Get Started Fundraising on Facebook

Now is a really exciting time for fundraising on Facebook! Historically fundraisers and donation appeals fell flat on the platform. Sure some nonprofits found success, but most did not or if they did it was very limited. But now that is all changing!

Over the last year we have seen a remarkable increase in the amount of people who are now comfortable donating on Facebook. This number is rapidly increasing and it’s important for you to understand how to make Facebook fundraising work for your nonprofit.

It’s important to note two things that are critical to this success:

  • First the donation experience has to be mobile optimized, which means people can complete it quickly with only a few taps and that it looks amazing on a small screen.
  • Second it has to be shareable because people are donating inside the Facebook context, they want to be seen supporting your organization.

Since this is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive in our webinars and through our live chat, we thought we would put together a quick guide on how to get started in just a few minutes. This guide will walk you through how to create the most optimized donation page available today plus how to set up your own “donate now” button on Facebook.

Let’s get started!

A few house keeping points before we start

If your nonprofit has a Facebok page you’re going to want to make sure you have your Donate Now button configured correctly so you can provide you donors with the best experience.

To setup your Donate Now button you will need two things an ActionSprout account and a Stripe payment account. If you’re a 501(c)3 we have a special deal from Stripe just for ActionSprout users, you’ll get $15k in donations fee free and then only 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction.

Let’s start with setting up an ActionSprout account.

Step 1: Your ActionSprout account

Log in or Sign up for ActionSprout, then add your nonprofit’s Facebook page.

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If you have any issues, don’t hesitate to chat with us on the ActionSprout website, or send us an email at info@actionspout.com.

Step 2: Connecting Stripe and ActionSprout

Open your ActionSprout account. Click the Settings tab, then Integrations

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Scroll down to Stripe and click Connect Stripe.

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Follow the steps on the resulting window to connect your Stripe account with ActionSprout.

If you don’t have an account with Stripe yet, you can create one now.

You’re going to need:

  • Your nonprofit’s legal name
  • TaxID/EIN
  • Bank account and routing numbers

If you have any questions contact Stripe’s customer support.

Step 3: Create your donation appeal

Inside of ActionSprout click on the large Actions tab at the top and then the green Create Action button:

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This will open a right hand menu. From this menu select Donate:

From here you will be dropped into the donation action creation screen. Use our best practices guide to help you fill in the basics:

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Make sure your donation appeal is something you can leave up for a while as your main donation button on Facebook. Otherwise, if it’s too time-sensitive, you’ll need to replace it with a new one often.

Once done, scroll to the bottom to configure your donation buttons:

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This is what will be displayed to your potential donors:

donation action on phone

Once you’re happy with your donation action hit save.

Step 4: Configure Donate button on Facebook page

The final stretch! We just have to drop this new donation page into the Donate now button at the top of your nonprofit’s Facebook page.

To do so, click the green Share button on your donation action. Inside this sharing menu scroll to the bottom and find the Make this your page’s primary call-to-action button section. Click the set as button and you’re done:

cta in share drawer

Now you can test your button! Log into Facebook and navigate to your page. Click on your new button and choose the test option:

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If all checks out, you’re done! Any donations that come through this button can be accessed through your Stripe account.

Have any questions about raising donations on Facebook? Feel free to reach out! We’re always happy to help.

facebook

How to: Collect signatures and grow your Facebook page

How one nonprofit collected hundreds of thousands of signatures and greatly grew their Facebook page through consistent daily posting, social actions and lots of hard work.

1,000 Days

Meet 1,000 Days, the leading nonprofit organization working in the U.S. and around the world to improve nutrition and ensure women and children have the healthiest first 1,000 days after childbirth.

Campaign Goals

The 1,000 Days team wanted to create strong support around a new national paid family leave policy and the U.S. Government’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program. To accomplish this, they created social actions through ActionSprout that informed and mobilized their Facebook supporters to take action. In the process, they were able to influence public policy and grow a group of supporters passionate about the issues.

Impact

  • Roughly a quarter million signatures raised through ActionSprout social actions
  • A jump in Facebook page fans from 3,000 to 85,000 in four months
  • 684,354 Facebook shares
  • 799,114 petition views
  • 34% petition completion rate

Approach

How did they gain such staggering success?

