Facebook Fundraiser Feature

Aligning Your Digital Fundraising Strategy Across Platforms

July 13, 2021
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This guest post was contributed by Donately.

With the rise of advanced fundraising technology and the current necessity of virtual interactions, your nonprofit has likely experienced a boom in its online fundraising pursuits. At this point, you might be juggling a few different aspects of your virtual fundraising strategy at once. You may have Facebook Challenges and other peer-to-peer campaigns going on your behalf, an online donation page for supporters to give directly to your cause, and several marketing avenues to promote these opportunities. 

Since your organization has multiple online fundraising campaigns happening at any given time, it’s vital to align your digital strategy so each campaign is cohesive with your overall mission. 

Each element of your digital strategy can enhance others so that no matter how supporters encounter your organization online, they’ll be presented with a polished platform and unified message. Here are four top strategies to ensure your digital fundraising campaign is cohesive across all online platforms: 

  1. Align branding across platforms.
  2. Create a user style guide.  
  3. Construct compelling written appeals.
  4. Standardize the process for thank-you messages.

Keep in mind that each online fundraising outlet has its own strengths and reaches different audiences. By optimizing your strategy across all digital platforms, you can maximize your overall digital fundraising results. 

For instance, here at Donately, we’ve seen organizations have the most success by coupling their digital fundraising tools like their custom donation forms and mobile-responsive giving platforms with the power of social giving. We’ve taken note of various organizations’ creative strategies that have helped them stand out online, so let’s take a closer look at each tip!

1. Align branding across platforms.

From social media to your organization’s website, there are many different ways supporters encounter your nonprofit online. In addition to Facebook Challenges and online donation forms, you may even have campaigns going on other devices such as a text-to-give mobile campaign.

No matter how many virtual fundraising platforms your organization pursues, you can still create an overarching strategy that provides a game plan for fundraising efforts on any platform. The first step to achieve this comprehensive strategy is to align your branding across all digital giving platforms.

All online fundraisers include some kind of images, text, and design elements that can be formatted to align with your organization’s style, brand specifications, and tone. For example, according to Donately’s guide to donation page design, your online donation platforms should use:

  • Your organization’s colors and logo. Your long-time supporters are already familiar with your organization’s color palette, so use this to your advantage by incorporating a color scheme that reflects your brand guidelines. 
  • Visuals that connect with and illustrate the purpose of your fundraisers. You probably already have access to images used in past campaigns or on your website that can be implemented in ongoing fundraising efforts to illustrate the purpose of your campaigns. For example, an organization collecting donations to help save the rainforest could include images of cute tropical animals and beautiful foliage that resonate with prospective donors. 
  • Your organization’s voice/tone. Every organization has a unique voice or tone used in communications with the world. Ensure all your online donation platforms match your nonprofit’s voice to enhance trust with supporters and boost brand recognition. 

Ensuring consistent branding across platforms reassures supporters. No matter how they first come in contact with your online materials, they will take note of your consistent and familiar branding and feel more confident that their donations are going to the right place. 

If you haven’t already, be sure to create an organization-wide style guide that provides specifications on the right fonts, colors, images, and language for your staff to use across all online fundraising platforms. 

2. Create a user style guide.

While you have full control over the branding of the fundraising materials your organization creates, you’re more limited when it comes to the Facebook fundraisers and peer-to-peer campaign pages that your supporters make.

For example, when users create a fundraiser as part of a Facebook Challenge, Facebook pre-populates the “About” section with information from your nonprofit’s page, and it automatically uploads your page’s cover photo as the photo for the fundraiser. Users can choose to upload their own photos, but most probably won’t take the time to find a different photo to use. 

Therefore, beyond ensuring that your nonprofit page’s “About” section and your cover photo are optimized, you can exert more control over your online branding by creating a simple style guide for Facebook fundraisers to follow. Here are a few top tips for creating a user guide for Facebook Challenges:

  • Create a webpage to host the images and phrases you’d like people to use in their Facebook fundraising pages for your nonprofit.
  • Upload two to three high-quality photos for supporters to use, along with a template for the fundraiser description that users can copy and paste into their own pages. 
  • Be sure to include a quick thank-you message to your supporters for taking the time to check out your fundraising style guide page. 

The lack of control over style and voice isn’t just an issue for Facebook Challenges, but any peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. Your user style guide can aid any supporter-driven fundraising efforts to empower eager advocates with the guidance they need to host more successful fundraisers on behalf of your organization. 

Make sure you share your user style guide in social media posts and email newsletters to keep your supporters in the loop and encourage them to use your convenient materials for a more impactful online fundraiser. 

Plus, the right peer-to-peer tools will allow you to create a main campaign page that your supporters can use as a template when creating their individual fundraising pages. You’ll be able to set elements like photos and descriptions. When used in conjunction with your style guide, your organization can still tell its story, while your fundraisers can add their personal connections. 

