Donor Relations, Emotional Data, Nonprofits, Social Media

Slacktivism Creates a Quiet Pipeline that is Good for the Nonprofit Sector

by: Katie Lord

In this heightened digital climate, social engagement is on the top of everyone’s mind. We are now more aware, as fundraisers than at any other time about the performance of our online engagement and fundraising metrics. Traditionally, online giving comprised between 10-15% of total giving, annually. While each year we experience nominal increases in this number, changing circumstances have forever altered the digital fundraising landscape.

This change has caused some to re-examine the negative perceptions around digital donor engagement and fundraising. Most notably, the idea that a strong online presence amounts to nothing more than “slacktivism” and does not create lasting and meaningful donor relationships. Slacktivism is defined as “promoting social or political causes by engaging with social media (liking, sharing a post, tagging friends) or signing a petition with little perceived effort on the part of the constituent.”

Slacktivism typically has a negative connotation because it usually isn’t correlated to a larger action such as a volunteer commitment or making a gift. As a fundraiser and marketer, I don’t look upon such engagement as negative, in fact, quite the opposite. Slacktivism can be the starting point or the continuation of a conversation on issues that matter.

What does “slacktivism” mean to you and your mission? It means your content resonates. It means you have broken through the noise, stopped someone from scrolling and touched a heart or mind. What does one’s “like,” share or tag equate to? It means more people will be exposed to your mission and learn about your work. It means the “slacktivists” actions will promote more of your content including targeted ads and communications to new audiences. It means you are one step closer to a meaningful relationship. So, I propose we kill the slacktivist term and instead cultivate our “Social Supporters.”

In the newly released Fundraising Effectiveness Project 2020, 2nd Quarter report, we saw that donations under $250 dollars increased by 19.2% and were mostly acquired through digital communication. If there is anything we have learned in 2020 it is that the days when digital is a non-necessity are gone. Currently, effective and compelling digital communications are absolutely necessary for the cultivation and conversion of new audiences and the continued engagement, stewardship and retention of our loyal donors.

So now that we see the benefits of our social supporters through social media engagement, below are a few action items to continue growth and increase the impact of your social supporters with measurable results:

  1. Understand which channels have the highest social supporter engagement and get “really good” at your top two channels/li>
  2. Create a content calendar for each channel and earmark high performing posts for evergreen content
  3. Know your numbers – run your social media and web analytics weekly to understand which messages result in the highest click through and conversion rates
  4. Identify your biggest social supporters (Notice I didn’t say digital donors although they could be one and the same) and create an ambassador program

So what happens if you don’t get a social supporter to volunteer or donate today? Nothing. They may not convert themselves today or tomorrow or next week or next month….but, they might. And while they are using their social capital to increase awareness, it is up to us as fundraisers to continue to create content that resonates and inspires small actions.

So, I say “Keep it up” to all the Slacktivists out there. Like, share, comment, sign the petition, take the survey, follow other channels, tag a friend and help spread the word for a better world!