  • By consistently making 2 to 3 posts a day their team ensured supporters were always engaged and that 1,000 was at the front of their minds.
  • 1,000 Days maintained careful audience targeting to reach the “right” people, who were most likely to engage and further the campaign.
  • Sharp, clear, petitions that communicated what was at stake, what needed to change, and how.
  • Sharing personal accounts, shocking figures, and real family stories of hardship and impact to emotionally connect with current and potential supporters.

Campaign Creative

Let’s take a look at a few of their campaign Facebook posts.

Facebook posts:

Campaign Lessons and Takeaways

How you can apply this same success to your own cause:

  • To perform well on Facebook your campaigns must be socially optimized. Follow this check list to make sure your next campaign is social:
    • Is your campaign sharable? Will supporters want to be seen sharing it with friends and family?
    • Is your campaign targeted? What are you asking supporters to do? Is it clear and tangible?
    • Does your campaign have an emotional aspect? People are more likely to take action when you speak to their emotions, rather than their logic.
    • Is it personal? How will this effect your supporters’ lives or the lives of those they know?
    • Is there urgency? If your supporters feel like they can come back and deal with this later you have lost them.
    • Is your campaign possible? Is what you’re asking for reasonable?

What is the value of a Facebook post?

Everyday your nonprofit is busy posting stories to your Facebook page in the hopes of reaching and engaging more of your supporters. The trouble is how do you place real value on this effort? Is your Facebook page becoming more valuable with time, or staying the same?

In short how much is any one of your Facebook posts really worth to your nonprofit?

One fairly easy way to calculate this value is by looking at the “earned media valuation” of your post based on how many people engaged with it. This is an approximation of the monetary value of your Facebook posts. In other words, if you had paid to get the same results, roughly how much would you have spent? You can think about this as money saved in a way.

Now this doesn’t directly tie to outcomes like donations, but it’s a simply way to approximate what the return on your Facebook efforts are at a high level. And use this to report to your board or ED the impact and value of Facebook.

To calculate an “earned media valuation” first determine what a fair value is for each different type of interaction, based on the goals of your organization. Based on a large amount of data on nonprofit Facebook ad spend we have at ActionSprout here are some baselines we see for nonprofits:

  • Reactions = $0.25 each
  • Comments = $1 each
  • Shares = $2 each
  • Link Clicks = $1 each
  • Video views = $0.50 each

Then take the interactions for each post and multiply them by these numbers to give you a total $ value based on how many people were engaged in different ways.

Let’s look an an example from one of our recent posts. It had 215 reactions, 4 comments, 48 shares and 259 link clicks. So we would value this post at $158 in earned media value.

Now did this post generate $158 in revenue for us, not directly. But had we paid for this reach and engagement we likely would have spent $158 or more to interact with this many people.

So how can you do this for your nonprofits Facebook page? We just added this capability to the Timeline section inside the ActionSprout app, simply click on the more area at the top of any post and select the ROI tab to see a calculated earned media value using the default values.

LOG IN or SIGN UP to give it a try and see what your Facebook posts are worth.

facebook-comments

Manage your Facebook comments with ActionSprout

Being part of the conversation just got easier!

If you’re not actively reading, responding to and managing the comments on your Facebook posts, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build a community and relationships with your supporters.

We’re excited to introduce Comments Inbox, a new tool in ActionSprout to help you manage your Facebook comments easily and efficiently!

To use Comments Inbox, simply turn it on:

  1. Click on the People tab at the top of the page.
  2. Select the Comments option from the side menu.
  3. Click on the Enable Comments Inbox button.

comments inbox email announcent image​ Now, all of the comments on your Facebook Page will appear in your ActionSprout account.

Comments Inbox includes the following features:

  • A priority view so that you can deal with the most important comments first.
  • View the profiles and activity history for each commenter so that you have the appropriate context for responding.
  • Tag important people so that you can identify your donors, VIPs, staff or even trolls, and get notified when they make comments in the future.
  • Like comments (as your organization) to show your supporters that you’re listening.
  • Reply to comments publicly or through a direct message to continue the conversation or offer a follow-up.
  • Hide or delete comments that are not appropriate.
  • Assign a comment to one of your teammates so that they are notified and can respond.
  • Get notified immediately when a commenter uses profanity.
  • Get a daily reminder if there are any new priority comments.
  • Automatic recommendations for how to address each comment, based on an analysis of the comment and person making it.
  • Manage comments as your Facebook Page; stop worrying about accidentally exposing your personal Facebook profile.

