Pakistan floods appeal: Getting social media followers to donate

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2010/09/01 · 18 comments 8,140 views

in e marketing 101 cost-benefit ROI

Some people agreed with my conclusions in last week’s post, Social media’s failed acid test: Pakistan disaster response. Others suggested that in cases of fund-raising, social media makes a difference.

This week’s post focuses on how social media can be used effectively to get non-profits’ Facebook friends and Twitter followers to donate to the Pakistan floods appeal.

First, we must consider some factors that influence all fund-raising efforts for a natural or man-made disaster.

    A. Popular tourist destination: If the country affected by a tsunami or an earthquake is popular with tourists, people are more likely to donate… Pakistan has little international tourism.
    B. Good political capital versus ‘image deficit’: The better a country’s political image, the easier it seems to secure relief funds. The slow donor response to the Pakistan floods might be due in part to people’s concerns about how the aid money will be used (e.g., what about the Taliban?).
    C. Media coverage: A disaster in a country with good political capital that is also a popular tourist destination will result in more extensive news coverage. Relatively low-key coverage in the international media, as in the case of Pakistan, makes raising funds tougher.
    D. Timing: No matter how much coverage is available, it means nothing if it does not reach the public. Vacationers often ‘unplug’ from the world, so they tend to be less aware of a disaster situation and its severity.
    Plus, a disaster that occurs around Christmas tends to benefit from people’s ‘spirit of giving’. Not so during other times of year, when they have either just spent lots of money on a vacation or are already saving up for the next holiday (i.e. Christmas).
    Lastly, a disaster that is slow to develop, such as the floods that have worsened over weeks in Pakistan, lacks the punch of sudden and catastrophic destruction, like the earthquake that leveled in Haiti in just seconds.

Social media for social causes
But the question remains, will your Facebook friends, Google Buzz or Twitter followers respond to your post asking them to contribute to the Pakistan flood relief?

Here are some examples and experiences I have come across this year (this list is by no means complete):

    Star appeal helps: Actor George Clooney helped organize a two-hour telethon for Haiti and might be part of another one for Pakistan. He received the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award on August 29 during the 62nd Primetime Emmys for these and other humanitarian efforts.
YouTube Preview Image
    Joining forces to raise awareness and funding – Switzerland: The Glueckskette (Swiss Solidarity Foundation) is Switzerland’s humanitarian solidarity and fund-raising platform. The foundation is led by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation and also works closely with private and print media.
    Media coverage continues for weeks after a telethon, including podcasts (e.g., interviewing a relief worker that just got back from Pakistan), and ensuring that people still know how they can donate.

Image - list of podcasts - SR-DRS - Swiss radio - shows about the Glueckskette's efforts raising funds for various diaster relief efforts such as Haiti, Pakistan, Chile and so forth

    Image - tweet - @IFB_Loewenmut - Schnell und sicher online #spenden mit dem Spendentool der #Bank für Sozialwirtschaft können Sie hier http://redir.ec/dSLvTwitter, online banking and Angela Merkel: Germany’s second largest public broadcaster ZDF ran a two-hour telethon program each for Haiti and Pakistan, raising €20 million and €7.5 million, respectively.
    Insiders felt that without Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal involvement, the Pakistan telethon would have raised even less.
    Image - Oesterreichisches Rotes Kreuz launches viral marketing campaign on Facebook, Xing and other social networks to raise awareness for Pakistan flood victims and relief effortsGetting creative and engaging with social media – Austria: The Austrian Red Cross has gone a bit further than most.
    Its viral campaign was based on its employees and donors/friends replacing their profile pictures on Xing or Facebook with one supplied by the Red Cross of the Pakistan floods.
    Whatever means you prefer is fine with us, but please donate – UK: The British Red Cross is another organization that offers people various methods to donate money.

Image - webpage - British Red Cross - Pakistan floods appeal - round 14 million people have been affected and around 900,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed.

    Its webpage and social media platforms are well done. Still, if I prefer a good old check or paying at the local post office to contribute, no problem.

Getting your Twitter followers and Facebook friends to donate – just by asking
Various factors play a role in getting donations during an appeal. As Haiti and Pakistan illustrate, being a tourist destination with great political capital while getting lots of media coverage during the right time of year is definitely helpful for getting funds needed to rebuild the country.

    1. Show impact: Show people what their donation will buy or how it will be used for which projects (nearly all charities do with videos, text, podcasts and so forth).2. Viral marketing – get people involved: While this may not apply for brands, individuals are clearly willing to share information about good causes with their friends using social media.

    3. Make sharing and commenting easy: Many charities’ or NGOs’ webpages or blogs do not empower readers to write a comment and share it with their friends. Seems like a lost opportunity.

    4. Use the platforms your users do: Many charities use Facebook and Twitter to engage with the public. But what about Google BuzzXing or LinkedIn groups? If your donors are there, shouldn’t you be?

    5. Make donating simple: Text messaging is one of many methods you should offer for donation. And while giving specific amounts to choose from might help in the US, it could turn people off in some countries like Belgium or Italy.

