In Friends with Money, our free guide to fundraising on social media, we feature four charities that have achieved fundraising success by harnessing social media as a set of tools to help facilitate the fundraising process.

One of these case studies in particular, Child’s i Foundation, provides a perfect example of how, by cultivating meaningful relationships with supporters on social media you can aid the whole fundraising process. They have built an army of donors and volunteers whose efforts are central to what the charity has been able to accomplish.

Child’s i Foundation

Child’s i Foundation is a small UK charity that works to reunite abandoned children in Uganda with their families or place them in adoptive homes instead of orphanages. Since 2009, they have found homes for over 140 children, provided ongoing support to families, promoted domestic adoption and influenced systemic change.

Kirsty Stephenson, digital strategist and project planner for Child’s i, says that social media has been integral to their fundraising process since the very beginning. As she puts it: “we are unashamed storytellers who believe anyone is a potential donor or supporter, as long as the charity’s story resonates with them.”

Child’s i has mastered the art of storytelling on social media, creating engaging content that brings its followers along on its journey. They use YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest to post videos and photos about the people they help, the work they do and the growth of their community over time.

On Facebook and Twitter, they share news of babies’ progress, from tracing their families or finding adoptive ones to how family bonding is progressing after resettlement. These stories inspire the thoughts and well wishes of their supporters, which Child’s i make an effort to listen and respond to. This strong, engaging content provides a window into the charity’s world and creates a bridge between their work in Uganda and supporters elsewhere.

Like personal friends

The people at Child’s i make sure they know who their donors are by listening and responding to their audience on social media. They take the time to talk directly to those who give their support, and are always on the lookout for new people they can engage with. “We tend to leverage the support of those who have heard about our cause from a friend or acquaintance when we recognise their interest,” says Kirsty.

Interacting with supporters pays off – 60% of Child’s i supporters have been with the project since 2009. And these relationships are crucial when it’s time to make fundraising asks – last year, Child’s i Foundation raised over £340,000.

Why it works

Transparency between charities and their supporters has never been more important – 63% of people who give to charities today say they want to know exactly where their money will go. The people at Child’s i use the accessible nature of social media to be open and honest about what they do, how they work and the difference they make.

They also tell engaging, real-life stories that allow their supporters to see how giving their time or money will directly influence the charity’s work.

“Child’s i think audience and story first, and that’s the secret of their success,” says Zoe Amar, director of Zoe Amar Communications. “They use social media very effectively as a storytelling tool, telling the children’s stories simply, clearly, respectfully, and honestly. They also have compelling and tangible calls to action.”

Three Lessons

By building your social media audience and engaging with the people who follow you, you will inherently cultivate donors and doers. Here are three key lessons in nurturing relationships on social media:

Take supporters on your journey

Be “unashamed storytellers,” because being transparent helps people feel close and connected to you. Invite them into your world by sharing photos, videos and blogs that tell your story.

Embrace friends of friends

Leverage the connections your existing donors have naturally, whether you find them through Facebook, promotion or just by listening well. When someone shows interest, engage them in your mission and welcome them in.

Get to know your donors

Listen, treat them like old friends and respond to their needs and ambitions. Show them what their gifts have enabled you to accomplish and how they are part of the change you’re making.

To read more about Child’s i Foundation, as well as more case studies, tips and interviews with the experts on social media fundraising, download our free guide.

Carlos Miranda is founder of Social Misfits Media and Alissa Steiner is a digital marketing officer at Turn2Us

For more news, opinions and ideas about the voluntary sector, join our community – it’s free!

The charity money hub is funded by CAF. All content is editorially independent except for pieces labelled advertisement feature. Find out more here.


Carlos Miranda and Alissa Steiner

The GuardianTramp

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