The whole team here at ActionSprout is really excited to share Comments Inbox with you. Give it a try—we think you’ll be impressed with how much easier it makes things!

And, as always, we welcome your reactions, ideas and questions, this is just the beginning, we’ll continue to evolve it in response to your feedback!

GIVING TUESDAY

July: Giving Tuesday Strategy

This guide is part of a series of guides designed to get your nonprofit ready for #GivingTuesday. If you haven’t read the first guide in the series, we strongly suggest that you start there, as the following guide will then make more sense.

Last time, we discussed the strategy of content curation and how to practice it through both ActionSprout as well as directly through Facebook. Hopefully, you’ve gotten into the swing of things and are nearing two to three posts a day on average. (If you’re already there, even better!)

This month, we want to show you how to measure the success of your new content strategy and a few ways to optimize it further.

Post Metrics

If you’ve ever opened the Insights tab on your Facebook Page, you’ll know that there are a lot of post metrics available to you. If you’re a data nerd and haven’t been down the rabbit hole that is Facebook Insights, I would highly recommend it. The rest of us will only need to look at one piece of data to decide if our new content strategy needs tweaking or not.

Engagement

The number one thing you want to look at is the engagement on your posts. To do this, take a post; sum up the number of likes, comments and shares on that post; and compare that sum to the engagement on your other posts.

If you have a good chunk of highly engaging posts on your Page, great job! You’ve figured out what your supporters like and have given it to them. If not, don’t worry. The next section will show you how to look for patterns to increase the number of highly engaging posts on your Page.

Content and Format

Once you have your top-performing posts in front of you, take a look at the content and format of these posts. Do these posts have anything in common with each other? Do they tend to be images, videos or links? Do they tend to be positive or negative? What topics do they tend to lean toward?

Look for these patterns and tally up the results. This will tell you what your audience enjoys the most in terms of content and format. Maybe your audience likes videos on clean energy the most. Maybe it’s links to articles on non-GMO foods. Figure out what’s true for your audience and try to post more of that type of content. You’ll most likely not find one pattern but a few to play with.

Using Your ActionSprout Timeline

The ActionSprout tool will do the above calculations for you. Simply navigate to the Timeline tab in your account to view all your posts. Click on the Trending tab on the left to isolate your top-performing posts. These are the ones that we’ll want to take a look at.

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Looking at your over-performing posts; what patterns like the above do you notice?

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Bonus: At the top of Timeline, you’ll find three additional metrics that will show you the overall health of your Facebook Page:

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You’ll want posts per week to be 15 or more, the fan engagement score to be 50 or more, and people engaged per post to be the highest that it can be.

Using Facebook Insights

If you choose to do this through Facebook alone, you’ll need to approximate some of the above calculations or export your Facebook Insights data and perform the calculations in a spreadsheet. For our purposes here, we’ll show you how to perform the approximations.

From your Facebook Page, click the Insights tab at the top and then Posts:

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From here, choose to display posts by raw reactions, comment and share numbers, or by engagement rate. Either one will give you the same idea and point you in the same direction:

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Once displayed, you’ll want to browse through your highest performing posts and look for the patterns mentioned above.

Wrap-Up

That’s your assignment for the next month. Pay attention to your engagement numbers and what content patterns are emerging. Once you start to have a handle on these patterns, let these findings influence the content that you post going forward. The more you post the types of content that your supporters like, the more organic reach and engagement your Page will earn.

Pro tip: If you find one content type is clearly winning out another on your Page, try filtering your Inspiration feed by that content type to post more of it.

when to post on facebook

Everyone who tells you when to post on Facebook is wrong

There is no shortage of people telling you about the best time(s) to post on Facebook. However, these “best times to post” articles, written by “certified Facebook experts,” are all based on broad averages and studies. They are guesses at best, and do not reflect the reality of your supporters’ Facebook habits:

when to post on facebook updated

The truth is that the real answer of when to post has been available to you the entire time—through your Facebook Page.

