February 26, 2019
Many of you would say, “Sign me up!”
When Facebook announced in November that its nonprofit fundraising tools had helped qualified nonprofits in 19 countries raise more than a billion dollars, it asked two nonprofits to talk about the results they’d gotten through Facebook fundraising. Boy, were they happy to share.
Through Facebook fundraising, No Kid Hungry raised $5 million in two years from about 200,000 donors. The ASPCA raised $4.4 million from about 170,000 people. In each of these cases, the average gift was around $25.
Their experience illustrates the fact that small gifts pile up into impressive mounds of money. Facebook’s fundraising tools are easy to implement and inexpensive. This makes it a cost-effective means for nonprofits of all sizes to target donors, especially those who make smaller gifts. Using the social media platform is a great way to engage supporters and potential donors. Few platforms have Facebook’s 1 billion user reach.
How to fundraise on Facebook
The Facebook platform also has multiple approaches to nonprofit fundraising, and it keeps adding new options. The most recent is Facebook Birthday fundraisers. By using all the fundraising options or Fundraising apps Facebook offers, a nonprofit can magnify its fundraising efforts.
U.S. nonprofits that are 501(c)(3) organizations, registered with the IRS, have a tax ID number and a bank account with a licensed financial services institution qualify to use Facebook fundraising. Requirements differ for nonprofits in the other 16 countries that can use Facebook fundraising.
- Easy-to-add donate buttons
Facebook’s fundraising tools allow you to add Donate buttons all over the place–on your Facebook page, on posts, on your Facebook ads. These buttons are valuable reminders, and they also make it easy to donate. When donors click on the donate button, they simply designate the amount they will give and add their credit card information. A second click finalizes the transaction. The upside to having your donors stay within the Facebook system to give is the simplicity and ease of the transaction. The downside is that you don’t get information about the donor, beyond their name and email address. You can set up your page so that donors are shifted over to your website where they will fill out your donation form, but you might want to weigh those advantages versus the ease of donating through the Facebook platform.
- Create a fundraiser
The more people you have out there raising money for you, the better, right? Facebook’s popular Birthday Fundraisers allows your supporters to create a fundraiser. In August 2018, a year after Facebook fundraising added this option, it reported that birthday fundraisers had raised $300 million. Creating a fundraiser is an alternative to buying gifts, a way for the person who has everything or wants nothing to give others a different way to help them celebrate a special occasion. Using their Facebook account, they can easily set up a birthday fundraiser, inviting their friends and families to make a donation to a qualified charity in their honor. A good way to get the ball rolling might be to ask your board chair or several board members to do a birthday fundraiser to benefit your organization. When your leaders take the first step, others tend to follow. And even though they are called Birthday Fundraisers, they can be used for other events like an anniversary or retirement, or even a memorial gift.
- Facebook pledges to match gifts
Another way Facebook fundraising pays off is through matching gifts made by Facebook in partnership with PayPal. Last year, the two companies matched the first $7 million of the $125 million donated on #GivingTuesday.
- Facebook ads boost your message
Facebook ads are the most complex aspect of Facebook’s fundraising platform. They involve budgeting for and buying ads on a per click basis, developing a strategy for targeting specific audiences, designing ads and landing pages that fit those audiences and monitoring results. When done well, they are effective at boosting your message on Facebook. Many nonprofit fundraising efforts turn to a professional marketing firm for assistance so that they use Facebook ads effectively.
So, why don’t more nonprofits try Facebook fundraising?
With all these advantages, why wouldn’t a nonprofit fundraise on Facebook? Here are three possibilities.
“Facebook will take a percentage of what we raise.”
Facebook does not take a percentage of donations that your organization raises by using Facebook’s tools. The only fees it charges are when you choose to boost your fundraising posts using Facebook ads.
“We don’t have time to set up Facebook fundraising.”
Do you have 30 minutes? That’s plenty of time to set it up. If your organization has a Facebook page, it requires only a few tweaks to turn on the Fundraising tools.
“We don’t have time to post updates and messages tied to our fundraising and develop, design and manage Facebook ads.”
After the Facebook fundraising tools are set, it is up to your organization to consistently remind Facebook followers that your organization needs their support.
This is an area where it may be wise to hire an expert to assist. To be most effective, Facebook fundraising requires targeted messages that are varied and engaging. You will need videos, testimonials, invites for fundraising events, pushes for particular fundraising projects.
Professional firms, like ours, can make your Facebook fundraising efforts more fruitful by creating posts, developing a content calendar, as well as designing and managing Facebook advertising. Facebook continues to tweak its Fundraising options, mainly adding more features that will aid charitable organizations. It can be hard to keep up with all its new features and modifications, another reason it can be advantageous to hire a social media marketing expert to assist with your Facebook fundraising efforts.
If you have any additional questions on how to fundraise on Facebook or want help in any of these areas, we would be happy to help with your general or Facebook fundraising needs!
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