In March of 2021, Facebook announced that people had raised more than $5 billion through its donation tools since its launch in 2016. While non-profit fundraising has been possible since the donation tool's inception, donations did not begin to take off until the launch of the birthday fundraiser tool in late 2017.
The popularity of this tool shows the power that peer-to-peer fundraising has on social media. Beyond the raw numbers, when you consider that more than 2.7 billion users engage on Facebook each month, you can see why nonprofits would be curious about leveraging this fundraising channel more effectively.
The goal of fundraising through social media should be twofold. Your first goal is to find new potential followers and begin the process of introducing them to your organization. The second objective is to foster engagement among people who already follow your cause and invite them to become initial or recurring donors for your organization.
Otherwise, you may just get a check in the mail from Network For Good, a channel that processes payments for non-profits in the United States. While the donation is nice, you won’t know why you got it or who gave removing your ability to start building a relationship with them. From there, it’s imperative to continue a single donation’s momentum and builds donor retention.
The next step is to identify the people in your file who are best-suited to lead a campaign on Facebook to fundraise for you. First, we’ll explore how to find them, activate them, the optimal timing. Then, we will look at how to move new donors from the Facebook fundraiser into an engagement process that will grow their affinity and loyalty to your cause.
The easiest way to identify the type of influencer you are looking for is through a third-party data insight platform, like GivingDNA. GivingDNA will help you identify people in your file who rank high for their usage and influence on social media.
After creating a segment of active Facebook users, you can further filter for donors in your file who have an affinity for your cause. Once you have identified the best individuals to recruit to fundraise on Facebook (or other social and streaming platforms), it’s time to prepare to launch the campaign.
First, you’ll need to set up your Facebook page for fundraising. Facebook has a whole microsite dedicated to equipping charitable organizations with tools and resources for raising money on their platform.
Next, you will want to make sure that your website is ready for new visitors. Most people will check to see where their money is going, even if they are willing to support their friend/your champion in anything. Beyond the small messaging you can have the influencer post, your website will likely be the first thing a prospective new donor will see. GoodUnited suggests five ways that you should prepare for this eventuality:
Once your site is optimized, you need to make it easy for your social media influencers to share your campaign. Provide your constituents with assets (such as images, suggested post copy, campaign hashtags, etc. plus instructions for creating the Facebook fundraiser. Not only will this retain the branding and messaging you have developed, but it will make the appeal feel more official and legitimate.
Lastly, it’s critical to get the timing and occasion before reaching out to your social influencers. While you could start a new campaign every month, there would likely be diminishing returns after the first event. Depending on the mission, the best times are:
For example, if your influencer is a cancer survivor and your organization is helping to find a cure for cancer, their remission date is an appealing anniversary. This type of appeal is powerful, the ethos is strong, and the campaign will be successful.
Having the ability to know what your donors care about and why they likely engaged with you in the first place will enable you to personalize your outreach. Tools like the GivingDNA Platform make creating targeted donor segments easy and affordable.
After your social media influencers have launched a fundraiser on your behalf to their network, you’ll need a plan for what to do with the newly acquired names to your file. While there are no transaction fees for the Facebook giving tools, you do lose out on information. Typically, Facebook only provides the first and last name of the donor and their email address. While this is valuable information because you can email them, there is not enough information to justify spending an extensive amount of time building that connection--yet.
Third-party data tools need more than an email address to match that donor record to more potential data points. For that, you’ll need a physical address as well.
With the physical address, third-party insight platforms can use this information to gain a wealth of valuable information beyond what you have imported.
Beyond that, the essential thing to differentiate is who gives to a Facebook fundraiser because they want to support a family member versus who donates because they are sympathetic to (and give to) other charitable organizations like yours. This difference will help you narrow down your efforts with those new to your file, giving you a better idea of who to engage and what messages will resonate with them.
Facebook fundraisers are a powerful avenue of acquiring new donors, but you need the right tools to identify the right people. If you still have any questions about fundraising on social media, https://www.goodunited.io/ is a great resource. Get in touch!
About the Author:
Rebecca Segovia, Executive Vice President GivingDNA Platform
With over two decades of leadership experience spanning the disciplines of marketing, fundraising, and technology, Rebecca “Becca” Segovia is a seasoned fundraising executive with a strong vision and passion to help nonprofits reach more donors and raise more dollars to further their mission. At Pursuant, Becca is a creative leader providing guidance across client services, marketing and sales to help nonprofit organizations achieve breakthrough results. She has a special affinity for omni-channel and relationship-based fundraising strategies aimed at increasing donor lifetime value and nonprofit health.