Facebook itself will tell you when your supporters are on the site. And who would post based on a general average when you could have the cold, hard facts about your own supporters? The problem is that so few Page managers know that this data is given to them or where to find it. Instead, they trust the averages and the self-proclaimed experts, not knowing that a better solution is right in front of them.

This ends today. This post will show you where to find this data through your Facebook Page and how to use it.

Where to Find the Data

To find out when your supporters are on Facebook, login and navigate to your nonprofit’s Page.

At the top of your Page, you’ll find the Insights tab. Click on it:

when to post on facebook

From here, you will click on Posts from the left-hand menu. This will open up the graph that we want to look at:

when to post on facebook

This graph is a seven-day look at when your Page fans will most likely be on Facebook (it learns from their past behavior). This graph is pretty accurate because:

  1. People typically login to Facebook at the same times every day, i.e. during their lunch break or after work.
  2. Facebook has a ton of past behavioral data to pull from. The larger the sample size, the higher the accuracy.

How to Read the Data

By Day

Just above the graph, you’ll find a series of bars—one for each day of the week. This tells you, on average, how many of your Page fans log in to Facebook each day. In this example, Saturday wins by just a hair. If you have an important post or campaign coming up, this can help you to decide which day(s) is/are the best to make the announcement.

By Hour

The graph then shows you, on average, what hour(s) your Page fans are on Facebook for the week as a whole. Hovering over a day bar just above will display the particular times for that day. In this example, if you hover over the Friday bar, you can see a unique spike at 7am:

when to post on facebook

This would be one of the best times to post on Friday each week. We can also see that 1pm, 3pm and 6pm are also uniquely good times to post on Friday on Facebook.

We can do the same for each day. Here’s Thursday; on Thursdays in particular, we should post at 8am, 9am and 5pm:

when to post on facebook

This can be a bit tedious at first, but once you have the hang of it, and a sense of when your Page fans are on Facebook each day, it will pay huge dividends over trusting the general averages that you can find on Google.

An Automated Option

There is an option, through ActionSprout, to automate this process. If you share any post from the ActionSprout app, we will show you the next best time to post on Facebook based on your Page graph:

when to post on facebook

You also have the option to browse these times for the coming week. Simply click on the Optimal posting times link right below the default next best time:

when to post on facebook

This allows you some flexibility but makes sure that you’re always posting at optimal times.

Wrap-Up

You have some options for choosing how to take advantage of this powerful data based on your preferences. What’s important is that you use your own personalized data instead of generic averages to guide your decisions on Facebook.

Want to learn even more about the data tucked away inside your Page’s Insights tab? Here are the top three metrics to know about. Spoiler: you already know the first one!

facebook polls

Facebook polls can increase engagement and collect supporter email

Facebook is a powerful platform for communities and the sharing of ideas. Here’s how one nonprofit tapped into that power through the use of a poll campaign, while collecting supporters’ names and email addresses.

Start Empathy

Meet Start Empathy! An initiative of Ashoka, Start Empathy is a community of individuals and institutions dedicated to building a future in which every child masters empathy. Recently, they launched a campaign on Facebook to ask folks in the business field if it was necessary to prioritize skills like empathy in a 21st-century workplace.

Campaign Goals

Start Empathy wanted to understand how many people felt that it is necessary for schools and workplaces to prioritize new skills such as empathy, leadership and innovative thinking. Was the way people saw the 21st-century workplace changing? Were people seeing the need for a new set of skills to be prioritized and practiced in schools? To answer these questions and more, they launched the #StartEmpathy campaign in October 2015 to raise awareness about the importance of empathy in education.

Impact

“It was relatively successful in terms of comments. Many people commented and shared their thoughts on what are important skills, so we do see it as a success.”

  • One Facebook post
  • 2,778 shares on Facebook
  • 10,760 total views
  • 381 total poll completions

Approach

The campaign was targeted toward educators and parents who live in the United States. As part of the campaign, they also targeted business leaders and social entrepreneurs. The poll was posted to Facebook and boosted using Facebook advertising. Particularly successful posts were learned from and repurposed.

