Using Social Media to Amplify Your Walk Fundraising
Does social media really make a difference? Our research from the 2014 Down syndrome walk season says yes! In fact, 48% of traffic to our Stride sites last year came from social media. Whether it’s to visit a specific team page, make a donation, register, or just learn more about the event, it’s clear social media has a vital role in engaging the local community and beyond in the walk. But with social media it’s not just a matter that you use it, it’s how you use it.
Below, we’ve outlined a few key ideas to help you take your walk fundraising to the next level with social media:
Promote on social media from the start (& don’t stop!): As soon as your walk online fundraising site is live, roll out the red carpet for it! An announcement post, like “Drum roll please, We’re excited to announce that our online registration site for the XYZ Walk is officially live!” In the Google Analytics we track for our Stride partners, we see a spike in traffic each and every time these posts, and posts like it, are made on social media.
Frequency, Frequency, Frequency: As the walk nears, continue to post more and more often about the event. You want to operate with the mindset that by the time the walk date arrives, it should not be surprise to anyone in your organization’s network. Post at least once a week leading up to the walk and multiple times a week starting a month out from the event.
The Photo & the Link: These are two important pieces you don’t want to forget when you post on social media. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I’d like to add “a larger reach on social media.” Facebook is especially image-driven. Many walk events have volunteer photographers that take pictures to capture the day. Share those photos loud and proud on social media! People love looking at (and engaging on) photos of people smiling, laughing and enjoying the event. Don’t forget to include the registration link on your event posts. You want to make it as EASY as possible for fans to visit your site with just one click!
The Art of Conversation: Not every post has to be a direct ask for registration. It is crucial to have these posts in the mix, but there are ways to keep the conversation going about walk in between these posts. It’s important to remember in the social space, people want to feel that you’re talking with them, not at them. Ideas:
Welcome teams that register for the walk: The language can be as simple as “Welcome Team ABC to the XYZ Walk!” If they’ve personalized their profile, share a few short details about why they are walking and include a photo. If they haven’t personalized their team profile yet, you may have a photo on file that you can use or if not, create a “Welcome to the XZY Walk” graphic to share instead (apps like WordSwag are great for this!).
Celebrate the milestones: Are you a notable distance from your goal (25%, 75%, 90%) or a short distance from a mile marker ($500 from $10k, etc.)? These are milestones you want to share with your social community and ask them to reach out to people they know to help push you over the mark! Sometimes a large event goal can seem like a lot, but by breaking up the challenge with celebratory milestones along the way, people feel more connected to the mini successes and the belief that “we can do this together.”
Share fundraising ideas: One of the first hurdles of team fundraising is deciding, “What should we do?” You can help solve that problem for your team captains by providing them with ideas to jumpstart the brainstorming process. Ds-connex has a great Facebook photo album of ideas you can share to start them off. As your teams host their own fundraisers, ask them to send you a photo you can share. Give them a shout out on social media to recognize them for their efforts and at the same time, you end up giving other teams ideas too. It’s a win, win!
The power of “Thank You”: A little thank you goes a long way. Be sure to thank your sponsors with a shout out, the link to your Stride site, and either a colorful photo of their team from last year’s walk, an image of their logo, or any generic walk photo if the first two don’t work out. If you have a lot of sponsors, you may want to consider grouping them by level. If you have too many of the same type of post, engagement tends to drop overtime. Keep it fun and fresh! Don’t forget, if your sponsors have social media accounts, to tag them in the post so they’ll know to share too.
Urgency has an impact: Especially in the last couple of weeks leading up to the walk, it’s important to create a sense of urgency surrounding registration and fundraising. “Only X more days until the walk,” Online registration closes at X,” “Time is running out,” “We’re X% from our goal with only X days to go!” etc. are all examples of ways you can create that sense of “I better act now!” The more funds that can be brought in before the walk, the more there is to celebrate on the event day.
These tips are all best practices we’ve seen orchestrated from walks around the country. While we’ve seen these work time and time again, there’s one important point we want to emphasize: social media doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Using social media only to promote your walk will have an impact on your fundraising, but don’t forget about all of your other marketing channels. When you have your social media working in tandem with your email campaigns, your mail campaigns, your direct phone calls, your media outreach and your in-person conversations, you amplify your message beyond what you’d ever expect.
We encourage you to take our list of tips and run with it. We love feedback. Let us know what works for you and hey, if you have anything to add to our list, we welcome it!