How do donors find organizations that they would like to support? Do they endlessly search through the wants ads? Of course not. Like most people, donors often find out about important causes by talking with their friends and acquaintances.
In fact, a recent article on Associations Now provided a statistic, citing a study by the Center for Social Impact Communication which found that 39 percent of people say they become involved with causes that affect someone they know.
For associations that are seeking out effective fundraising tools, this is a crucial point to keep in mind. It means that while there are certainly many effective ways to market an organization and attract donors, the usefulness of social media cannot be overstated.
The example the article provides is that of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Foundation, which is partially funding the National Concrete Canoe Competition this summer. The contest will task engineering students with creating concrete canoes that can still float—and racing them.
Natalie Zundel, the ASCE senior manager of major gifts, is part of the reason why this effort will attract so much attention. When she first joined the foundation in 2011 it had almost no presence on social media. Since then, she built it from the ground up to ensure that the foundation could stay in touch with its donors and raise the funds for projects like this one.
It wasn't easy—Zundel had to spend time mapping out a plan to build awareness and then win over senior management. To many association leaders, such a project would come across as quite a challenge. Luckily, those who want to emulate Zundel can seek out association leadership training programs that deal with specific areas like fundraising.