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Social media marketing can be a highly useful marketing tool on the internet. It has been used for everything from chatting on the web, to making friends, to promoting personal missions and businesses to marketing big-name companies. It has spurred the development of what’s now known as ‘web 2.0’, and it seems that everyone who wants to be seen on the internet is engaged in one way or another in social media marketing. If you want your fundraiser to be seen, you should consider taking advantage of social media marketing as well.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing works on the old premise of traditional networking – ‘talking’ to people, building relationships that can benefit your efforts now and in the future. It’s based on the fact that people feel more secure trusting and helping out people they know and also because there is power in numbers: if a website or product gets mentioned over and over again by thousands of people, we believe that it must have substance.

Where to engage in social networking for fundraising

There are a number of platforms for social networking that can be adopted for fundraising. Some of those include:

• Social networking sites (like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more)
• Blogs
• Forums
• Chat rooms

For each of these, the vehicle is basically the same: creating exposure and visibility by engaging others, then linking back to your fundraiser and/or organization. (Note: Our website allows comments at the end of each article; take advantage of this feature and be sure to include a link to your fundraiser’s website, or your charity! )

On chats and forums, this will be done informally by adding pertinent points to the discussion and including a link to your favored site as allowed (usually as an offering in the post or as part of a signature line or profile).

Sites like Facebook can give you even more targeted exposure while providing a platform for more information and detail. You’ll be able to set up a page on behalf of your organization that explains who you are, what you do, and what your fundraisers support; you may also include posts and articles about your current fundraiser, need, need for volunteers, and so on. Your page is yours to control, so you are not limited in topic; there are endless ways to utilize social networking websites to the benefit of your organization’s fundraiser. In the end, though, always remember your motivation: to get support for your fundraiser. Make sure there is either a link or contact information provided so that interested supporters know how and where to buy or donate.

Social media sites you should know

Here’s a list of links to the websites mentioned above, and a few others that you can use for social networking to promote your fundraiser:

    Facebook.com – A must for anyone serious about raising funds. Through ‘groups’, ‘pages’ and your personal account you can easily spread the word about your fundraiser.

    Instagram – Functional on your smart phone, Instagram is ideal for sharing images and stories.

    Twitter.com – A place to post your profile and tell everyone what you are doing (in mini blog format); which is, of course, fundraising!

    LinkedIn.com – A place professional non-profits can link to other professionals and organizations.

    Pinterest.com – Spread the ‘word’ about your cause with pictures!

If your group has a website, be sure to include the URL to your site whenever you create a profile.

If you need help with online fundraising, including finances, email management and other tools, read Popular Online Fundraising Services.

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