Facebook Fundraiser Feature: The ALS Association

Ben Wise | on September 10, 2019

This month we sat down with Casey Dell Otto to discuss how Facebook Fundraisers have changed the game for The ALS Association.

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Casey Dell Otto is the Digital Fundraising Manager at The ALS Association. He focuses on telling authentic, compelling stories online and optimizing the Association’s data-driven digital strategy.

How did you come to work at your nonprofit? 

My background is in marketing and communications. I was between jobs when I saw this opportunity at the Association to manage their digital fundraising. I’d always wanted to work in the health space and I prefer to work remotely, so it seemed like a great fit. Surprisingly, it’s very similar to the communications jobs I’ve held in the past -- it’s all about telling a story and connecting with people.

While I have no personal connection to the disease, most of my colleagues do. I’ve met many people who are living with ALS or know someone who is, which has only made my job feel more meaningful.

What’s the most meaningful thing to you about your nonprofit’s mission?

ALS is a terrible disease. Most people only survive two to five years from the time of their diagnosis. It’s fatal in every case. Finding a cure for ALS is urgent for these families. 

Witnessing the effect this disease has on people and seeing how strong they are against these terrible circumstances keeps me motivated to work hard. It’s what brings meaning to the work I do each day.

Were you working there when Facebook rolled out Birthday Fundraisers?

No, I started in December of 2018.

What’s been your experience with Facebook Fundraisers?

When FB fundraisers launched it was a little boom for digital fundraising at the Association. We raised significant money, which allowed us to do incredible things in terms of research and caregiving. 

But we didn’t have a way to engage with people who were clearly passionate about the cause -- people who started a fundraiser for us without even being asked. We wanted a way to thank them and offer resources. 

Our goal was to improve the effectiveness of our fundraisers and find ways of communicating with people and getting them involved. That’s how we ended up working with GoodUnited.

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How have Facebook Fundraisers impacted your organization?

It’s been amazing to see people put their trust in us by doing a fundraiser for their birthday or other big celebration. It raises morale for us at ALS to know that so many people are investing so generously and enthusiastically in our mission and vision for a world without ALS. When I share the fundraiser data we get from GoodUnited with our team, they’re amazed and so grateful to see how many people are raising money for us. The sheer number of people fundraising and donating is humbling.

What are the most meaningful insights you’ve gotten from Facebook Fundraisers?

Facebook fundraisers work because they meet people where they already are. Instead of expecting people to Google “ALS”, come to our page, and decide to donate, we’re going to them and making it easy for them to give. Whether online or in-person, we’ve learned a lot about going to your donors instead of asking them to come find you.

What do you see as the most challenging part about Facebook Fundraisers?

The biggest challenge is figuring out how to engage this brand-new set of donors. Harnessing the available data and finding the most effective and appropriate ways to reach out have been our top priorities. We’re hopeful that Facebook will continue to refine its tools and support systems for fundraising programs like ours to make them even more effective and accessible.

How have you dealt with these challenges?

Our relationship with GoodUnited has helped optimize data cultivation, thanks to the extremely thorough reports they provide. They are immensely helpful for our development team, both in analyzing our current program and deciding what to test. Put simply, GoodUnited helps us get the most out of the Facebook platform.

The best part about GoodUnited is that we can always rely on them for support. Our customer rep there does their best to answer our questions and makes sure we have everything we need to succeed. Having a team of Facebook fundraiser experts on our side has helped us move forward and resolve issues quickly and efficiently.

Topics: Facebook Fundraiser Feature

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