Nonprofit Black Friday: Running an Online Fundraiser


This year, Thanksgiving has done it again. It absolutely snuck up on me. With Thanksgiving coming up this Thursday, that means the madness of Black Friday begins at midnight.

You might be asking, why is Marissa talking about Black Friday in a social media column for non-profits? Well, the answer is I wanted to look at how nonprofits can use Black Friday marketing strategies and turn them into a fundraising drive. As you are most likely aware, many people make charitable donations during this time. Why not give them more reasons to do so?

This post may be a bit late-coming for your planning this year, but maybe some of these ideas can help you throughout the holiday season.

Bust Down Those Doors

Black Friday sales are all about door-busters. Retailers will give huge discounts on items starting really early in the morning, just to get people in the door. They are usually on high demand items and on items in small quantity. In my mind, I think that non-profits can do something similar.

Instead of running special deals on goods; nonprofits can run “specials” on donations (e.g. donations within a certain timeframe will used for a specific project). Changing the project or fund that will benefit will keep your supporters interested in what is next. It would also be an opportunity to expose your community all that your organization does.

Create Buzz with Social Media

When running a campaign like this, you will want to use all of your social media networks to their fullest. You have spent all of this time creating a following on each network, now is the time to mobilize your troops to help your cause. Here are few things to remember when doing so:

  • Let people know what is going to happen. It’s ok to spoil a few of your plans. You want to get people interested.
  • Photos are are your friend. Posts on social media that include photos are more liked and shared more than posts without photos. Including them will only help you out.
  • Update early and update often. If you are going to run a campaign like this you want to keep your followers aware of what is happening. This not only keeps those who are following the event interested, but it also gives you an opportunity to attract new supporters.
  • Give people a place to go. Be clear in your posts and give people direction on where to find information. If there is a donor form on line, attach the URL to every post. If people need to call in, make sure you have the phone number right there.
  • Use social media managers to help you plan out your posts. Facebook allows you schedule your posts in advance and you can use a social media manager such as Hootsuite to help manage your posts on Twitter, Google+, and others.
  • Respond to comments. If someone comments or asks a question, make sure you respond in a timely manner. Also, if someone shares a photo of yours, make sure you thank them for doing so. You want to collect as much good karma as you can.

I know that not every nonprofit will benefit from running a campaign like a Non-profit Black Friday, but maybe your organization can run something similar. Running fundraisers online will become more and more commonplace as people live more and more of the their lives online.

Has your organization already run a fundraiser online? What was successful and what wasn’t? I’d love to talk about it more in comments.

Here’s wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you all for reading Mondays with Marissa on Donor Dreams!

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About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on November 19, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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