Q: My organization is using the Benevon Model and was also recently able to hire a communications coordinator. Now that we have this position, we are hoping to do more with social media and are wondering how you have seen that fit with the model—donor cultivation in particular. Thanks for your help!
Marcia in New Mexico
A: The Benevon Model is about building lasting relationships with individual donors. While social media is a great tool for sharing your work with a broad audience on a consistent basis, it’s no substitute for more personal contacts with your donors and key supporters. You should be using personal calls or visits from your CEO, thank you calls from board members, and other personal cultivation contacts to get to know your donors better and understand what motivates their giving to your organization. Invite them out to programmatic events where they can see the impact of your work.
If these major donors are users of social media, invite them to follow you on whatever platforms you use, but don’t rely on those contacts alone to bring them closer to your organization. Be sure to share content that connects your followers to the impact of your work, including pictures, short stories about individuals served, and recent highlights or updates on exciting things happening in your programs. If you can monitor activity well enough to notice when major supporters engage with you, do your best to be responsive.
Overall, we find that social media is a good but passive way for donors to stay in touch with your organization. It will only be effective for your donors who are already using social media in their daily lives and is no substitute for more personal cultivation.