Campaign Creative

The following is a breakdown of the Facebook post and poll used on Facebook. Each includes why the asset led to a successful campaign overall.

The Facebook post:

  • Takes advantage of appropriate hashtags for further organic reach and engagement on Facebook.
  • Includes a clear request for feedback.
  • The organization can be seen engaging supporters in the comments and taking part in the larger conversation.

The poll:

  • The poll itself was Facebook and mobile-optimized, making it fast and easy to complete the poll from any device.
  • The description that was provided on the poll landing page clearly communicated the issue using the “problem, solution, action” format:
  1. Problem: The modern workplace is evolving but our students are not prepared to enter it.
  2. Solution (in the form of a hypothesis): If workplaces hired differently, would schools impart education differently?
  3. Action: As someone in the field weighs in and help us reach this solution.

Campaign Lessons and Takeaways

“I think what we would have done differently is changed the target audience for this poll. We targeted education influencers but not enough people in the business field. I think that would have helped in getting an idea of the trend.”

  1. Asking questions and soliciting feedback has been a long-held best practice in fostering engagement and community on Facebook.
  2. Learn from your past Facebook posts and reuse what works. This is the best way to increase your organic reach and engagement.
  3. Make sure that your polls are Facebook and mobile-optimized. Through the use of an ActionSprout poll action, Start Empathy made weighing in from any device fast and easy.
  4. Putting a little ad money behind a campaign can lead to great success on Facebook.
Facebook faqs

Top 16 Facebook FAQs from the Nonprofit Sector

ActionSprout works with nonprofits of all sizes and causes across the globe. Here are the questions they most frequently asked about Facebook. Chances are they asked some of the same questions you’re dying to know the answer to, too!

Let’s dive in, shall we?

How can I increase the organic reach and engagement of my Facebook Page?

The key to increasing your organic reach and engagement is content curation. This is the practice of finding and sharing the top stories and news related to your mission on your Facebook Page—not just your own content, but also content from others that is getting lots of likes, shares and clicks. The Facebook algorithm promotes content that people engage with, and so by sharing highly engaging content, you will grow your organic reach and engagement. You can learn more about why and how to curate Facebook content here.

What is the difference between reach and engagement?

“Reach” is the number of people that saw your post in their News Feed. (Not all of your supporters see all of your posts—over 1,500 pieces of content are competing for 200–300 News Feed slots for each person each day!) They may have stopped and read your post, interacted with it by liking, sharing, clicking or commenting, or they might have scrolled right past it.

“Engagement” is when a person interacts with your post by liking, reacting, commenting, sharing, clicking or watching a video. It will always be a subset of the people that the post has “reached,” because not everyone chooses to interact with every post they see.

How can I get more people to view my nonprofit’s Facebook Page?

People do not typically visit Facebook Pages. (When was the last time you visited a Page other than your own?) Instead, people will see and engage with your content when it appears in their News Feed. Trying to get people to view your content on your Page instead of in their News Feed is fighting an uphill battle against how they naturally use Facebook. Our advice: don’t worry about your Page too much—focus instead on creating great posts that people want to engage with!

What defines a “fan,” and how exactly does Facebook calculate this?

Your Page fans are anyone who has clicked the “Like Page” button on your Facebook Page, an ad or post. Your current fan count is the number of people who have clicked this button minus those who subsequently unliked your Page by clicking it again.

Can people who haven’t liked my nonprofit’s Facebook Page (non-fans) still see our posts?

Yes! All the posts that you publish to your Facebook Page are public and viewable by anyone, regardless of whether they have liked your Page or not. The number one way that non-fans see your content is when their friends share your posts. They can also sometimes see your posts when their friends like or comment on the post, or if you used a hashtag.

Is there any way to send messages to people who have liked my Page?

Not at this time. Facebook does not allow Page managers to bulk message the people who like their Page. Alternatives include: messaging key people who like your Page individually, engaging them in conversation in the comments, or running social actions to collect the contact information of your supporters on Facebook so that you can send them emails.

How do you build relationships with people who like and comment on your posts?

