Does Social Fundraising Mean Losing Control of Your Brand?

Brand
06.22.2011By

One really scary thing about social fundraising is the idea of losing control of your brand. But depending upon how risk-friendly your organization is, “losing control” can often feel liberating as well.

In the book Brandraising, Sarah Durham talks about how individual constituents have varied motivations for connecting with your organization. Your biggest fans often have very personal reasons for being as involved as they are with your organization.

Why It’s Scary

Your supporters may want to connect with you through various different channels, including a personal fund raising page.

What seems scary to some orgs about a personal fundraising page is that it’s more than a tweet or a status update. It’s an entire webpage! Yikes!

If you’re reading this and feeling scared, think about this:

If they want, your constituents can create a whole damned blog about your nonprofit!

Feeling better? ;-) Remember — just because you’re scared doesn’t mean the boogie man is real.

Social Is Different From Media

It’s easy to get caught up in the technology and the tools, but what’s central is the people.

They want to connect with your cause as human beings. They want to connect with you around their experience and what they value, and your brand needs to reflect that.

Let the Love In

Start by understanding what motivates your supporters. When you listen to and connect with them on their terms, your “brand” will take on a whole new meaning:

  • Your brand will mean standing by your core principles
  • Your brand will be relevant
  • Your brand will be about humanistic conversations and not just a style guide.

With this approach to branding, how your supporters present themselves on personal fundraising pages becomes a reflection of the org-donor relationship, and what they love about you.

What Does “Brand” Mean to You?

  • http://warrenwhitlock.com/social-media-expert Warren Whitlock

    If you have the delusion that you control your brand, you’ll make bad decisions. Let go, you never were in control

    • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

      Sorry, Warren, disagree. You’re always “in control” of your brand. People’s perceptions of it? That’s different – but the actual brand part, you control. Mess that up, you get what you deserve.

  • http://BestSellerAuthors.com Warren Whitlock

    If you have the delusion that you control your brand, you’ll make bad decisions. Let go, you never were in control

    • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

      Sorry, Warren, disagree. You’re always “in control” of your brand. People’s perceptions of it? That’s different – but the actual brand part, you control. Mess that up, you get what you deserve.

      • http://www.johnhaydon.com/ johnhaydon

        Good point, Danny! Brand is a reflection of an orgs commitment to the cause and it’s peeps.

  • http://doughaslam.com doughaslam

    I don’t think this has anything to do with social media and losing control of your brand. In fact I think the SM “no control” thing is a reckless myth (If you have a good message/product/service, people will be happy to share it– you lose control when those things are terrible). 

    I do take to heart the point that many participants and donors have very personal reasons– a loved one died from the disease, etc- for connecting to the cause. Any good organization is in tune with its customers. 

  • http://twitter.com/smallcatbigdog Lisa Estrin-Allison

    People don’t fall in love with things, they choose an item ( NPO, cause, etc ) because of a relationship.  Strength of branding rests with the connection between the people in an organization and how strongly they identify with those they serve.  Social media may appear to be a depersonalized form of communication but it’s simply another channel to tune into and broadcast from.   

  • http://twitter.com/smallcatbigdog Lisa Estrin-Allison

    People don’t fall in love with things, they choose an item ( NPO, cause, etc ) because of a relationship.u00a0 Strength of branding rests with the connection between the people in an organization and how strongly they identify with those they serve.u00a0 Social media may appear to be a depersonalized form of communication but it’s simply another channel to tune into and broadcast from.u00a0 u00a0

  • http://marketingpartners.ca Jon Aston

    I define “brand” as how you leave people feeling… however and whenever
    they experience your organization, products, services, or image. And
    those experiences are all essentially within your ability to manage (So, +1 for @dannybrown:disqus).

    In the age of “social media” everyone in your public has a voice. If you’re managing how they experience your organization, products, services, or image… then you have nothing to worry about… and plenty to gain.

  • http://marketingpartners.ca Jon Aston

    I define “brand” as how you leave people feeling… however and whenevern they experience your organization, products, services, or image. And nthose experiences are all essentially within your ability to manage (So, +1 foru00a0@dannybrown:disqus).nnIn the age of “social media” everyone in your public has a voice. If you’re managing how they experience your organization, products, services, or image… then you have nothing to worry about.nn

    • http://www.johnhaydon.com/ johnhaydon

      Right on, Jon!

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