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How to use social media in a fundraising campaign by David Pearce


David Pearce, Director of Fundraising and Marketing of Dignity in Dying & Compassion in Dying, talked about the effective use of social media in campaigning during Hubbub’s Digital Giving Day, offering useful tips on how an organisation can use the power of social media to meet its goals.  

Social media: are we getting it all wrong? By David Pearce #hubbubconf

His experience at Dignity in Dying taught him that “you can’t fundraise online without getting people’s attention first” and that’s the strategy that shifted the organisation’s perspective by embracing digital fundraising.

Dignity in Dying saw an increase of 40% in individual giving contribution from 2012 to 2014 and it was the change of the strategic focus that led to this growing contribution.

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Growing year-by-year

The growth occurred by convincing people to give more and this happened when the organisation realised that it had to get the basics right and have a culture that allows them to do fundraising well.

These are the steps they took to grow each year:

  • Analysis and planning (2012): the first step was to organise the team’s structure, create the proposals for the campaigns and define the relationships with people who can improve the process of fundraising
  • Getting the house in order (2013): this was the year when Dignity in Dying started running the new campaigns
  • Refining and building on what works (2014): once the organisation found out what works, it focused more towards this direction, with digital marketing becoming more important
  • Making noise for the campaign (2015): 2015 was all about making noise, growing the active base, and introducing new campaign tactics which led to a steady source of income.

Going beyond traditional marketing

Social media signalled the transition from traditional marketing to a digital focus for Dignity in Dying, with Facebook and Twitter contributing to this shift.

Facebook likes to Dignity in Dying’s page have been increased by 2344% from 2013 to 2016, while Twitter also saw an increase of 2000% at the same period.

Facebook served as the organisation’s forum, the platform that tied the brand digitally and increased the engagement and awareness for their campaigns.

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Moreover, email marketing has been an integral part of their crowdfunding campaigns, building an email database and seeing a growth of 850% since 2013.

How to get massive reach on social media

  1. Stop obsessing about reach: Facebook’s reach can indicate whether your content reaches your audience, but there’s no need to be obsessed with it. 
  2. Work out what works: it’s important to understand what works in social media and stick to it. 
  3. Build your audience: it’s not always easy to build your audience, but creativity and consistency can be rewarded.
  4. Keep learning: as the brand grows, trials and errors can lead to improved results, provided that the organisation understands its audience.

5 tips to improve your digital campaigns

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  1. Think of your audience: keep in mind that you are not your audience, so make sure you know what they expect from you.
  2. Plan how to leverage your efforts: find the right time to scale up your campaigns and explore new ways to expand your brand’s reach with the use of digital media.
  3. Consider paid advertising: organic promotion can lead to great results, but paid advertising may speed up the process.
  4. Find a voice: your content should reflect your personality and each campaign should have a clear tone of voice. This makes it easier for the audience to associate the brand with a particular voice.
  5. Know the right time to ask: if you want to ask for attention, make sure you deserve it.


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