Here I am at the AFP International Conference on Fundraising, and I just got out of a packed session called Social Networking and Online Fundraising Success, with Ted Hart. I’ve been following Ted and reading his emails via ePhilanthropy for years, and it was fun to walk in the room and see him up there IRL. He crammed a lot of good stuff into the 1 hour 15 minute time frame, and I can’t even begin to give a cohesive summary, so here’s one thing I want to focus on:

Channel integration and comprehensive CRM, including Social CRM, are critical to future success.

Here’s why – Online and offline donors are not separate universes. There have been numerous studies about the positive effects of email and web sites on giving by mail. Donors give more offline, when they receive your emails, and check out your site before writing their check. But the new data shows that social channels like Facebook and Twitter also have a relationship to online giving. Those who are active on social media are more likely to give online, and less likely to mail in a donation. And the social web is an ideal venue for nurturing relationships with mass influencers, who can be your messengers and your peer-to-peer fundraising stars.

Email, direct mail, and social media have been siloed so far – but they don’t have to be. You need tools to see who the full picture of who your constituents are, identify and reach out to those mass influencers, the people who have a voice and reach on social media and “Like” you, and manage all of your communication from a single platform. And they are coming, sooner than you think.

I’ll leave you with a few very specific tips Hart offered for building relationships with those mass influencers.

  • Offer special promotions
  • Help them be an inside source
  • Reward loyalty, thank your supporters
  • Meet face to face!