Charities Targeting Friends and Followers to Build on Ice Bucket Challenge

by | 3 minute read

Every char­i­ty in the U.S. is like­ly wish­ing they’d thought of the Ice Buck­et Chal­lenge.  This fundrais­ing event ben­e­fit­ed the Amy­otroph­ic lat­er­al scle­ro­sis (ALS) Soci­ety. As peo­ple across the U.S. post­ed videos of them­selves dump­ing a buck­et of ice water on them­selves or friends, they were also mak­ing dona­tions. The suc­cess of this event shows the pow­er of appeal­ing to char­i­ty friends and fol­low­ers on social net­works.

It’s not easy to raise mon­ey as a non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion these days. The tra­di­tion­al method of direct mail is yield­ing few­er results as con­sumers spend more time online. While the Inter­net can be a great equal­iz­er, a small charity’s pres­ence can be over­shad­owed by large com­peti­tors. For exam­ple, the ALS orga­ni­za­tion has his­tor­i­cal­ly relied on between 20,000 and 30,000 peo­ple to give mon­ey for research into this rel­a­tive­ly rare but dev­as­tat­ing dis­ease.

A Wall Street Jour­nal arti­cle reports that the ALS orga­ni­za­tion usu­al­ly count­ed on dona­tions between Jan­u­ary and August to total $1.8 mil­lion. In 2014, that num­ber zoomed to over $15 mil­lion. The secret behind their suc­cess was a unique fundrais­ing strat­e­gy that took place at just the right time, giv­ing it a viral edge. The orga­ni­za­tion start­ed by send­ing out emails on the top­ic of the ice buck­et chal­lenge. Before long, sup­port­ers were shar­ing videos of them­selves tak­ing the chal­lenge with their social media con­tacts. In the end, celebri­ties like Bill Gates and Ben Stiller were tak­ing the chal­lenge and mak­ing dona­tions.  Experts say the unique­ness of the chal­lenge and the tim­ing – in the sum­mer — fueled inter­est and tapped into people’s will­ing­ness to give.

As char­i­ty fundrais­ers brain­storm for oth­er great ways to raise mon­ey, they need to work on build­ing their base of friends and fol­low­ers on their social sites. Cur­rent­ly, about 27% of U.S. adults have ‘friend­ed’ a cause on Facebook.AudienceSCAN data shows that 83% of these audi­ence mem­bers are under age 45. These are the sup­port­ers that char­i­ties will have to count on for dona­tions in the next few years. While these con­sumers aren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly pas­sion­ate about buy­ing from a local store, they will sup­port an enter­prise which is asso­ci­at­ed with a char­i­ty or cause they believe in. 38% of these audi­ence mem­bers strong­ly agree that they’d switch stores for a cause or char­i­ty. That’s 79% high­er than for adults in gen­er­al. These con­sumers may also be online more than aver­age. About 21% will be look­ing for new high-speed Inter­net access in the next year, which is 110% high­er than aver­age.

Mar­keters can con­nect with these con­sumers online. 49% have tak­en action in the last 30 days as a result of an ad they saw on social net­works.

Audi­enceS­CAN data is avail­able as part of a sub­scrip­tion to AdMall for Agen­cies. Media com­pa­nies can access Audi­enceS­CAN data through the Audi­ence Intel­li­gence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice Pres­i­dent of Research for Sales­Fu­el. She holds a Mas­ters in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont and over­sees a staff of researchers, writ­ers and con­tent providers for Sales­Fu­el. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was co-owner of sev­er­al small busi­ness­es in the health care ser­vices sec­tor.