Although the likes of social media have been around for some time now, we have started to notice a real trend in the way that our supporters interact with us these days and it’s definitely taking a more digital form.
For a long time, fundraising has been simple (well, simple in some ways at least): send out an appeal letter, receive a cheque in the post. Although there were sometimes other options to donate online, it was never really a big thing, especially amongst the older generation who didn’t necessarily have much experience with computers.
Things have all started to change, however, with the phasing out of cheques and computer literacy becoming far more commonplace, the ‘one-click’ generation of donors are definitely having their day.
We live in such a non-stop society these days that to find the time to write and post letters is becoming harder and harder. Why do this indeed when a quick click on your mobile phone or computer gets the job done at any time and any place?
However, the digital world does not only give us the means to receive donations online, but it also means that we have had to rethink the way that we can engage with people in the first place.
As mentioned, previous marketing endeavours generally involved a newsletter with an appeal a few times a year. Whilst this definitely still has its place in the world of fundraising, modern technology now allows us to communicate on a daily (sometimes more) basis, on a variety of platforms and reaching a worldwide audience. This is great news for local charities such as ourselves at Strode Park Foundation. Being such a ‘local’ charity, it can be difficult to get the message out further than your immediate town but with followers online sharing our posts and updates with their friend around the country (and indeed the world) this is ceasing to be such an issue.
Changing a mindset can be very overwhelming however and in a lot of ways, it has been a huge challenge to learn and embrace the technology available to us. It has been an enjoyable learning curve nonetheless, made even more so when you can see on a screen in front of your eyes the number of people who are actually engaging with you and being able to work with their reactions to improve your future communications.
A definite plus when it comes to social media is the way that we can present our stories in a much more visual way. It’s a lot easier to attract interest using a colourful graphic, photo or video than just a page of text. This really is evident when it comes to our events, particularly our music events at Theatre in the Park, where we are able to post a live video to really give a feel for the atmosphere. We are already seeing the difference that this makes in this year’s ticket sales and the interest in future events.
As Bob Dylan once sung: The Times, They Are A-Changin’… but in the world of Fundraising, change is definitely something to be embraced.
(Written by Christina Jones, Fundraiser at Strode Park Foundation)