Posted , by Nancy Chapman. Topic: Fundraising.

In our effort to help nonprofits incorporate social media into their fundraising programs, last Thursday three of us Curtis Group staffers attended a Chronicle of Philanthropy webinar on the topic.

First, we learned that because social media campaigns are still so new, determining the best way to use them is more art than science, as we suspected. Second, social networking by the age 50-plus population, a valuable demographic for fundraisers, jumped from 22 percent in 2008 to 42 percent in 2009, and is probably much higher than that by now.

Then, spokespersons for four nonprofits each recounted their successful “experiments,” as they called them, to raise awareness and money using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and YouTube. Amounts raised ranged from $4,000 to $25,000. Finally, Peter Panepento, an assistant managing editor for the Chronicle, closed the training by outlining steps to achieving success with social-media campaigns.

“Focus on building strong relationships by engaging in conversations” is one critical step. Another: “Hook it to something you already do.” And remember that “fundraising should be A goal, not THE goal” of your social-media campaign.

In the coming months, look for much more from us on social media as it relates to fundraising. In the meantime, we’d love to learn about any social-media endeavors you’ve undertaken. And if you have questions you’d like us to research, feel free to post those here, too.

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