Social influencers have the potential to greatly benefit nonprofit causes. Influencers can rally their followers in support of a cause, spread awareness about a nonprofit’s mission, or act as a liaison between an organization and their personal social networks.
Nonprofits must stay on top of the trends of social influencers so that they’re better prepared to mobilize social passion for their cause.
That’s why we’re bringing you the top 5 predictions for how social influencers will help nonprofits raise money this year:
- Social influencers will promote increasingly political crowdfunding campaigns.
- Social influencers will emphasize giving over other shows of support.
- Social influencers will prioritize grassroots campaigns.
- Social influencers will push multichannel marketing via social media.
- Social influencers will reward the best nonprofit websites.
Let’s take a look at each trend in more detail.
During the election year, newsfeeds seemed flooded with politics. For many, the divisive political climate may have felt inescapable, in part because social media is such a rallying political platform.
Hashtags, online petitions, debate soundbites, and even memes have a place in political conversation. This kind of easy-to-share, easy-to-make content isn’t likely to die out anytime soon.
In fact, social influencers are likely to double down in light of the recent election, using their social media platforms to promote the campaigns and policies that they believe in.
In the midst of the charged political climate, influencers won’t just be spreading their opinions. We predict that they’ll be mobilizing their networks for politically-driven crowdfunding campaigns.
Crowdfunding is one of the more accessible donation platforms. Instead of soliciting large donations from a select few donors, crowdfunding campaigns open their doors to everyone. By seeking smaller gifts from a large group of donors, more people have a stake in the success of the campaign. Virtually anyone can participate, and social influencers know this.
Political crowdfunding campaigns are already a rallying force, from financing the campaigns of local politicians to promoting advocacy groups with lobbying power. Check out this awesome Crowdfunding for Individuals Guide from our friends at Double the Donation.
Nonprofit causes are inextricably linked to politics and vital for initiating policy changes. For some organizations, a challenge is to retaining and building a diverse donor base across the political spectrum while minimizing the risk of alienating donors with bold political statements.
Social influencers, on the other hand, can and do incite political activism on behalf of nonprofits.
One challenge that nonprofits face is maintaining balance between spreading awareness and calling supporters to action. On the one hand, not every supporter will be in a place to donate. However, if nonprofits spend too much time focusing on “awareness,” then they’ll be leaving money on the table.
Social influencers will emphasize the importance of action, of actually giving.
As more nonprofits are incorporating social sharing features into their donation pages, these promotions are easier than ever. Social influencers can share their donations to their social networks, inspiring their followers to donate, too.
After all, the top 5% of a nonprofit’s social influencers reach 85% of the nonprofit’s network. With that kind of speaking power, social influencers can inspire their followers to donate.
Make it easy for your influencers to promote your fundraising campaign by breaking down the donation process into memorable donation amounts. Creating giving tiers or levels with specific, tangible causes can make it easy for social influencers to promote a nonprofit’s campaign. For example, an animal shelter may say that “$20 will feed our dogs for a week.”
Something as short and sweet as the above is easy to tweet — and as such, is easy for social influencers to use as a reference point in their CTA’s.
While the stage of national politics puts the spotlight on Washington, local grassroots movements will continue to gain steam.
People and nonprofits alike are realizing, perhaps now more than ever, just how difficult it is to effect change on a national scale. Rather, influencers are turning to the places where they do have power — their local communities.
And of course, it’s not as inherently satisfying to type something from a keyboard as it is to literally pound the pavement: to march, to protest peacefully, or to otherwise be physically present and make your voice heard.
That’s why the importance of grassroots activism cannot be overstated. The changing landscape of social influencers is opening the door of activism to more people. According to Derrick Feldmann, this people powered change is something nonprofits must understand:
“Allowing influencers to serve as brand ambassadors will help carry our message further through word of mouth and social media, allowing others to feel as though they are choosing to take part in your movement as opposed to being told to.”
Grassroots campaigns are a platform for supporters to actively choose to engage in a movement. After all, local elections, movements, and services can create a big impact that affects people and communities directly.
People who organize for change are looking to partner with nonprofits, not follow them blindly. Grassroots campaigns promote a visible accountability that nonprofits can meet.
Local organizations can more easily build trust with influencers and supporters. People who can actively see how nonprofits are enacting their mission are more likely to believe that their donations will be used for good.
Social influencers will promote grassroots campaigns, either by rallying their own communities around a cause, or by encouraging followers across the country to initiate their own local campaigns. Anyone can be a social influencer in grassroots campaigns.
A resurgence in grassroots activism is made all the more accessible with online platforms that supporters can use to easily connect with like-minded people.
While new social media platforms aren’t likely to gain a big foothold anytime soon, the platforms that we know and love are changing and developing.
Social influencers are pushing multichannel marketing because they have more power with a unified digital presence.
Facebook and Instagram, for example, are integrated. Social influencers can create a post that works across both platforms to reach a larger audience in half of the time.
Not to mention, social influencers must be prepared to adapt to a sometimes volatile media landscape. For example, Twitter decided to close Vine, causing influencers on their site to migrate to new social media channels.
Those who depend on social media as an avenue for their communications must create a multichannel presence or risk losing their platform.
A multichannel presence allows influencers to reach more followers in a multitude of ways. Just as nonprofits should diversify their own communication channels to reach more donors, social influencers will do the same.
After all, when donors come across a nonprofit while browsing through their personal social media channels, they’ll be more likely to engage with the nonprofit because it reaches them organically.
Social influencers are just like any other online user. They’re as much (if not more) a part of the fast-paced internet culture that makes snap judgements about the quality of a website.
Picture this: you click on a link when browsing the web. You’re greeted with a solid white screen as the page struggles to load — and when it finally does, you’re underwhelmed by default fonts, clip art, and a design that looks ripped from 2004.
You probably wouldn’t recommend this site to anyone, no matter how great the subject matter. In fact, you may even hit the back button as soon as you see how disappointing the website looks (which can actively harm a website’s rankings on search engines).
Similarly, social influencers aren’t likely to promote websites that don’t immediately grab their attention.
Rather, social influencers will reward the nonprofits with the best websites by spreading these sites to their social networks.
The ante for nonprofit websites is continuing to rise. Nonprofit websites need to compete, but in doing so, they can reap huge fundraising rewards.
Innovators in the nonprofit web design field are promoting certain trends that are engaging more donors and converting more donations.
These top charity websites are good examples, but here’s the rundown:
- Large, impactful feature images immediately grab a donor’s attention.
- Simple navigation tables create a user-friendly experience.
- Branded donation pages reassure donors that their gifts are secure.
- Simple color schemes are aesthetically pleasing.
Apart from web design, social influencers are also taking heed of payment security when determining which websites to promote.
Security breaches are widely publicized, and the organizations who put their donors’ or customers’ information at risk are vilified. Websites without assurances of security will dissuade influencers and donors alike. For that reason, only the nonprofit websites that are PCI-compliant and secure will be celebrated on social media.
After all, social influencers are just as conscious of their personal security as you would be.
These predictions are based on some of the strongest social trends of 2016. Knowing what is likely to happen can help nonprofits prepare their fundraising strategies for social platforms.
What are your predictions for this year’s social influencers?