National MS Society Raises a Whopping $4.3 Million Through Social Media

According to a recent survey in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, only half of the 150 charities surveyed were generating any revenue from social media. Bucking the trend was the National MS Society, which raised an impressive $4.3 Million in 2010, directly through social media.

We all know that social media is vital in today’s marketing world, but how do you achieve similar results for your business or non-profit?

During the last few years large corporations jumped on the social media bandwagon, but more small businesses and non-profits are recognizing the benefits of a fully-engaged social media presence. With so many organizations struggling to fully utilize platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for fundraising, you might be wondering, “How did they do it?.

Reason 1: They sought professional help. The society spent $50,000 on a social media consultant that mapped out a strategy and trained internal staff on the dos and don’ts of social media. They also sought the advice of internal stakeholders. The MS Society successfully raised a staggering $4.3 million using social media. On Wall Street, that’s what they call tenfold, or 1,000%, ROI. (Madison + Main Chief Idea Officer Dave Saunders sits on the NMSS Goal Steering Team and is a board member for the Central Virginia Chapter.)

Reason 2: They spent $. The Society spent money on Facebook ads to help with their “organic” efforts. Local chapters spent money on Facebook to promote events and the organization landed a $120,000 grant through Google. Yes, 501(c)(3) non-profits can apply directly to Google for “free” advertising.

Reason 3: They hired full-time staff. The Chronicle says the Society has 1.5 full-time employees dedicated to social media. They were able to raise more than $4 million in 2010 through social media with only 1.5 full-time employees devoted to that task.

Not all non-profits are going to see the outstanding results that the National M.S. Society obtained, but it is necessary to be well-versed in social media platforms and to follow some of the same strategies.

How is your organization using social media? Please share with us your success or challenges in the comments.