Social Networking for charities and fundraisers

Posted by on August 23, 2009 in Blog, Presenting, Social Media | 0 comments

Social Networking for charities and fundraisers

In August I was invited by Paul Sage of Click4Causes to give a presentation in Milton Keynes to demonstrate the power of Social Media and Social Networking, and how these could be used to engage with their audiences to raise awareness of, and increase contributions to their causes.

Paul Sage began the seminar with some very sound advice on the importance of choosing the right words to ensure our messages elicit the desired response. In Pauls words:

“Gone are the days when we sell AT people. The time has come for us to engage with our audience on a more personal level. The tools that will allow us to do that are now here, and these are called Social Media and they enable us to build powerful Social Networks. Using this new medium we have to be careful, and pay particular attention to how we engage with people. We need to choose our words very carefully and we must construct our messages so that we appeal directly to our audiences hearts and minds.”

To conclude his presentation and to emphasise his message Paul then played the following short film which was voted #1 for the special award at the Cannes 2008 Film Festival:


I think you will agree, this video demonstrates perfectly how the choice of words can make all the difference, and the message it gives certainly stirs the emotions. Having to follow such a moving film (while I sill had a lump in my throat) was not an easy task!

How to Use Social Networking to Revolutionise Fundraising

My presentation is designed to enable even the most non-technical people to use Social Networks like [blippr]Twitter[/blippr] and [blippr]FaceBook[/blippr] to get more business, more fans, more funds or more awareness for their company, group or organisation. The section on how to Listen, Fish and Establish Trust prompted the most questions and quickly explained how a huge number of people all over the world can be engaged in conversations and subtly led to take action in a very short period of time. Its going to be exciting to see how the representatives of the charities who were at the presentation start to use these techniques to revolutionise their fundraising strategies.

The JK Wedding Dance Entrance Video

I concluded my presentation by explaining the story behind the JK Wedding Dance Entrance phenonomon and how it spread across the internet. In only six weeks the video was viewed over 21 million times on [blippr]YouTube[/blippr] (exceeding the entire US Network TV output combined during the same period!) It’s all due to its sheer creativity, and the insatiable hunger of an internet audience searching for fun and inventiveness. The video has now managed to raise over $15,000 for the Sheila Wellstone Institute, and the figures are rising every day – To whoever said “Social Networking doesn’t work” – here’s proof it does!

Jill and Kevin - JK Wedding Dance WebsiteMany aren’t aware of the full details of the story behind this, but essentially Jill and Kevin wanted to make this video as a celebration of their marriage. Unfortunately it appears they hadn’t quite realised the huge backlash their video would cause from the online social community. Their post on YouTube received some pretty vitriolic comments highlighting the fact that the music they’d chosen was performed by Chris Brown – who is currently on trial for assault after beating up his wife Rhianna – and certainly not something to be used to celebrate a marriage!

Jill and Kevins response to this was to set up a web page specifically to raise money for the Sheila Wellstone Institute. Sheila Wellstone was an advocate, organiser, and national champion in the effort to end domestic violence in our communities. The result of setting up their donation website was phenominal and at the time of this article have managed to raise over $15,000 for the Sheila Wellstone Institute. You can view their website and make your donation here>>

Using the medium

Any organisation that wants to engage hearts and minds needs to be using this medium – it gets straight to individuals on a scale never possible until now and will have a huge impact on how the charity weary public are re-engaged with the work that is being done and how they are motivated and inspired to get involved.” For those who haven’t seen the video yet, here it is – Watch it, make your donation at The Sheila Wellstone Institute, and then tell all your friends about it – That’s exactly how Social Networking works!

The Midnight Moo

My presentation was followed by the amazing Lincoln Bedeau of who gave an excellent talk about the recent development of, a YouTube style website for promoting products, businesses and events. The main feature in his presentation was The Midnight Moo which is now to become an annual event in Milton Keynes. For my non UK readers who don’t know, cows are very special in the hearts of the Milton Keynes community, (click here to find out why – you can even see them on Google Maps HERE! ) The Midnight Moo 2009 was the first event of its kind for Milton Keynes and was held at Midsummer Place to raise vital funding for Willen Hospice. Melanie Harriss (Marketing Manager) of was in the audience and shared her insights into how assisted with promoting the event. On the 18th July the MK Midnight Moo, a ladies only 10 mile midnight walk, took place around Milton Keynes and raised over £100,000 for Willen Hospice . Their herd of 1000 udderly fantastic ladies pounded 10 miles of Milton Keynes redways, pledging pounds to support patients and families being cared for by the staff at Willen Hospice.

Here’s Lincolns video of the event – it was huge!

We were told how part of the MK Midnight Moo’s success was due to the moovellous herd helpers that supported them. Over 150 volunteers came together, working all hours, some of them all night to support the event; cowpleting a range of essential tasks from manning water stops, arranging registrations to marshalling the route. The local community also came together to help make the first MK Midnight Moo a memorable night by donating their services, time and funds.

This was a brilliant story, and Lincoln demonstrated how their new Social Networking site now includes all of the latest capabilities for promoting events such as this through the use of online social media and social networks. Lincoln is a great character who’s way out there ahead of the curve, bursting with new and original ideas, and it was a pleasure to meet him. Apart from being the founder of the highly popular (FaceBook page here>> ) Lincoln has also set up which is a unique video platform for educational organisations. The really clever part is that it’s based on a YouTube-style format and has a safe-social network element which is built-in. This website is designed so that teachers or staff can moderate content produced by students. Visitors to the site only view content that has been authorised by an appointed administrator. also provides a secure environment where projects, activities and work produced by students can be showcased to other students, schools, parents and potential employers for best practice sharing. Take a look at their site here>> and I think you’ll agree it’s a great concept!

Turning Maketing Budgets into Donations

Lincoln’s presentation was then followed by the wonderful Simon Parslow of e-say Limited . Simon heads up a new and exciting company with some very cool and fresh ideas. They have their eye firmly on the social networking scene and have developed a unique online shop which takes a portion of the marketing budgets of its suppliers and distributes these to customers, charities and fundraisers to help raise money for their respective causes. The visions that Simon shared with us during his presentation of how his online service is creating new communities through social networking specifically to influence suppliers to deliver the products and services people want is truly amazing.

e-say Website -

E-say are leading the social market place by putting the customer in the driving seat of brand development and making the customer the best advert a brand could get. Using a social networking platform e-say redistributes money normally spent on traditional marketing and motivates the entire supply chain through social networking in a unique and very clever way. They work directly with manufacturers and suppliers and the ethos of the business is to pay suppliers more so their customer service can be the best. They firmly believe (as I do) that satisfied customers recommend more, and on that basis, spreading the word through social networks will drive up sales and help customers, charities and fundraisers in the process. It’s a novel and intersting idea and an area I’ll certainly be keeping a very close watch on.

We’re very proud to have the event organiser Paul Sage as one of our SuperBlog customers, and he used it to great effect to help promote the event as you can see here>>>

Have your say

Do you have any social media strategies or ideas for charities to promote themselves over social networks? If so, please share them with us using the comments below – Thanks


Next Steps:

If you would like help with your social media policy development, or social media training for your staff and management teams on how to use social media effectively while protecting your brand and reputation, or would like to book Ian to speak at your next event then:

Call Ian on: 07979 593 970 or CLICK HERE>

About Ian McKendrick

Ian is a social media and IT Strategist, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on IT Strategy, Social Media and Information Security. Connect with Ian on Google+

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