For some time, we had watched a surprisingly small number of nonprofits use Facebook advertising to effectively spread their message and build their community of supporters. This made us wonder what would happen if a broader community of nonprofits had access to these tools.
Thanks to support from Facebook, ActionSprout launched a campaign to give 2,000 nonprofits the resources to experiment with Facebook advertising for three months.
During the first month of the project, we saw many amazing stories, but one story really stood out and touched our hearts.
Sally Baker Williams from the Humane Society of the Ozarksreceived a call from a nearby shelter about a found lost dog.
“After receiving the call and an email with [the dog’s] photo from the nearby shelter, I searched for the dog/family in our data management software via the chip number, but was unsuccessful in locating him. The original microchip was from my organization, but it had not been registered and there were no adoption records due to some problems with record keeping a few years back. I was able to narrow down the time frame via the chip number, but still unable to locate any old records. That is when I decided to turn to social media.”
With the help of her Facebook ad credits and some funding from a local full-service sign company, Williams used her ads account to spin up a boosted post in the hopes of reaching the dog’s family.
She set up a targeted audience that ranged in age from 18‒65, with an overlapping distance radius to cover the four-county area that they served.
She set a budget of $175.00 over a seven-day span for the ad, and hit go.
“Within just a few hours, the post had reached over 5,000 people and we had located the owner! We only spent $2.81 of the budget.”
Let’s reflect on that for a moment.
Williams was able to use Facebook ads and find a lost dog’s family in just a matter of hours. For as little as $2.81, she had reached over 5,000 people and reunited a dog with his family.
Everyone involved got to go home that day with a happy ending.
What makes this even more amazing is the fact that Williams and the Humane Society of the Ozarks had very little past experience with Facebook advertising prior to this:
“We did our first trial Facebook ad in November 2014 for an event. I think it garnered some interest, but it was very much a beginner’s first effort. I [had] made a couple of attempts at running Facebook ads around four years ago, but quickly felt overwhelmed in trying to figure out how to successfully do it.”* The Facebook ad credits have given Williams and the Humane Society of the Ozarks the opportunity and resources to revisit Facebook advertising in a powerful way:
“Our experience [with the Facebook ad credits] has been overwhelmingly positive! The ad I ran for year-end giving had good responses [and] an ad for an elderly dog looking for a home was widely shared and he was adopted. Some other dogs were promoted and found homes swiftly. We also have a membership drive ad running right now that is doing excellent and we have new memberships coming in! I would like to sincerely express my gratitude for this program. I am learning with each ad I create, the ads are effective, and I am obtaining statistics I can present to my board of directors in order to adjust our budget to accommodate future ads.” Overall, ActionSprout has been humbled by the experience of this project. We’re only a month and a half into the ad credits project, and look forward to receiving more success stories like this.