Facebook fundraising

Facebook can be your most Powerful Fundraising Tool

Increasingly, Organizations are Finding Success in Facebook Fundraising

Between 2012 and 2014, social donations rose by 32%.

90% of these social donations were made through Facebook. To really put that in perspective, the next highest platform, Twitter, sits at 3% of all social donations.

[well]The obvious conclusion: Social donation is growing and Facebook is king. [/well]

These findings came from a study conducted by DonorDrive, and are really quite eye-opening.

Increasingly, users are growing more comfortable with giving on Facebook and nonprofits, are getting better at encouraging and asking for these donations.

Social media (Facebook in particular) is the new frontier of giving. If your nonprofit isn’t fundraising on Facebook, you could be losing thousands in donations every year.

Here are some pro fundraising tips that will lead to more donations and passionate, engaged supporters:

Be Audience-centric

The most important part of creating a donation action is putting your audience first. Get to know them—look for patterns and clues. What actions and issues have done well previously? Past performance is a great predictor of future success. Look at past fundraising efforts and see what worked and what didn’t. You can also use Insights or the Page Analyzer to look at your posts and find what’s working. This will give you some clues on what your audience will engage with and support.

Be Solvable

Your audience has to believe that their donation will lead to positive change; can you express that? Let potential donors know how and where their money will be used. Make them believe their money will have an impact. The better you paint this story, the more donations your cause will receive, so spend some time here.

Practice the Right Content Strategies

Whether writing in the Facebook post or on the donation landing page, these tips work in all formats:

  1. Donate for change: Your supporters, no matter how loyal they are to your organization, are really donating to effect change on an issue they care about. That should be your ask.
  2. Chip in: It’s been shown in some nonprofits tests that using the word ‘donate’ actually reduces donations. Try something like ‘chip in’ or ‘pitch in’.
  3. Motivation: Using a motivational format can help catalyze activity. Try this simple format (whether in a few sentences or few paragraphs—depending on what’s appropriate): state the problem, share the solution, and tell people how they can take action to make that solution a reality.
  4. Emotion: Can you evoke an emotional reaction that will compel your audience to donate?
  5. Urgent: You only have your supporters’ attention for a few seconds. Is there a way to convey that this donation needs to be taken right away?
  6. Looking Good: Facebook is a social space. Your action should be something they want to be seen supporting. Will taking this action make your audience look good to their friends and family?
  7. Clear: Is it relatively simple to understand this donation action?
  8. Directed: It helps if the action is directed at a specific goal, e.g. keeping open a children’s hospital, saving a local park, passing legislation, etc.
  9. Goals: Set targets for donations and outcomes achieved. Targets put perspective on your campaign. No matter how much or little someone gives, they know they are chipping away at the set goal. They can easily see that their donation had an impact.

Top Tip: Issue not organization: Keep the fundraising appeal tied to supporting an issue, not the organization. Even your most dedicated supporters ultimately care more about the issues than the organization that works on them.

Pick The Right Image

Make sure that the image is powerful and attention-grabbing, but also relates directly to your action.

  1. Consistency: Your image should be the same for both the post and the landing page.
  2. Link Post: The link post format for images is optimal because when clicked, it will take your supporters directly to the landing page. Make sure that it is 1200×627.
  3. Text: If you have the ability, add your donation ask on the image text. If you decide to run ads as well, keep the text to no more than 20% of the image.


Some organizations have found that they can raise almost as much from using an upsell strategy as from doing direct fundraising appeals. If you haven’t heard of it, an upsell is a secondary action. In other words, if you have a non-fundraising action such as pledging, the next page that the action-taker will see will be a fundraising appeal.

This upsell strategy can work well because many of your supporters who took the initial action will be the same type of people who are motivated to take a fundraising action. In fact, they might already be more committed because of the initial action.

  1. Relevant: Relate the upsell fundraising appeal as much as possible to the action or issue that the action-taker is supporting. For example, if your supporter is pledging to stop bullying, ask them to fund the effort to launch an anti-bullying campaign.

  2. Clean Transition: Make sure that the transition from the action to the fundraiser isn’t jarring. Think about elements like consistent voice, style and web address.

Don’t forget to Repost!

If you are finding a fundraising action that works, keep posting it until it’s not doing as well. Jewish Voice for Peace created 11 different posts to promote their one fundraising action, whereas the Bob Brown Foundation did three posts.

Make it Simple for Supporters to Give

38% of social donations happen from a smartphone. That means the simpler and more straightforward your donation ask is, the more likely supporters are to give. Eliminating unnecessary steps and being upfront with your ask will increase the number of mobile users who complete the donation process.

Do you have the Necessary Engagement?

There is one caveat to the strategies above. Outside of the rare exception of a serious viral moment, direct Facebook fundraising first requires a sizeable engaged community. Peter Deitz puts it like this:

“Consider engagement like an open rate. According to M+R, .07% of people who receive NGO fundraising emails donate. That means, on average, you need 10K people on your email list to receive seven donations.”

Let’s look at a successful donation action that illustrates the importance of this.

  • 2,800 people engaged with the action

  • 53 people donated

  • The average donation was $25

  • Bob Brown raised $1,300 total

This kind of response requires some serious engagement.

The lesson: You’ll need a lot of regularly engaged people in order to accomplish meaningful outcomes from social fundraising.

So if you don’t have at least a few hundred people engaging with your posts, consider putting a little more time into building your engaged audience first.

At the end of the day, it’s important to be flexible and not afraid to fail. Every supporter base is as different as the causes they support. It can take a little time to figure out what your audience responds to and how they like to give.

Be patient, learn as you go, and the pieces should fall into place.