Interview with Jon Biedermann, Vice President Fundraising Products, DonorPerfect

| 17th Feb 14

At the recent CHASE 2014 in London, Jon Biedermann, Vice President Fundraising Products at DonorPerfect, delivered a seminar on Social Network Fundraising. Charity Digital News was there to catch up with Jon afterwards.

Would you say that charities are overestimating the power of social media?

Absolutely. Social media is just a brochure; it’s not going to get people to act. You’re going to have to ask them to act. Through social media, they are going to click on a ‘like’ button, but are not actually going to give any money. If you’re organisation is all about getting the word out, social media is the way to go, but not for fundraising.

Are you not alienating young people, the next generation of donors, by focusing mainly on email?

The secret to any successful campaign is all about donor retention, as that drives future growth. The problem with the current methods, such as SMS, is that people are so concerned about privacy that it can hurt nonprofits. They should give up that channel, because, from text donors, three quarters don’t give their information, meaning you can’t contact them again.

I’d rather get a smaller number of donors through direct mail, phone calls, or chugging, where donor retention is 90%. With text it’s 10%. There is an ocean of difference in the amount of money raised. So for advocacy it’s the way to go, but for raising money it’s just the beginning portal of which you use other strategies like email, direct mail, and phone calls.

For a charity which is starting out and thinking, I need to sort out a social media strategy, what tips would you give them?

You have to determine whether raising money is as important as raising awareness and then focus your efforts appropriately. If it’s about raising money, I wouldn’t even be on Facebook, to be quite candid. I’d have a website, and I’d have an email campaign.