Founded my first non-profit in 1991 and second in 1992—music organizations that still exist today and have won national recognition & awardsHave built and sold for-profit companies, the latest to OracleLeft Oracle to help found Fundly, the leader in social fundraising platforms for non-profitsLet me try out a phrase, and let you tell me what is wrong with it, if anything… “We support our work mostly through grants and large donors. We’ve never really developed an individual donor program.”Fine?No issues?What’s the risk with that approach?
Here’s what’s at stake. And just like you said, this is a more stable, reliable giver base.
In their book Made to Stick, Dan and Chip Heath share a fascinating story about tappers and listeners.In 1990, Elizabeth Newton earned a Ph.D. in psychology at Stanford by studying a simple game in which she assigned people to one of two roles: "tappers" or "listeners."
Tappers received a list of twenty-five well-known songs, such as "Happy Birthday to You" and "The Star- Spangled Banner." Each tapper was asked to pick a song and tap out the rhythm to a listener (by knocking on a table).
The listener's job was to guess the song, based on the rhythm being tapped. (This is fun to try at home if you can round up a good "listener" candidate) As you can imagine, the listener's job in this game is quite difficult.But here's what made the game worthy of a dissertation in psychology. Before the listeners guessed the name of the song, Newton asked the tappers to predict the odds that the listeners would guess correctly. They predicted that the odds were 50 percent. Over the course of Newton's experiment, 120 songs were tapped out. How many of those did the listeners guess correctly?
Only 33 out of 120, which equals 2.5 percent of the songsIn other words, the tappers got their message across 1 time in 40, but they thought they were getting their message across 1 time in 2. Why?
When a tapper taps, he is hearing the song in his head. Go ahead and try it for yourself - tap out "The Star-Spangled Banner." It's impossible to avoid hearing the tune in your head. Meanwhile, the listeners can't hear that tune - all they can hear is a bunch of disconnected taps, like a kind of bizarre Morse Code. In the experiment, tappers are mystified at how hard the listeners seem to be working to pick up the tune. The song is so obvious? How can you have not guessed it by now. The tappers' expressions, when a listener guesses "Happy Birthday to You" for "The Star-Spangled Banner," are priceless: How could you be so stupid?Let’s tap that out for a minute. “Happy Birthday to You” “Oh say can you see”. The taps are remarkably similar. So although it’s hard to be a listener, it's hard to be a tapper too. When tappers are tapping, they can't imagine what it's like for the listeners to hear isolated taps rather than a song. They hear the song so loudly in their head that they assume the listener can too.
The tapper/listener experiment is reenacted every day all over the world. It’s reenacted in your nonprofit organization as you talk to your donors, volunteers, and board members. It exists in your emails and every task you delegate.Social fundraising means person to person fundraisingPeople give “through,” not toThe only way I can give “through” is if I understand the cause I’m supporting—the on-the-ground reality. What difference will my $100 make?If we cannot make this clear, then arming people with all the “share” buttons in the world will not create a social campaign. It may be possible to get me to give $5 or $25 because it’s you asking, but if you want me to give $100 or $1,000, I really need to understand what difference my donation is going to make.Think about your website right now. If I come to your website, can I, within 30 seconds, understand what you are doing and how I can help? In 9 out of 10 cases we are very *comprehensive* about describing what we do, but we are not *simple.* So we make people work WAY TOO HARD to understand what’s going on. Let’s take a look at some good non-profit storytelling
The Houston Ballet tells their story through a series of behind-the-scenes photos on their Flickr account
Charity Water tells their story through infographics, Google Maps tagged with images of the projects they’re working on, etc.
The World Food Programme tells their stories through videos. There’s an interesting phenomenon here – the first video has 41 comments (and is also the shortest). The second video has 6. Placement matters.
This requires a simple, repeatable story that is compelling and real.Real people overcoming real hardships are the very most compelling stories—give this to your supporters to help them spread the word.
Fundly sm4 np social fundraising 08 03 11
How to Launch a <br />Social Fundraising Campaign<br />Dave Boyce, CEO, Fundly<br />
$300 Billion<br />donated by individuals each year in the US<br />Source: 2008 Chronicle of Philanthropy <br />
So what can I do Tomorrow?<br />Choose a GOAL: $ and date<br />Write down what the money will do: IMPACT<br />Write down why your donor should give NOW (Matching donation? Expiring option? Deadline?) URGENCY<br />Pick a PLATFORM (don’t build it yourself)<br />Hand-pick your MAVENS<br />ALIGN all channels for the duration of the campaign (web, mail, email)<br />LAUNCH!<br />Your Story<br />