Charities Learning Importance of Funding via Social Media

A recent survey commissioned by the American Red Cross suggests that social media may be the new frontier for fundraising.


As many charities churn through their crucial holiday fund drives, the Red Cross announced the results of the survey that found 7 in 10 social media users are giving to nonprofits, both online and offline.

The online survey of 1,021 adults done in October found that 71 percent of those active on online social networks donated to a charity over the previous year. Of those, 6 in 10 made their donations online. The poll also found that personal appeals from friends matter more than trending topics.

7 in 10 social media users said they would take some kind of action, including sharing the post, in response to a friend posting a story on social media about making a charitable donation. While only 3 percent of respondents said social media was the most effective way for a charity to solicit donations, 19 percent said they would likely donate money to a charity if they saw a friend post about a recent donation.

The survey also found that while trends online and in the media draw attention to a charity, social media users are interested in giving — not receiving.

Most large nonprofits rely on regular contributions from businesses and corporations, and social media donors are typically individuals. Social media increasingly is a way to connect with those individuals.

“Social media plays an important role in building philanthropic support because it allows us to build relationships with donors on their terms,” said Kim Hanna, “We have tweaked our strategies after lessons learned from the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge,’ she said. “Social media has replaced traditional email as a desired form of receiving communications, so we let donors know how their donation made an impact through social media instead of just email or mail.”

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