    6. Create synergies & leverage your campaign with the help of traditional media: In just a month, and by using podcasts, radio news shows and interviews in newspapers about the relief efforts, the Swiss Solidarity Foundation more than doubled the funds raised during a day-long fund-raising telethon.

    7. Measure the efforts: If you tweet a link to your followers or ask your Facebook friends to visit the Pakistan flood relief page, measure the effect. But please use actionable analytics and metrics… this means taking action based on the numbers (fine-tune, watch the trends and change your strategy based on these numbers).

What works for your organisation? Please leave a comment.

Article source: Pakistan floods appeal: Getting social media followers to donate

More resources
Pakistan flooding – social media map shows limited use of Twitter by victims
Pakistan floods mapping through Ushaidi – an open source platform to crowdsource crisis information

American Red Cross – about 203,000 friends
British Red Cross – about 7,800 friends
Swiss Red Cross – about 1200 friends

  • British Red Cross

    An interesting article and thanks for the mention. nnRegarding point 4, we maintain profiles within the largest online communities but maintaining Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Scribd presences takes a large amount of time. It’s great to interact with donors and supporters and reach new people, but I wonder if, past a certain point, the strain on resources from being in all of the online spaces donors inhabit might outweigh the benefit?nnI’d be interested to hear others’ thoughts on how many networks they engage with and what they consider to be the optimal online presence.

  • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

    @britishredcrossnnThanks so much for the above comment. I totally agree with you about the time commitment that can easily go out of control. nnMoreover, who can be like a large company (e.g., Comcast, Toyota) and have possibly 8 to 20 people monitor the charity’s social media activities? nnEngaging and spending 8-hours every day on social media is nice but often not feasible (e.g., Comcastcares has 7 or 8 people taking care of its Twitter account alone).nnWith limited resources it is absolutely critical to make a decision about:nna – where to hang out – of course – where your donors are as you mention above, ANDnb – where new donors can be foundnnBut regardless of all that, what is popular today may no longer be popular tomorrow. In contrast, having valuable content (like you do) on your webpage including blogs and white papers allows you to engage on whatever platform is popular today….. and change if need be… nnThe great content you link to from various platforms or touting your own horn about your achievements, such as:nn”200k people in Pakistan have received food items from Red Cross while non-food items (shelter, household materials) provided to 125k ppl.”n===> http://twitter.com/BritishRedCross/status/22692577407nnWill usually get people to come back to your home destination – your weblog where you own all copyrights to the content, etc.nnI can just say that with one charity we worked out with them what their stategy was, the purpose of social media …. thereafter we began to support their efforts for implementing what they wanted.nOf course, the time budget including resources was a critical component.nnBut I am interested to hear more about how you decided about your ‘optimal online presence’ or what criteria did you use (why Facebook but no LinkedIn or Xing, Viadeo, etc.)? Please advice.nnThanks so much for sharing.

  • British Red Cross

    We do use LinkedIn actually – I forgot to add it to the list!nnOur decision on which social networks to use was shaped by around a year’s worth of testing to see which were delivering a measurable benefit. In the process, some networks fell by the way side (I won’t name names but you can probably guess) while others stood out from the crowd as significant drivers of web traffic, donations and reach.nnNetwork choice was also informed by which delivered unique dimensions to our existing communications; for instance, we have a very strong community on Facebook so it would seem that another community site would simply be duplication. Twitter gives us a rapid, direct route to a largely external audience. If a particular network presents a way of doing things we can’t do elsewhere, it will be considered, but for the time being the networks mentioned above fulfil all of our needs.

  • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

    @britishredcross nThanks for replying. Your statement: “…significant drivers of web traffic, donations and reach.” is of particular interest to me.nnI wonder how you knew that somebody on Facebook actually made a donation – did you design a special campaign using that channel?nnHow do you know that people on Facebook are those you want to reach but on MySpace or Google Buzz or Google Me this is not the case?nnWhy is the Twitter audience external but the Facebook one is more ‘internal’ as you call it?nnIf you can share a few more insights this would be helpful. Thanks so much for bringing your expertise and insights to this discussion, very valuable.

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  • British Red Cross

    We track all of our user journies so we know when somebody has come from Facebook or Twitter and gone on to give to an appeal. nnReferrals from Twitter and Facebook to our site are very high, but this was not the case for MySpace and there was little measurable effect of having a presence there, so the decision was made to stop using it.nnAs for internal vs external audiences – we found from surveys that the audiences were almost polarised opposites, Twitter being heavily external and Facebook predominantly internal. This wasn’t by design, it’s just something that has happened naturally.

  • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

    @britishredcrossnnYou track users coming from Facebook donating for Pakistan floods appeal. So you also check if they complete the transaction on your site. Of course, if they do not give online but choose the post office or sending a check as option instead, you cannot track if the cause was Facebook or not.nnReferrals are nice and part of the marketing funnel in so far as if people read your content, it is the first step to volunteer or donate, of course.nnI really appreciate this valuable feedback you provided. I also find interesting that Twitter followers are external (this this stand for non-volunteers, non-donors?) and Facebook internals. nnSo I wonder, of course, if you can improve conversion from Twitter and how this works with LinkedIn, for instance.nnThanks for sharing. Look forward to your response.

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