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March 2 , 2010

Social media has growing impact on nonprofit event fundraising, study shows
New research finds that nonprofits can greatly increase awareness and support by providing social media tools to event participants

Social media continues to drive new levels of success for nonprofit event fundraising, according to a recent Blackbaud, Inc. and Charity Dynamics research project.

“The popularity of social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube has given rise to promising new ways for event participants to raise money online,” said Mark Davis, co-author of Making Event Participants More Successful with Social Media Tools and Blackbaud’s director of technical solutions. “While some people still doubt the fundraising potential of these tools, special event participants continue to be an exception and have shown strong fundraising success by tapping into the power of social networking.”

The new research paper from Blackbaud and Charity Dynamics provides an in-depth look at the growing impact of social media tools on peer-to-peer fundraising and how event participants are using these online tools to more effectively support nonprofits. As part of the research project, the team analyzed data from 1,750 events that provided social media tools to nearly 1 million participants during 2009.

“In all cases, our research found that event participants who used social media tools set higher fundraising goals, reached more donors and raised more money,” said Donna Wilkins, co-author of the paper and president of Charity Dynamics. “Additionally, we found that participants who achieved the strongest fundraising success were those that combined multiple social media tools.”

Blackbaud and Charity Dynamics uncovered the following trends in their research:

Event participants that adopted integrated social media tools increased their fundraising by as much as 40 percent compared to their peers who weren’t using the available online tools.

Participants who used Twitter raised more money and reached more donors than non-Twitter users, tripled their personal fundraising goals and raised nearly 10 times more online.

Fundraising via Facebook has evolved in both process and success from user initiated to organization-prompted to sophisticated Facebook applications that automate status updates by prompting participants throughout event campaigns.   

YouTube users performed the strongest offline compared to participants who were using other social media tools and are more likely to balance their use of both online and offline channels to tell their stories and conduct fundraising activities. 

Donors attracted through social media are more likely new to an organization. On average, 75 percent of donors through social media are new to organizations versus an average of 50 percent of all donors in support of participants.

Visit www.blackbaud.com/eventfundraising or www.charitydynamics.com/socialmediastudy to download the research paper, which also provides best practices to ensure participant adoption, and to register for the March 31 web seminar, Getting the Most Bang for your Social Media Buck. 

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