An engaged Facebook community can make all the difference in achieving your fundraising goals.
Just ask Rachael Zoe Miller and The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean! Since we first shared this case study in 2017, Miller’s fundraising efforts have gone even further above and beyond her original goals.
4/26/17 update: 8,635 backers have pledged $353,461 to further bring this project in this case study to life.
Reaching 100 percent of your fundraising goal is a pretty good feeling. But how would you feel if your organization reached 25 times that?
Rachael Zoe Miller is the co-founder and executive director of The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean. For the past year, she’s been focusing its communication strategy squarely on Facebook. Now their page has become the primary and most frequent way they connect with supporters, share information about the cause, and inspire action to help protect the world’s oceans.
In 2017, Miller launched the group’s first Kickstarter campaign in support of its new Cora Ball, which captures microfibers shed off our clothing while in the washer.
They primarily advertised the campaign through the project’s active Facebook page. But Miller had no idea just how active it really was.
Miller’s initial fundraising goal was $10,000. She thought maybe they’d reach in a couple of weeks. Imagine her surprise when she reached that goal only three hours later!
Why was this campaign so successful? Facebook. And we can prove it.
The Perfect Fundraising Jumpstart
With an already active Facebook community, this Kickstarter not only got off the ground easily—it rocketed off.
“Our awesome and enthusiastic community jumped in right at the launch! Because of their amazing and immediate response, we managed to get on Kickstarter’s popular page on that first day. From there, things started snowballing, mostly via Facebook!”
Nonprofits know that change comes from reaching the right people at the right time and with the right message. Today Facebook gives organizations an incredible opportunity to do just that and on a huge scale.
The project’s Facebook page accounted for 30 percent of the project Kickstarter traffic and monetary support.
“Facebook has been our single biggest source for pledges. I am sure it is the ease with which people could share our story that made Facebook the fastest vehicle for spreading the word about our Kickstarter.”
The fact that this fast support led to a feature on the Kickstarter page was likely the tipping point into “mainstream” awareness for the cause. As a result, NowThis featured them in a video, Martha Stewart featured the Cora Ball on her sites, and Kickstarter itself choose to feature the Cora Ball under Projects We Love and Project of the Day.
None of this would have been possible without the initial support from their Facebook community.
How Did She Do It?
A year before Cora Ball was launched on Kickstarter, Miller recognized the potential of Facebook. She knew that to be truly successful online in the way she envisioned, her organization would need a strong Facebook presence and community. That’s why she threw herself into learning as much as she could about Facebook best practices and strategies.
We asked her what helped her the most and what she’d recommend to others. Here are her top tips:
— Post content your audience loves to engage with.
If a post falls flat, learn from it! Ask yourself: Why didn’t this post take off like others?
“Our breakthrough moment came from an ActionSprout webinar when I learned that you can’t force an underperforming post to go big by boosting it,” Miller explained. “Pay attention to the analytics on Facebook and ActionSprout and use any dollars to boost posts proven to be engaging. I am sure that saved us a lot of money and helped me zero in on what our audience likes.”
— Post content consistently.
“I think consistent posting really helps build an audience and keep their engagement,” Miller told us.
We agree. Posting at least once a day is a must, and even two to three times per day is ideal. Not everyone will see every post, so this helps ensure your message gets through.
— Post when your audience is on Facebook.
Scheduling posts for times when you know a lot of your followers will be on Facebook can lead to greater organic reach and engagement. Miller used both Facebook and ActionSprout to get this information — and you can, too!
— Post related content proven to resonate with your audience.
Miller used ActionSprout’s Inspiration feature to find and share trending content about our oceans.
“ActionSprout’s data is so valuable. Being able to easily know when to post, see what’s resonating with our audience and find stories from other sources that are likely to connect with our audience has saved us so much time. It also keeps us from having to guess,” said Miller.
Sharing other’s trending articles, images, or videos can greatly increase the reach of your Facebook page.
How Can You Do It?
Give yourself plenty of time to invest in Facebook and grow your community before your next big project. You’ll need at least six months or so. Whether you have a Kickstarter coming up or a more traditional fundraising effort, having a solid Facebook community can make all the difference in getting the word out and raising those necessary funds.
As Miller says, Facebook is just so easy to share links with family and friends. And given Facebook’s nature, these links can quickly spread like wildfire to reach a lot of people.
Now is a time to focus on building relationships with your followers. Get to know what interests them, what resonates with them, and what motivates them. This will shape every piece of your Facebook strategy, from what types of content to share (image, videos, or articles), where that content comes from (Pew, Huffington Post, NOAA, etc.), the tone of your content (optimistic, angry, sad, etc.), the length of your content, and more.
It will take some time to figure out, but once you have it, you’ll be pleased with the results.
With two billion people on Facebook, you can find your tribe of supporters. Just put in the time, research, and effort to figure out what will resonate with them. Once you provide it, they’ll be there ready to chime in and lend their support.
About The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean
The Rozalia Project’s mission is straightforward: to fight to protect our oceans and keep them clean. Their ultimate goal is having thriving, healthy waters for all of us to enjoy. They accomplish this mission through education, innovation, research, hands-on work, and much more. You can learn all about the project and their good work here.
About the Cora Ball
The Cora Ball is an easy-to-use laundry ball that catches microfibers that shed off our clothes in the washer. It’s inspired by the natural design of ocean coral and its ability to effectively filter water. Cora Balls are reusable, easy to clean, and take no extra time to use.