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Newton's Laws of Fundraising #87 - Fundraisers don't live in a vacuum

"I'll never give you another penny!"

Fundraisers, sadly, get these phone calls from time to time. Usually it's because we forget that we don't live in a vacuum. Mr. Wonderful Donor is a card carrying member of Possums Unlimited. He had a pet opossum as a child and it remains one of the formative experiences of his life. Mr. Wonderful Donor, who happens to be a Facebook friend of yours, sees your recipe for Roast Possum with Honey-Glazed Turnips on your timeline. Remembering all those times with "Miss Kitty," you are newly unfriended by Mr. Wonderful Donor and now cut out of not only his annual giving, but his will too.

While this example is a bit far-fetched--I mean who eats possum anymore?--it illustrates the danger of "revealing the wrong types of things" to a public full of potential donors.

Social Media has been a game-changer for fundraisers. It offers a chance to get to know donors on a deeper level than we might otherwise. I use it all the time for fundraising. The message feature on Facebook allows me to have instant access for setting appointments with or even making basic asks of donors. And they have similar access to me, which is great! Linked In messaging allows me to get to decision-makers at many corporate partners.

This access comes with a price, though.

I don't post anything remotely political on any of my social media. I even refrained from liking pages of politicians that I respect. Hot button issues don't get a whisper on my pages. I shut down conversations of this nature on my pages that bubble up from well-meaning friends. The stakes are too high.

If you publicly support A, you alienate B and risk losing your "good guy" status from Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful Donor. In this era of hyper-sensitivity and stifling competition for the charitable dollar, one wrong move can sink you with a donor.

So think before you post, "Will this content cause anyone to think less of me or the cause that I represent?"

Keep it positive. We don't live in a vacuum.

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