Facebook fundraiser: How it works and 5 tips to raise more money
When it comes to online fundraising, there’s one social media platform that’s too big to ignore: Facebook. Roughly seven in 10 U.S. adults use Facebook — that’s 190 million potential donors, volunteers, and supporters for your nonprofit. And this is just a drop in the bucket compared to the nearly 3 billion active Facebook users worldwide.
Although these numbers tell an exciting story, nonprofit organizations have had a love/hate relationship with Facebook fundraising. On one hand, Facebook fundraisers are easy for you and your supporters to launch and largely fee-free. Campaigns can reach a wider audience (it is a social network, after all) and get a donation boost thanks to social proof. Facebook birthday fundraisers have also been a huge hit with users.
On the other hand, nonprofits lose out on key donor information, like email addresses, when people give on Facebook. Unless donors opt-in, you’re limited in your ability to welcome donors to your cause and thank them directly for their gift — primary ways that nonprofit orgs build relationships and keep their supporters.
So, how do you make Facebook fundraisers work for your organization? Discover a few different options to fundraise on Facebook and five quick tips for overall success.
Fundraising with Facebook: 3 ways to get started
Over the years, Facebook has unveiled a variety of free fundraising tools, both for charitable organizations and individuals raising funds for a personal cause. Here’s a rundown of the three major options.
Facebook donate button 💸
You can add a Facebook Donate button to your organization’s page, posts, paid ads, or live video. It’s a convenient way for supporters to contribute without having to leave Facebook or create an account elsewhere.
When supporters fundraise on your behalf, the donate button appears on their page too. Givers also have the option of linking their credit card or payment information to their Facebook account, so they can donate securely with a few clicks.
To activate donations, you’ll need to sign up for Facebook Payments. This is only available to U.S.-based 501(c)(3) charitable organizations verified by the IRS. You’ll need to have a tax ID number and a bank account that’s registered with a licensed financial institution.
Facebook fundraisers 📣
Next up is the bread and butter of all Facebook fundraising. A whopping 97% of all Facebook revenue is donated through the peer-to-peer Facebook Fundraisers tool, according to the 2020 M+R Benchmarks Study.
With Facebook Fundraisers, you and your supporters can create a dedicated Facebook page to raise money toward your cause. Like a typical page, it’s simple to add a compelling cover photo, description, posts, and links. You can also set a fundraising goal, celebrate milestones, and match donations.
The highlight of this tool is the Supporter Fundraiser. Anyone (aged 18 or older) can spin up personal fundraisers on behalf of your nonprofit for their birthday, special occasion, or just because. This opens the door to stress-free crowdfunding.
Like the Facebook donate button, you need to be a verified 501(c)(3) nonprofit to activate Facebook Fundraisers.
Your online fundraising platform 💻
Now that we’ve examined Facebook’s main fundraising features, we’ve got to address the elephant in the room. There are a few issues with fundraising directly through Facebook:
- There’s a lack of donor data: Facebook doesn’t share donor information unless donors opt in, and few do. Many nonprofits struggle to find out who donated and follow up effectively. You’ll have to take time to send donors direct messages asking for their information and manually add details to your CRM.
- There are payment delays: Facebook Payments are paid out biweekly based on when each donation comes in. If your nonprofit has a sudden need for funds, like a budget shortfall or request for disaster relief, you’ll be in a pinch.
- There’s growing public distrust: Between privacy concerns, “fake news,” and data breaches, public perception of Facebook is a rollercoaster to say the least. If users don’t trust Facebook, they’ll be wary of entering their payment details to donate. There’s a risk of losing donors with each scandal.
The good news? Top-notch fundraising platforms (like Givebutter) integrate with Facebook, so you get all the benefits of social media fundraising and none of the drawbacks. You can share your campaigns and promote events on Facebook, while collecting donor data and enjoying instant payouts of your funds.
5 tips to raise more money with your Facebook fundraisers
No nonprofit wants to leave money on the table. If you’re thinking of adding Facebook to your fundraising strategy, read these 5 tips to get the most out of every campaign.
1. Build a passionate community
Before you start requesting donations and popping up on people’s News Feeds, you need to develop an active, engaged Facebook community. It’ll be a challenge to get a successful Supporter Fundraiser going, for example, if you don’t have many loyal followers.
So, take a look at your current nonprofit page. Do people respond positively to your posts? Which users engage with your posts the most? Which posts perform the best? Your answers should build the foundation of your strategy.
Need to get your follower count up? Start by asking current supporters to recruit people in their inner circle. You can also try targeted Facebook advertising to build up your supporter base, or reach out to social media influencers in your sector. Don’t forget member appreciation posts and other donor stewardship techniques.
2. Stand out in their News Feed
The Facebook News Feed is a noisy, crowded place! We can’t overstate the importance of sharing unique content and regular updates to stand out. First, aim to strike the balance between relevant, interesting posts and promotional information. A helpful starting point is the 70-20-10 rule used in sales:
- 70% of the time: Post content that builds your nonprofit brand, spurs interest in your cause, and informs or excites your audience.
- 20% of the time: Share content from other sources, like educational institutions, other nonprofit organizations, and positive testimonials.
- 10% of the time: Share promotional content, like ticket and merchandise sales, or requests to join your monthly giving program.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule — the goal is simply to avoid overwhelming your supporters with asks. Instead, get creative and use different mediums to promote your cause and give each post a personal touch.
3. Coach your supporters through personal fundraisers
It’s tempting to think of peer-to-peer fundraising as a hands-off strategy. After all, your supporters are the ones who launch their fundraising page, determine their own fundraising goal, and encourage their Facebook friends to give, right? This is technically true, but you’ll see even more success if you coach your fundraisers first.
The reality is that most of your supporters will be nervous and inexperienced fundraisers. They may not know how to motivate people, or they may worry about bombarding their friends with posts. And they could be discouraged from fundraising again if they only raise $125 of their $500 goal.
You can head this off at the pass by creating a step-by-step guide for your peer-to-peer fundraisers. Give them a fundraising script to tell their story, goal amount suggestions, and tips on posting and sharing. Also, include answers to FAQs, like “What is this money going toward?” or “Is my charitable contribution tax deductible?”
4. Create a thorough follow-up strategy
Like we mentioned earlier, if you raise money directly through Facebook, you’ll need a strategy to thank donors and get contact information so you can steward their next gift. One option is to individually message each donor via Facebook. Share your thanks and request their email information, or provide a link where they can sign up for your email list.
Another option is to share a broad appreciation post after the campaign is over. You could tag each donor in the post, share an image with a list of donor names (if they’re provided), or even create personalized thank-you videos for your major givers. No matter what, have a plan for how you’ll show your gratitude and hold onto these donors for the long haul.
As a reminder, you can skip the hassle! When you create your free Givebutter account, you get access to 70+ fundraising features, including a simplified donor database, one-click Facebook sharing, automatic thank-you notes, and more.
5. Go all in on Giving Tuesday
According to the 2020 M+R Benchmarks Study, November and December together accounted for 26% of all Facebook revenue. This is in part due to Giving Tuesday, a global day of generosity held the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving (and spending-heavy Black Friday and Cyber Monday).
To give you a sense of scale, Giving Tuesday fundraisers in 2019 raised over $2 billion in donations and drove a further 20 billion social media impressions. This major jump in Facebook donations every year is the perfect opportunity to test different campaign approaches and see what resonates most with donors.