Message them back, reply to their comments and like their comments on your posts! One of the best ways to build deeper relationships with your supporters on Facebook is to engage in conversation with them! Don’t leave their questions unanswered, thank them for their support, or share additional resources that they would enjoy. Liking their comments on your post shows them that you care. You can learn more about replying to comments and building relationships here.

Should I verify my nonprofit’s Facebook Page?

Yes! There is no reason not to verify your nonprofit’s Facebook Page. Verification signals trust and security to your supporters, and clears up any questions about whether the Facebook Page belongs to your organization. This verification follows your Page all over Facebook as well, including in search and comments. Here’s how to get started.

Why don’t I have a “donate now” button on my nonprofit’s Facebook Page?

To unlock this feature, your Facebook Page must be classified as a nonprofit. Here’s how to check what your current Page category is and how to change it. Once you have categorized your Page as a nonprofit, follow these instructions to set up your new donation button.

I started my nonprofit as a personal profile on Facebook. Should I switch to a Page?

Yes! Personal profiles are designed to represent real individuals and not organizations. Facebook says:

“Personal profiles are for non-commercial use and represent individual people. Pages look similar to personal profiles, but they offer unique tools for businesses, brands and organizations. Pages are managed by people who have personal profiles.”

Using a personal profile for anything else is against Facebook’s terms of use:

“It’s against the Facebook Terms to use your personal account to represent something other than yourself (ex: your business). If you’re using your account to represent something other than yourself, you could permanently lose access to your account if you don’t convert it to a Page.”

Worse, personal profiles are limited to 5,000 friends, which many nonprofits will quickly exceed. Learn how to convert your personal account to a Page.

What makes a “good” post? Should I always include an image? Should my text be a certain length? How about videos? How long should they be? Are text-only posts okay?

There are no fixed rules that define a “good” post. Ultimately, you will need to experiment and pay attention to what works on your own Page with your fans.

Here are a few loose rules of thumb to get you started:

  • Try to post the most engaging image or video that you can. Photos of people and animals tend to be highly engaging, especially if they’re looking right at you.
  • If you’re including a lot of text in your post, make sure that your most important message comes first. Otherwise, people will have to click “read more” to see it and most will miss it.
  • If think you might spend money to boost a post with an image, make sure that the image contains less than 20% text. You can check this with Facebook’s text tool.
  • When creating and uploading videos, make sure that your video grabs people’s attention in the first two seconds. Videos auto-play as they come into view, so you have just a moment to catch someone’s attention enough make them stop scrolling and watch your video. Put the most important part first to grab attention, and then work backward from there once you have it.
  • 80% of Facebook users watch videos with the sound off. This means that your video must have text or captions, or be otherwise be understandable without sound.

How does the Facebook algorithm determine which of your fans receives each post?

There are three main ways that Facebook decides which of your fans they will show your post to.

  • Their relationship with your Page. If they commonly engage with your posts, they are likely to see more of them in their Feed. If they usually don’t engage when they have the chance, they will see fewer of your posts over time, and may stop seeing them altogether.
  • Have they historically shown Facebook that they are interested in the subject matter that you just posted about? If they commonly engage with posts about polar bears, and you posted a polar bear post, they are likely to receive it in their Feed.
  • Have they historically shown Facebook that they prefer the content type that you just posted? If they commonly engage with videos over other types of media, and you posted a video, they are likely to receive it in their Feed.

How often should I post to Facebook?

This will depend on when your particular audience is on Facebook. Facebook gives this data to every page manager under the Insights tab, then Posts.

I am concerned about “communications fatigue” with our audience if we post 2–3 times per day.

First of all, not all your Page fans see each of your posts. Instead, each time you post to Facebook, the algorithm decides which of your fans would most likely enjoy and engage with the post. Thus, if you post multiple times a day, you are reaching a new sub-group of your fans each time. In this way, you are increasing your overall Page reach for that day. It is safe to say that if you posted to Facebook five times in one day, no single fan would see all five posts in their Feed. Facebook is very good at protecting its users against spam like this.

How many posts per day is too many?

That will depend on your particular Page fans, your content and your issue. Many successful Pages post 10 or more times per day! Most nonprofits, however, do not have the time or resources to post that often, and that’s okay. Post as much as you can; it’s extremely unlikely that you will ever post enough to cause a problem.

