Report from the institute says charities rely increasingly on such media to secure donations
Social media is becoming an essential part of charity fundraising, according to a paper from the Institute for Philanthropy.
Philanthropy and Social Media gives advice to charities and funders on how to use social media for activities including fundraising, connecting with supporters and delivering their services.
It says social media is beoming increasingly important in driving donations. "There are organisations, groups and individuals who are using these tools to great effect," the report says. "Some have completely revolutionised their work by using social media.
"Social media campaigns can direct existing supporters to online and mobile giving portals, or encourage people to donate via text."
But it warns charities to make sure they show people exactly how they can donate once a relationship has been built with them. "Every barrier means money lost, so the path from conversation to donation must be as smooth and intuitive as possible," it says.
The paper argues that social media can help charities feed information from the front line to supporters, share knowledge with communities and other organisations, reach isolated groups and provide charities with feedback.
"Service providers should already be taking advantage of the opportunities to hear feedback from their beneficiaries provided by digital tools, and at the very least should not be ignoring conversations that are already taking place," it says.
Social media can be particularly useful to smaller charities because of the low costs involved, according to the report.
"Online models provide more cost-effective ways to reach scale because, unlike offline interactions, the costs of inputs are not directly related to the potential number of people you can reach," it says.