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Three Reasons Your Prospect Research Team Should Friend Facebook

Mon, June 30, 2014 1:41 PM | Laura Parshall

Brent Grinna is the Founder & CEO of social donor management software company EverTrue. He's active on Twitter and LinkedIn...and of course, Facebook.

Three Reasons Your Prospect Research Team Should Friend Facebook

Facebook is the world’s leading social network. While most senior fundraising leaders may still be warming up to Facebook, donors across your giving pyramid have embraced it. According to Pew Internet Research, 71% of online adults now use Facebook, and usage among seniors has increased significantly in the last year; 45% of internet users age 65 or older now use Facebook, up from 35% who did so in late 2012.

Source: Facebook investor relations    

So why should prospect researchers move Facebook from the periphery to the core of your efforts? Because it’s the single greatest repository of individual donor data in the world. Over 1 billion people have shared their interests, careers, causes and relationships on Facebook. This data can reveal potential hidden gems not surfaced through traditional prospect research. Here are three reasons to connect your Facebook and prospect research efforts:

1) Facebook Fans Are High Propensity

While it’s possible to surface donor capacity through wealth screenings and internal research efforts, it can be more challenging to know if a prospect feels a connection with your organization. By starting with Facebook fans, you know that the prospects you identify are engaged with your organization and interested in your mission. EverTrue data shows that Facebook fans are significantly more likely to support your organization financially.

2) Existing Major Donors Are Engaging With Your Content

Many senior leaders assume major donors aren’t on Facebook, but that trend has changed. Across nonprofit verticals, existing major donors are highly engaged with social content. By understanding which content and topics most appeal to existing major donors, fundraisers can better align fundraising efforts with donor interests.    

3) Online Data Matters Is Just As Important As Offline Data

You wouldn’t be happy if your team didn’t keep track of which donors attend important events. The same rule should apply for social interactions. It’s just as important to track which existing and prospective donors are showing up to your Facebook page and other social media content.

Where Should I Start?

If you have yet to connect the dots between your communications team’s Facebook efforts and prospect research, begin by asking yourselves these questions:

Which existing major donors are engaging with our Facebook content?

You can clearly show senior leaders why Facebook matters by identifying a handful of major donors who are engaging with your social content. It’s one thing to read statistics about the growth of Facebook; it’s another to see exactly how individual donors who support your organization are engaging with your Facebook efforts.

Which of our Facebook fans should be flagged for additional research?

Every interaction with your social media pages is an opportunity to surface new potential supporters. While the number of interactions can be overwhelming--over 20,000 potential prospects have interacted with the Brigham & Women's Facebook page--it’s important to start small and begin working social media into the core of your prospect research efforts.

What is the fundraising ROI of our Facebook page?

If you can’t yet link dollars raised or new prospects identified to your social media efforts, it’s time for your prospect research and communication leaders to begin working more closely together. Cornell University’s social media team has developed strong relationships with leaders in fundraising and prospect research. They are already seeing a clear ROI through new prospects identified.

All of those questions can be answered through a little collaboration and manual digging. Meanwhile, Social Donor Management technology is emerging to streamline these efforts.

Most nonprofits are sitting on a wealth of social information. It’s time to start harnessing that data to support existing fundraising objectives and advance your mission. 


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