What’s the difference between a mention and a hashtag?

A mention links to a person or Page. Once mentioned in a post, they will receive a notification on Facebook. Mentions are used to get someone’s attention, invite them to engage with your post, or ask for a response. Anyone who clicks on the mention will be taken to that person’s profile or Page. Learn more about mentions here.

Hashtags are used to organize large conversations on Facebook and social media at large. When someone clicks on a hashtag in a post, they see a feed of all the people and Pages talking about that subject. It’s a way to tell everyone, “I’m joining this conversation and I want this post to be a part of it.” Learn more about hashtags here.

facebook fundraising

Local nonprofit finds success in Facebook fundraising

Facebook can be a powerful platform for fundraising and social good. Here’s how one local nonprofit ran a successful fundraising campaign on Facebook — and found a puppy a new family!

Lifeline Puppy Rescue

Meet Lifeline Puppy Rescue, a Colorado no-kill puppy rescue that saves puppies under 12 weeks old from shelters or other rescuers that are not adequately prepared to care for or find proper homes for puppies. Recently, they launched a donation campaign on Facebook to help pay for the rescue and care of Charley the puppy.

Campaign Goals

Charley, the puppy, was transferred into Lifeline’s care with two hip fractures. They launched a campaign to help cover Charley’s medical expenses, which totaled $1,200. Lifeline’s secondary campaign goal was to find Charley a new family.

Key Campaign Stats

“Overall the campaign was successful! Not only did we reach our goal in under 24 hours, but as soon as Charley went up for adoption he found a new family! The biggest donation to the campaign came from a volunteer who ended up fostering Charley. As soon as the campaign launched on Facebook, they immediately donated $300.”

  • Two Facebook posts asking for donations
  • 7745 people reached
  • 169 post shares
  • 254 clickthroughs to the donation action
  • 24 donations ($1,145) raised through ActionSprout
  • $250 raised elsewhere

Approach

Before Lifeline launched the campaign on Facebook, Charley had been in their care for about a week. During this time, many of their closest contributors, staff members, and volunteers had met little Charley. They started by promoting his story to this “inner circle” of their most engaged friends, in hopes that they would see the post on Facebook and be more inclined to share/help as they had a personal connection with Charley.

Lifeline originally had a different plan to promote this campaign on Facebook; however, the initial surge of donations exceeded their expectations and caused them to change plans. Instead, they only posted twice asking for donations: once the night before he went into surgery, and an update after he came out of surgery, which asked for donations.

“We were strategic about the time and content of our post. We originally planned on posting six times over the course of two weeks to reach our $1,200 goal. Since we reached our goal in under 24 hours, we decided to switch the focus and begin thanking contributors and looking for a family for Charley. He spent two more weeks recovering, and we posted two more times about him. These two posts were about his progress, thanking everyone, and letting people know when he would go up for adoption. The final post was letting everyone know he found a new home!”

Campaign Creative

“Charley was a very rambunctious puppy, and we wish we could’ve gotten a better photo of him!”

Here’s a detailed look at all of the campaign creative elements:

Charley’s pre-surgery post

  • Sets a clear, realistic goal
  • Asks for a small, manageable gift of $10
  • Cute, engaging image of Charley’s face makes supporters stop scrolling and pay attention
  • Includes a large, clear call to action: “Will you help Charley?”
  • Connects readers to the cause through the power of storytelling

Charley’s post-surgery post

  • Includes progress towards goal
  • Uses optimistic and uplifting language
  • Cute, engaging image of Charley’s face makes supporters stop scrolling and pay attention
  • Includes a large, clear call to action: “Will you help Charley”
  • Asks for a small, manageable gift of $10

Charley’s donation page

  • Goal bar to show progress against their goal
  • Stripe integration offers a quick, mobile-optimized donation experience
  • Connects readers to the cause through the power of storytelling

Campaign Lessons and Takeaways

“We were very happy with the tools that ActionSprout offered. Our contributors love to see how many people have helped, how much more help is still needed, and then able to contribute themselves quickly… We learned not to directly asked for donations, however; it’s better to start out in a more subtle way of explaining the story and at the end ask for a small donation or help.”