3. Construct compelling written appeals.

It’s critical to capture visitors’ attention as soon as they click on your fundraising pages with a brief, yet compelling fundraiser description. Otherwise, you risk supporters abandoning your forms. You must find a way to succinctly convey the purpose of your campaign and how donations will be used to achieve a certain goal within your nonprofit’s mission. 

One strategy to help you construct a more influential fundraiser description is to use your data to gain a better understanding of your audience. This guide to data marketing explains how this is key to fundraising success because you can use supporter information to create tailored marketing appeals that are more likely to resonate with your target audience. 

Take a look back at the data you’ve collected in past virtual peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each pursuit, and note the most successful engagement strategies. Use this information to identify the best marketing channels to engage supporters going forward, whether it’s social media, email, your website, or another avenue.

Once you’ve decided the best way to get in touch with supporters, be sure to craft a fundraiser description that is:

  • Attention-grabbing: Convey the urgency of your current fundraiser with calls to action and specific descriptions of the problem you’re looking to solve with your campaign. 
  • Moving: Appeal to your audience’s emotions by including a specific story or example of someone who your organization has helped.
  • Concise: No one wants to read a full-page essay when they’re trying to decide whether or not to give their financial support to a cause. Messages that are too long can cause visitors to abandon your donation or fundraising page altogether. 

Include this optimized fundraiser description in your style guides for both your staff and supporters. Offering a pre-drafted, captivating fundraiser description will save your staff time and make it more convenient for your supporters to add optimized descriptions to their individual fundraising pages.

4. Standardize the process for thank-you messages.

Expressing gratitude to fundraisers and donors plays a major role in stewarding them and earning their long-term support. Whether a supporter has started a peer-to-peer fundraising page on your behalf or donated via another online platform, it’s important to acknowledge supporters for their dedication to the cause. This will help generate positivity toward your organization and keep them engaged in your future fundraising efforts. However, sometimes this is easier said than done. 

For Facebook Challenges especially, it can be hard to identify donors who give to fundraisers. You must parse through the data provided in the Daily Transaction Report to gather helpful supporter information to use to thank donors. For an in-depth overview of the process of identifying and thanking Facebook donors, check out GoodUnited’s quick guide

Once you access this information, you can use it to craft personalized, authentic thank-you messages that show donors the impact of their donations. You can even invest in social fundraising solutions that allow you to automate the process!

Use this same strategy not only for Facebook fundraising but across all your online fundraising platforms to ensure every supporter is recognized and thanked.  Fundraising Letters offers donor thank-you letter templates to help craft your gratitude messages. A few specific points to keep in mind include:

  • Make it personal. Use your data to address thank-you messages with donors’ preferred names. The more you get to know your donors on a personal level, the more donors will feel connected to your organization and have a positive association with your cause. Plus, supporters can see right through generic, copy-and-pasted messages, which could leave them with a negative impression of your nonprofit. 
  • Demonstrate impact. Supporters want to know how their fundraising efforts help contribute to your organization’s work. Be sure to include specific references to how donor support has allowed your organization to help more people. 
  • Offer opportunities for recurring gifts. Provide information about how to get involved in your monthly giving program or other recurring gift opportunities to create a pathway for future engagement. 

Remember, it’s much more cost-effective to retain the support of a repeat donor than to constantly focus time and energy on soliciting gifts from new donors, and repeat donors tend to give more over time. By focusing on improving donor stewardship efforts across all online fundraising platforms, you can boost your retention rate, giving your organization a more reliable funding source for years to come. 

Ultimately, there’s no denying that each online fundraising platform has its strengths and weaknesses. 

Peer-to-peer campaigns such as Facebook Challenges can introduce your nonprofit’s mission to a vast audience of potential donors and supporters, but it can be more difficult to track supporter data on Facebook. On the other hand, other online fundraising platforms like giving pages can easily collect donor data, but may not have the same level of reach as Facebook fundraisers. But by optimizing your approach to all digital giving campaigns, you play to the strengths of each platform and standardize your fundraising strategy for all future campaigns. 

Aligning your digital fundraising strategy starts with thinking deliberately and strategically about your goals for each platform and how you’d like to engage supporters with your branding, language, and thank-you messages. The end result is more funding and awareness for your cause, making the extra effort worth it. Happy fundraising!

About the Author:

Jacob Spencer, Customer Success / Account Manager

I strive to make every step of our customer journey as enjoyable as possible. My goal is to turn everyone that trusts Donately into a raving fan! Raising funds can be daunting, but we know that with the right tools, it can and should be easy. 

Throughout my career, I've been able to help sales and success teams tackle new markets, grow and expand.  Leading with empathy, listening to actually solve problems, and remembering that we are all human are the key elements to growing any business in a meaningful way.

When I'm not working you can find me spending time with my wife, 2 boys and our Border Collie, Abbie. Family>Everything.

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