The following is an excerpt from Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits.
The act of writing a comprehensive social media fundraising strategy is an essential first step in being successful on social media. The process of defining your goals and priorities will focus and unite communications and fundraising staff and help motivate executive staff to make a long-term investment. Your strategic plan should be simple and flexible. Social and mobile media change so quickly that detailed, long-term strategic plans too often overcomplicate the process and become outdated within a year’s time. To help you begin, below is a three-step process for writing a strategic plan that can easily be revised on annual basis while at the same time is workable and moves your nonprofit forward.
Step 1: Conduct an Online Communications and Fundraising Audit
An online communications and fundraising audit is a review of all your online communications and fundraising systems and it should be done by the person in charge of writing and implementing your strategic plan. The audit need not be exceptionally detailed and can be completed in less than a week. The process of reviewing your current systems will give you an understanding of which systems can realistically be upgraded within the first year of your strategic plan and which systems need to be postponed to the following year or year after.
Begin by creating a list of the online communications and fundraising systems that need to be reviewed and then create a document that lists the systems and bullet points the plus and minuses of each system. The purpose of the audit is to gain a greater understanding of your needs. It is not meant to be a to-do list, but rather a process that helps an organization begin to conceptualize both their short-term and long-terms priorities. Do not let yourself be overwhelmed or stymied if you find that most, if not all, of your systems need to be upgraded. No matter your nonprofit’s capacity, provided that you are organized and have a clear understanding of your needs, progress can be made.
Step 2: Write a Social Media Fundraising Strategic Plan
Once you have completed your online communications and fundraising audit and have a better understanding of your capacity to implement your social media fundraising strategy, allocate four to six weeks to write your strategic plan and create your budget and a system for tracking and reporting success.
Step 3: Create a Budget
Once you have completed your audit and written your strategic plan, you then need to create a social media fundraising budget that matches the action items you prioritized in your strategic plan. It’s impossible to recommend specific dollar amounts to be allocated to your strategic plan given the diversity of the nonprofit sector, but your budget will be largely dictated by the systems and services you select. The buy-in of executive staff also has an impact upon your action items and thus your budget. Whatever your budget, provided that there is one, your nonprofit can advance and achieve your goals.
Your budget should be an Excel document that visualizes monthly and annual totals. The far left column should list your action items and then an additional 12 columns should be inserted and titled, one for each month, where fees associated with your action items should be displayed on a monthly basis. A fourteenth column should total your monthly fees and be summed to display your total annual budget. If an action item is scheduled for September and it’s a one-time fee, then display the fee in the “September” column. If an action item requires a monthly fee, then display the monthly fee in all twelve columns from January to December, or from July to June based upon your fiscal year. If fees unexpectedly rise or fall during the year, then adjust your budget. Again, it’s crucial to write a strategic plan and create a budget that is flexible and can adapt to rapid changes in nonprofit technology.
Step 4: Create a System to Track, Evaluate, and Report Success
To maintain organizational buy-in throughout the year, it is critical that you create a system to track, evaluate, and report success on a quarterly basis. Get organized and be prepared to either have quarterly meetings or send emails to key staff to report success. Success can be defined as achieving the goals and action items listed in you strategic plan. Provided that you listed realistic goals and achievable action items, there will be success.
Your social media fundraising success spreadsheet is an Excel document formatted so that success can be easily visualized. The far left column should list the goals detailed in your strategic plan and then an additional 12 columns should be inserted and titled, one for each month, where the metrics associated with your action items should be entered on a monthly basis. For example, if your goal is to increase website traffic by 40 percent over one year, then the metric to track is monthly website traffic. If your goal is to increase your email list by 30 percent, then the metric to track is your total number of e-newsletter subscribers on a monthly basis. Pick one day a month and enter your metrics. A fourteenth column should then be inserted to list your goals.
To effectively demonstrate your success, you will need to have access to your website and blog traffic, your e-newsletter and mobile lists, your monthly online and mobile fundraising totals, and your event attendees totals. There is a math to social media, and thus to social media fundraising. Provided that you implement a multichannel communications and fundraising strategy and upgrade your fundraising systems, your numbers in your social media fundraising success spreadsheet will grow month-to-month, year after year.
Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits
Based on more than 20 years of experience and 25,000+ hours spent utilizing mobile and social media, Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits is a comprehensive 256-page book packed with more than 500 best practices. Written on the premise that all communications and fundraising are now mobile and social, Mobile for Good is a step-by-step how-to guide for writing, implementing, and maintaining a mobile and social fundraising strategy for your nonprofit.