The 2007 America’s Giving Challenge analysis revealed several characteristics of winning campaigns. Those attributes included immersion in the effort, viral communications, the success of smaller and volunteer organizations, a general lack of fundraising experience, and the ability to create campaigns on the fly.
The 2009 contest highlighted new common characteristics for winners. These attributes can be replicated across contests and general nonprofit social media outreach.
Personal Appeals: Personal solicitations to pre-existing networks of donors and friends through multiple channels were rated as the most effective methods for fundraising. Thirty-five percent of contest participants rated messaging to friends through Facebook as most effective; 32 percent rated personal email to friends, family and colleagues as effective or most effective; and 25 percent rated email to an existing organizational donor base as effective or most effective.
Use of Distributed Networks: Social media enables on and offline grassroots activism, giving nonprofits the ability to coordinate large numbers of people across distributed networks. This type of grassroots activism can be enormously effective for contests or any type of cause-based movement.
Some like Atlas Corps recruited 150 “Campaign Captains” before the contest started. Other organizations broke their efforts down into bite-size pieces for their volunteers by creating templates to use to send messages to their friends, post and comment on blogs, and create their own videos.
Additional assets included: