Fundraiser versus social media officer (Guest post) » Charity Digital News

Fundraiser versus social media officer (Guest post)

By Jon Ware, Digital Content Lead at Anthony Nolan and Fundraising Convention 2017 speaker

It’s a classic, Batman-vs-Superman-style battle royale – and it plays out every single day in the charity sector. In fact, I’m pretty sure the argument will be taking place as you’re reading this, in an office somewhere in the UK. Spare both participants a kindly thought.



In one corner, the fundraiser – who’s thinking about how to promote their latest event, partnership or new campaign. They’ve got tickets to sell, or targets to meet. And because budgets are tight, they don’t have many other options. They want to post about this project on social media.

In the other corner, the social media officer – who’s thinking about their audience (and, let’s be real, their engagement stats).

They know that this is going to be an unsuccessful post. They cringe at the thought of a few unenthusiastic likes – and perhaps a few unfollows. Above all, they want to be putting out content that’s shareable and compelling, not transactional. They really, really don’t want to post about this project on social media.

From the fundraiser’s point of view, the social media officer is being unhelpful and unaccommodating. From the social media officer’s point of view, the fundraiser is trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.



Similarly to Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent’s efforts to pound each other into the pavement, neither side is the bad guy here. Neither side is being unreasonable according to their own point of view.

And just as similarly, if the situation can only be defused, fundraiser and social media officer will be free to team up and achieve some pretty amazing things together.

How? Well, there are plenty of things I’d suggest to a fundraiser that can really help.

Plan ahead – don’t treat social media as a quick or tacked-on campaign action. Try and find the storytelling angle that might be compelling to your charity’s entire online following, not just the happy few who do want to get involved. Make sure you’re always offering your audience something they’ll legitimately appreciate.

But – and I say this as a social media officer – a huge amount of responsibility lies on the other side as well.



Social media officers need to communicate what they’re looking for in a post or a tweet, and collaborate to make those posts a success. They need to find compromises and suggest alternative tactics, rather than just saying no.

Most importantly, they need to be giving transactional content room to breathe on their organisation’s social media – by keeping it regulated, and by tracking down and publishing more content that isn’t transactional.

Because after all, if you’re providing a steady stream of compelling, inspiring, emotive stories, your audience will be more engaged, more on-side – and less likely to click ‘hide’ when they do see that post about the Manchester Marathon.

If a charity’s social media only ever asks for support, it becomes a harangue. If it never offers avenues for support, it becomes a missed opportunity.

It’s up to us all to find the happy medium, somewhere in between.

Jon will be speaking in the Fundraising Convention Digital track on Monday 3 July, in a session titled The Social Media Masterclass. Join over 200 sector experts and 2500 delegates at the UK’s biggest event for fundraisers, by fundraisers – book your place at this year’s IoF Fundraising Convention 2017:

Related reading

Google Design Sprint
The Big Issue