Social Media Has Growing Impact on Nonprofit Event Fundraising

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New research from Blackbaud and Charity Dynamics of 1750 events with nearly 1 million participants finds that nonprofits can greatly increase awareness and support by providing social media tools to event participants.

The popularity of social media websites like Facebook®, Twitter®, and YouTube® has given rise to promising new ways for event participants to raise money online

Social media continues to drive new levels of success for nonprofit event fundraising, according to a recent Blackbaud, Inc. (Nasdaq: BLKB) and Charity Dynamics research project.

“The popularity of social media websites like Facebook®, Twitter®, and YouTube® has given rise to promising new ways for event participants to raise money online,” said Mark Davis, co-author of Making Event Participants More Successful with Social Media Tools and Blackbaud’s director of technical solutions. “While some people still doubt the fundraising potential of these tools, special event participants continue to be an exception and have shown strong fundraising success by tapping into the power of social networking.”

The new research paper from Blackbaud and Charity Dynamics provides an in-depth look at the growing impact of social media tools on peer-to-peer fundraising and how event participants are using these online tools to more effectively support nonprofits. As part of the research project, the team analyzed data from 1,750 events that provided social media tools to nearly 1 million participants during 2009.

“In all cases, our research found that event participants who used social media tools set higher fundraising goals, reached more donors and raised more money,” said Donna Wilkins, co-author of the paper and president of Charity Dynamics. “Additionally, we found that participants who achieved the strongest fundraising success were those that combined multiple social media tools.”

Blackbaud and Charity Dynamics uncovered the following trends in their research:

  •     Event participants that adopted integrated social media tools increased their fundraising by as much as 40 percent compared to their peers who weren’t using the available online tools.
  •     Participants who used Twitter raised more money and reached more donors than non-Twitter users, tripled their personal fundraising goals and raised nearly 10 times more online.
  •     Fundraising via Facebook has evolved in both process and success from user initiated to organization-prompted to sophisticated Facebook applications that automate status updates by prompting participants throughout event campaigns.
  •     YouTube users performed the strongest offline compared to participants who were using other social media tools and are more likely to balance their use of both online and offline channels to tell their stories and conduct fundraising activities.
  •     Donors attracted through social media are more likely new to an organization. On average, 75 percent of donors through social media are new to organizations versus an average of 50 percent of all donors in support of participants.

Visit or to download the research paper, which also provides best practices to ensure participant adoption, and to register for the March 31 web seminar, Getting the Most Bang for your Social Media Buck.

To help nonprofits leverage social media tools for event fundraising success, Blackbaud offers a Social Media Toolkit to help event fundraisers synch their social media accounts with their Friends Asking Friends® Participant Headquarters. In addition, Charity Dynamics’ Boundless Fundraising Facebook application allows organizations and their participants to seamlessly integrate their online fundraising efforts with Facebook®. More than $10 million was raised by Boundless Fundraising in 2009.

About Charity Dynamics
Charity Dynamics provides strategic services and comprehensive online solutions for nonprofit organizations. The company empowers organizations of all sizes to successfully integrate social media channels into communication, fundraising, and grassroots advocacy campaigns. Charity Dynamics provides strategic consulting, campaign planning, and implementation services to complement organizations’ in house capabilities. For more information, visit

About Blackbaud
Blackbaud is the leading global provider of software and services designed specifically for nonprofit organizations, enabling them to improve operational efficiency, build strong relationships, and raise more money to support their missions. Approximately 22,000 organizations — including University of Arizona Foundation, American Red Cross, Cancer Research UK, The Taft School, Lincoln Center, In Touch Ministries, Tulsa Community Foundation, Ursinus College, Earthjustice, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the WGBH Educational Foundation — use one or more Blackbaud products and services for fundraising, constituent relationship management, financial management, website management, direct marketing, education administration, ticketing, business intelligence, prospect research, consulting, and analytics. Since 1981, Blackbaud’s sole focus and expertise has been partnering with nonprofits and providing them the solutions they need to make a difference in their local communities and worldwide. Headquartered in the United States, Blackbaud also has operations in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:
Melanie Mathos
Blackbaud, Inc.
843.216.6200 x3307
melanie.mathos (at) blackbaud (dot) com

Thomas Aitchison
Charity Dynamics
thomas.aitchison (at) charitydynamics (dot) com
Source: Blackbaud

Forward-looking Statements
Except for historical information, all of the statements, expectations, and assumptions contained in this news release are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Although Blackbaud attempts to be accurate in making these forward-looking statements, it is possible that future circumstances might differ from the assumptions on which such statements are based. In addition, other important factors that could cause results to differ materially include the following: general economic risks; uncertainty regarding increased business and renewals from existing customers; continued success in sales growth; management of integration of acquired companies and other risks associated with acquisitions; risks associated with successful implementation of multiple integrated software products; the ability to attract and retain key personnel; risks related to our dividend policy and share repurchase program, including potential limitations on our ability to grow and the possibility that we might discontinue payment of dividends; risks relating to restrictions imposed by the credit facility; risks associated with management of growth; lengthy sales and implementation cycles, particularly in larger organization; technological changes that make our products and services less competitive; and the other risk factors set forth from time to time in the SEC filings for Blackbaud, copies of which are available free of charge at the SEC’s website at or upon request from Blackbaud's investor relations department. All Blackbaud product names appearing herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blackbaud, Inc.


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