The FrontStream Philanthropy Solutions Conference in Toronto is quickly approaching! One of the speakers we’re most excited to hear from on March 10th is Jason Shim, Digital Marketing Manager at Pathways to Education Canada. Jason is an expert on social and mobile marketing for nonprofits, and gave us a preview of some of his insights on using the right tools to reach younger supporters and donors.

Pathways results

What are some of the major trends that have evolved in marketing and social media over the past couple years?

I remember giving a presentation several years ago and mentioning mobile was the next big thing. At the time, many people in the audience were skeptical because they couldn’t imagine it, but I think now everyone is seeing the power and development of mobile in such a short period of time. I believe the next big step is finance and mobile payments – simply going into a store and tapping your phone to pay. I think we will see a rapid change in the way we use our phones to pay in stores, and I think this is a great way for nonprofits to get involved and really engage their supporters in the mobile space.

Regarding social media, there is a greater focus on analytics. I think successful nonprofits are looking at their data with a critical eye to spot trends, patterns, or opportunities. Social media companies are working to make this information more readily available, accessible and affordable for everyone. I think the more challenging part is the education and expertise part. People are forced to learn very quickly how to grasp these tools and learn how to use them, all while still finding ways to make them effective. Once you see what is being viewed, and who is engaging with what, you can decide what needs to be changed or how to be more effective on your different social media platforms.

What are some ways charities can help motivate a younger generation of donors to contribute to their charity?

Sometimes, it’s as simple as making it easier to get involved. Take the time to see how long the registration or donation process is. It should not be a long process, and it should include the most relevant information only.

Another important feature is making sure you have an easy way to share what your charity is doing, and the progress or impact. Having the “Share” button available and easy to use is essential for the younger generation. Try to stay in front of the social curve, try to use the data that is available effectively, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Everything was once new and foreign to us, and now we just need to take chances and find where the most donors are to engage with.

What are your most favored, or most used, social media platforms?

I still use Facebook and Twitter as my primary channels. Both continue to evolve, and that seems to be the reason they manage to continually stay on top. They are easy to use and do a great job at keeping people involved. But there are some other platforms that are taking off, and one people should keep an eye on is Snapchat.

I also think SMS is underrated. I don’t mean just blasting out SMS messages; I mean actually engaging an audience. Nonprofits should take advantage of picture messaging via SMS, and I think there can be some great opportunities there. Building on the idea of sharing pictures, Instagram is a great way for charities to inform people of their cause – making it memorable and impactful.

LinkedIn also doesn’t get nearly enough attention. It is a great way to get groups of supporters together and professionals involved, as well as an alumni network. All these groups support the same cause, and the impact LinkedIn is capable of should not be over overlooked.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what attendees can expect to see at #FSConTO from your session?

Viewers can expect an innovative and forward-looking session. I like to keep up with technology trends and I want to give people an overview of where we are now, but focusing on where we will be going with our tools. I would like help other nonprofits foresee trends and make sure they engage their supporters effectively.

If you’re intrigued by Jason’s insights, you won’t want to miss the sessions from him and so many more fundraising and technology experts at #FSConTO, March 10th at MaRS in Toronto!

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