greater detail, you can get supporters invested in your cause. When you present your resolution, it’s crucial to involve your supporters in the narrative. Don’t just paint your organization as the solution to the problem, highlight how the work you do (through help from supporters) works to resolve your conflict. 

 Another way to engage supporters and highlight the importance of your work is through an impact-focused story. This type of story uses a real-life example to show your donors exactly how their support impacts the cause. Try telling a story about how last year’s holiday donations made a difference in your next communication!

4. Create a schedule

The end of the year is not the time to relax your marketing efforts  — in fact, you should be more on top of it than ever! But remember, everyone else is also stepping up their game with more ads and requests at this time of year. Because of this, it’s a good idea to lay your foundation early so that your supporters enter the holiday season with your organization already on their minds. 

In order to keep up with the hectic schedule during the holidays and consistently post high-quality content, you’ll need to create a robust content calendar. This kind of schedule allows you to plan out what kind of content you’re going to post, when, with what caption and hashtags, and schedule out the actual drafted content.

Creating a schedule will help you:

  • Maintain a consistent posting cadence.
  • Prepare quality content in advance.
  • Avoid getting overwhelmed during the holiday season.

Start now by identifying what you need to market and building your calendar around that. It’s never too late to plan ahead, even if it’s just through the end of the month. Once you have your posts planned, begin filling in your calendar with drafted content that’s ready to post. 

5. Optimize your website and donation page

The holidays are often a hectic and stressful time for many. With your donors already short on time, you don’t want your website to be another point of frustration. Once you get social media users to click through, you want to make sure everything is running as smoothly as possible. Here are a few features to make sure your website has:

  • Easy navigation. If visitors to your site have to click around for a long time or search to find what they’re looking for, they are much more likely to get discouraged and give up. Make sure you have an easy-to-find navigation menu that includes all of your most important pages. 
  • Fast load time. Fast load time on your website will ensure that visitors don’t get distracted or lose interest by the time they actually get there. You can improve website speed by optimizing your images, reducing redirects, and using page caching. 
  • A visible “donate” button. Your donation button should be easy to find, and the design of your website should draw attention to it. After all, donating is the ultimate action that you want visitors to take on your website. 
  • A simple donation form. Once you get someone to click on your donate button, you’re almost there! You want to make sure they actually complete the form and submit their donation instead of clicking away. Asking for as little information as possible makes it easier for supporters to donate. You can always give the option to create an account and supply more information, but requiring it may discourage donors who are short on time. 
  • Consistent design. Good web design alone will not engage donors but it is a great way to improve the donor experience on your website. Having consistent branding and design that’s apparent on your site helps build brand authority and awareness. Aesthetics also create a better user experience, as long as the technical parts of your website work just as well. 

Hopefully, your website already has a lot of these features. Even if you think your website is in good shape, it’s worth doing a quick audit to make sure you aren’t missing any opportunities to further optimize your website. 

While fundraising is important all year long, the holiday season offers some unique opportunities that you should take advantage of to reach your goals. Make sure to implement these tips to optimize your nonprofit digital campaigns this holiday season and create deeper connections with your donors. 

About the Author: John Killoran

John Killoran is an inventor, entrepreneur, and the Chairman of Clover Leaf Solutions, a national lab services company. He currently leads Clover Leaf’s investment in Snowball Fundraising, an online fundraising platform for nonprofit organizations.

Snowball was one of John’s first public innovations; it’s a fundraising platform that offers text-to-give, online giving, events, and peer-to-peer fundraising tools for nonprofits. By making giving simple, Snowball increases the donations that these organizations can raise online. The Snowball effect is real! John founded Snowball in 2011. Now, it serves over 7,000 nonprofits and is the #1 nonprofit fundraising platform.

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