Charitable giving via social media is up (again), and Ronn Torossian says organizations of every size need to be paying attention. In fact, across the ‘net, millions are being donated every day by givers with only a passing connection or limited understanding of the cause. Their generosity is very real and very heartfelt, but it is based almost entirely on an immediate reaction to something they encountered via social media, a picture or video that cut through the noise and business of the day and hit them in the heart.
Recipients of social media based generosity ranged from massive international organizations to crowd funded individuals hoping to get some cash to pay for medical bills.
The entire gamut of causes, big and small, have benefitted tremendously by combining traditional online crowd funding with targeted social media campaigns. These successes are snowballing, creating trends that are transforming how, when, and why people give. Non-profits that ignore these trends are apt to lose funding to those that have developed multifaceted and quick hitting viral campaigns.
While some larger charities and watchdog groups are tsk-tsking these trends, the reality is, whether these changes are “good” or “bad” is largely irrelevant. They are happening, and show all the signs of continuing to happen. For some larger organizations, the income bleed might start out slowly. For others, the shift has happened almost overnight. Either way, these organizations will have to do something most larger companies don’t do well – change quickly.
That’s not to say old ways of fundraising should be abandoned. This is not an “either/or” situation. This is definitely a “both/and” situation. While most charities can expect to experience a drop in traditional giving as more people are drawn to impulsive social media giving, they can regain that lost revenue and increase their donation stream by adding a robust online and social campaign.