Thursday, April 9, 2009

Reader Question: Can facebook ever replace the face to face?

Recently, a student and reader of this blog asked me a few questions about social media, fundraising, and marketing for a class project. I thought this question was a particularly good question, and wanted to share my answer.

Can facebook ever replace the face to face?

It depends. I think facebook can definitely create relationships and connections that are not already there. It also can improve relationships and make them stronger. What I think it cannot do, is replace a face to face ask. Facebook is great for small campaigns, or for having your volunteers/supporters raise money for you. I don't think it is as good for those large asks. Again, when you are targetting a new large donor, it can open the door to create a connection that may not have already been there (if that person is even on facebook). But, a large donor should not have their only ask for a large gift be via facebook.

Facebook cannot replace that in-person, one on one ask that large donors deserve and in most cases need to make large gifts. Unless you actually know someone on facebook (are actually friends with them or have some relationship in "real life"), they probably aren't as inclined to give when asked via facebook. This is because people are asked to give all the time. They are asked by door to door people, by phone calls, by mail, by email, and now by social media (facebook, twitter, etc).

In my opinion, facebook will never replace a face to face ask. I think the face to face ask will always have better results. Even as we move forward into a more technologically advanced world, especially with larger donors, a face to face will almost always be necessary.