Charities and businesses alike wonder if using social media can help directly generate revenue and if it will pay off. Businesses have dived into the social web space to tap into the huge social networks established by these platforms. The most popular social networking platform is still Facebook, the networking giant with its 500 million plus users.


According to the above study conducted by Forrester, only 7% of the online retail businesses interviewed in the study reported that social networking was an effective source for customer acquisition. While topping the study are customer acquisition tools like search engine marketing (e.g., pay-per-click advertising) and organic traffic (e.g., search engine optimization). Approximately 70% of small businesses use Facebook as part of their online marketing strategy.


If businesses are having trouble getting their moneys worth out of Facebook and other social networks, then how is it working out for charities? Almost every single charity is using at least one social network these days (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn). The majority have a presence on Facebook with its huge social network and Facebook Page functions for nonprofit organizations and charitable causes. However, significant online donation leads and acquisitions on Facebook above $10,000 is still very low (


Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Facebook is a great social networking platform for many things. It may not be aggressive enough on the charitable fundraising front when it comes to attracting people on its own, but on a peer-to-peer basis it can be much more effective. Due to the nature of social networking and how frequent people check in on their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube accounts, there are a lot of opportunities for “Friends Asking Friends” event fundraising. This is where someone organizes a campaign to raise funds for an organization near and dear to them by asking their social network to pitch in.


Here are some social networking functions and tools your charity’s supporters can utilize to organize a social network peer-to-peer fundraising campaign:


1. Facebook – The most widely used social network. A person can promote their cause and fundraising efforts directly to the friends in their network with tools like badges, canvas pages, status updates, sharing, liking, and feeds.
2. Twitter – A person can spread their message to the broad audience made up of their followers and their followers’ followers using tweeting and re-tweeting.
3. LinkedIn – Works much like Facebook with its ability to share, feed, like, and status update.
4. Youtube – This social media platform makes the fundraising story much more compelling, appealing, and personable to the donors.
5. CanadaHelps – A person can now create their own fundraising page to drive fundraising efforts to a charity dear to them right on the CanadaHelps donation processing site. This helps make online donations even simpler. Links to this fundraising page can be posted to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking platforms.


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