By Jonathon Grapsas
We were fortunate this week to have Leonard Coyne from the Soi Dog Foundation spend a couple of hours with myself and my colleagues at Pareto Fundraising, sharing how they have successfully managed to recruit hundreds of regular, monthly donors directly from facebook.
Yes you read that correctly, recruited monthly donors from facebook. An organisation that generates around $300,000 AUD a year has managed to find more than 500 ongoing, monthly supporters (giving $20 a month) in the last year. That’s over $100,000 a year (over one third of their income) coming from facebook recruits.
Incredible. And all very doable.
So here are the secrets to their success, and what Leonard candidly explained to us that they have put into practice over the past few months. It isn’t rocket science, but it bloody works.
Perspiration. They were patient. One of the mistakes organisations make is falling out of love with social media as quickly as they fall in love with it. “We need to be on facebook”. The proceed to set up a page, recruit a tonne of ‘fans’, then run of ideas or energy and simply do nothing.
Leonard has invested time and effort into ensuring not only do Soi Dog have a social presence, but that they commit to making it work, from a fundraising perspective. Not everything has worked, they’ve got stuff wrong, it’s been about trial and error. And it’s paying off.
Let go of control. The Soi Dog page now has adaptations in 6 languages, driven purely by advocates who have offered their support, and then run with it. Soi Dog isn’t playing big brother and micro managing, they let their administrators post new comments, interact with fans, suggest new applications.
I once heard someone at a fundraising conference once comment they were afraid to relinquish control because people would ‘talk about them’ and that they weren’t able to control their brand. The reality is people will talk about you anyway, rather than try and sanitise it, encourage it. Soi Dog has.
Advertising and asking. Leonard’s been using facebook advertising for the last year, recruiting regular donors from targeted ads (particularly focusing on individuals with an interest in animals), and also placing ads to their own ‘fans’. As Leonard commented, advertising to their fans seems counter intuitive yet in fact it makes sense. They are essentially what I’d call tepid prospects and we know tepid prospects respond better than those with no affinity at all.
They regularly attach asks (to become regular givers) to stories and photos they share, like the one below. They’re not afraid to show confronting (real) imagery, attached with a dog that needs help. And then ask.
Great, regular content. It needs to be relevant, shareable and regular. It isn’t just about posting a story about an upcoming event or a new blog on your website.
It’s about beneficiaries. Leonard realises they’re fans want to know about the dogs they help, or that need help. So content, whilst shared regularly, is also very focused on imagery and on the work they actually do.
Consistent, real dialogue. Leonard and his colleagues respond to, talk and actually engage with those who have taken the time to comment. They don’t just talk the talk here, they walk it. If you don’t believe me, take a peek yourself.
In fact get on facebook now and check them out. A wonderful example of how to make money from facebook, form someone who’s actually doing it. Hats off to Leonard and Soi Dogs.