User-generated Content in Donation Campaigns

It’s the end of the year, and that means nonprofits everywhere are focusing their efforts on donation campaigns. With the holidays fast approaching, fundraising marketing can start to look alike. How many times have you seen the same designs and techniques? How can you make sure your organization stands out, and–more importantly– raises the most amount of donations?

If you’re reading this, you’ve likely been in the following scenario: your company holds a brainstorming meeting for year-end donation tactics, and keep resorting to the same methods. A little bit of email, a dash of direct mail, and likely some social media ad buys. While these tactics can definitely be effective, there’s one big problem: your competitors are doing the exact same thing.

Standing out in a sea of similar-looking campaigns doesn’t have to be a mind-bending task. What separates every organization from another, among many things, is the narrative its audience tells. Why does someone support one organization over the other? What personally happened in someone’s life that lead to volunteering or donating? The makeup of an organization’s audience can help play a critical role in marketing and setting the framework for leveraging them isn’t as difficult as it sounds.

So, how easy is it to implement?

Collect stories from recurring donors about why they donate

Everyone has their own reasons for giving. Whether it’s at the million-dollar level or the lowest tier, the reasons one might give to your organization can be immensely powerful and could motivate someone new to donate. While some larger organizations spend big on film crews and production resources, easily capturing authentic stories can be as simple as in an email: our clients have included call for stories or testimonials in email templates, and every time an email is sent they don’t have to think about placing an implicit ask for stories.

Organize the best stories and decide which ones to promote

While your community may submit plenty of usable content, you’ll want to ensure you’re using the best narratives to promote. “People feel more certain about purchases supported by user experiences, and find businesses that promote UGC more transparent and credible,” writes Will Humphries. Finding authentic narratives that drive home the need to donate is critical in promotion, so it may be best to find 3-5 “seed videos” that are strong enough to launch your campaign.

Share to social media and email, and restart the process

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 “The best way to create engaging content is to get your customers involved in the content creation process,” says Cassandra Jowett of Influitive. Giving your audience a platform to voice their reasons for supporting your cause can be incredibly powerful, and it can also help improve your digital reach. Adding video testimonials to your Facebook strategy can almost certainly improve your reach, since Facebook puts more importance on videos in the news feed. By posting a video and asking for your audience to share their stories, for example, you can help restart this process – not only ensuring you have a stronger donation campaign, but solidifying your social media schedule when content is running short.


Looking to add user-generated content to your next campaign? We can help →

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