You can use this tool to calculate an estimate of cost and return on investment for the recruitment and fundraising efforts of your staff in social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace. It works sort of like an online mortgage calculator. Just enter the starting assumptions in the yellow boxes below and the tool calculates results automatically.
Need some metrics guidelines? You might check out some of the online advocacy and fundraising benchmark studies. If you don't measure results strictly by fundraising -- maybe your results are based on advocacy or branding only -- you can just look at the "cost per friend" or "cost per email name" to compare with the costs of recruiting people elsewhere. You can also see how that translates into cost per action or email viewed (opened).
If you would like to see the assumptions and equations behind the magical calculations, they are available on the original Excel spreadsheet and you can download a copy here.
- Opportunity cost: what else could I have my staff or volunteers doing if they weren't spending time in social networks?
- Viral benefit of social networks: if you have a network in place, you might increase your chances of reaching a lot of people during a crisis. Some social networks are set up to enable communications with a lot of people quickly.
- Demographics: is the audience you're recruiting from the social network appropriate for your organization?
- Message control: your message is likely to get picked up by others, and to be successful, some amount of message control will likely need to be sacrificed.
- Investing in the future: Maybe the younger demographic of the social networks will be interested in your organization in the future, so it may not be a bad idea to start building awareness now.
If you think that fundraising and recruitment from social networks is the way for you to go, here are a few articles to help you get started.