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Engagement and Social Media

Fri, September 26, 2014 12:01 PM | Laura Parshall

In this article, Brent Grinna of EverTrue shares some thoughts on how to measure donor engagement, and it starts with social media.


Engagement and Social Media


We know that engaged donors are more likely to give. What’s still up for debate is how to measure that engagement in our newly social world to most effectively rate prospects.

In a 2002 study, the MIT Alumni Association used data to prove that "involved alumni are much more likely to give." At that time—over a decade ago—the definition of “involved” was limited to reunion attendance, volunteerism, and club leadership. During the 12 years in between the MIT study and today, social media has emerged and proliferated the everyday lives of its now billions of users across the world.

What hasn’t changed is the clear correlation between engagement and giving. In 2002, MIT’s data showed that reunion attendees were 30% more likely to give than those who did not attend.

In 2014, EverTrue data shows that Facebook users who like your organization’s content are 92% more likely to give than non-likers.

Donors are involved and engaging with your organization through social channels. Using social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, they’re posting about life events and sharing other users’ content that they like and want to be associated with. That data can and should be collected and analyzed to inform donor and prospect ratings.

Still, most educational institutions dedicate staff time and resources to tracking reunion attendance and very little (or no) time measuring social engagement. If you aren’t tracking who’s engaging with you on Facebook, you’re essentially hosting a reunion without keeping track of attendance.

If you want to better understand your donor engagement, start by asking, “Who are our most engaged Facebook fans?”

If you can’t quickly answer that basic question, you’re missing out on an important source of donor information. By combining insights from internal and external data, you can quickly and easily produce a high return on your social media investment.

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