  • Take advantage of engaging images and storytelling to pull potential supporters in.
  • Be clear with supporters about your goal for the campaign and tie it to concrete results.
  • Keep supporters in the loop as the campaign progresses.
  • Make sure that your donation pages are optimized for Facebook and mobile devices. Through the use of an ActionSprout donation action and Stripe payments, Lifeline made giving fast and easy from any device.

Learn more about fundraising on Facebook.

organic reach

400% increase in organic reach after one week of content curation

If you’re not already practicing content curation on your nonprofit’s Facebook Page, you absolutely should be! Content curation is the practice of finding and sharing high-performing content from other Pages. This practice allows you to post more often and increases your Page’s reach and engagement. This case study shows the effects it had on Northshore Veterinary Hospital’s Facebook Page after just a week of practice. (If you’d like to dig into the strategy of content curation further, this article is for you.)

Northshore Veterinary Hospital’s Facebook Page

Brita Kiffney is one of the lovely veterinarians at Northshore, and is responsible for managing their Facebook Page. We had the pleasure of sitting down with her one day and diving into their Facebook Page and strategy.

When we first spoke to her, she was posting as little as one post or fewer per day. When she had the time to upload an original picture of one of her patients, she would do so. If she didn’t have time that day, she wouldn’t. But even with how little she posted to their Page, they still enjoyed solid engagement from their fans. This told us that Northshore’s Page had a ton of untapped potential waiting to be unlocked.

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Learning to Curate

After meeting with us, Brita decided to give ActionSprout, and a content curation strategy, a try. Here we’ll walk you through the steps that she took to get her ActionSprout account and new strategy off the ground.

Following Pages

First, Brita had to follow the right pages through ActionSprout. Fine-tuning who she followed was the key to the rest of the strategy working. After all, these are the sources whose posts she should be sharing on Northshore’s own Facebook Page! Ensuring that they posted content that was on topic and tone, compared to their own Page, was really important.

Brita landed on the following mix of Pages:

  • Fellow veterinarians that she respected
  • Local and national humane societies
  • Pet publications
  • Fun Pages that posted cute pet videos and images

This mix of followed Pages gave her an awesome sampling of fun and serious material to post to Northshore’s Page. (We call this the broccoli and cheese strategy.)

Using the Inspiration tool inside her ActionSprout account, following these Pages was as simple as typing in names and keywords:

organic reach

Once followed, Brita was even able to add custom tags to the Pages. She tagged the fun Pages as such, the fellow vets, and so on. Now if she was short on serious material one day, she could sort by those tags and only surface the content options that applied.

Scheduling the Content

Once she had her followed Pages, she figured that it was time to start scheduling! Finding the right content to post to her Facebook Page was as easy as browsing through her new Inspiration feed, and sorting and filtering as needed:

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When she found something that she liked, she simply clicked the share button on that piece of content. This opened up the sharing menu, where she could schedule the post for the next time when most of her fans and supporters were on Facebook:

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How did the tool know when her fans and supporters were on Facebook? Facebook gives this data to all Facebook Page managers. When connecting your Facebook Page to ActionSprout, ActionSprout is able to look at this data and pull out the best times for you.

The Day to Day

With everything in place, Brita was able to pop in and out of the app as needed. On busy weeks, she could come in on Monday and schedule three to four posts for each day of the week. When she had the extra time, she would pop in once every day or so and schedule things as they came up.

And, as always, when she had cute pictures of her patients, she published them.

The Results

We were blown away by the results after just a few days! Through the use of ActionSprout and her new content curation efforts, Brita was able to increase her posting frequency to a consistent four to five posts a day! The ActionSprout app allowed Brita to schedule posts for the entire week so that, as she got busy, her posting stayed consistent. Consistent posting is key to consistent reach and engagement on Facebook.

The results are astounding! The highlighted day on the graph, April 28th, was when Brita added an additional four posts a day of curated content to their Facebook Page. As we can see, her organic reach sharply goes up from there. All in all, she enjoyed a 400% increase in organic reach on their Page:

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She also noticed a change in engagement on their Page. The number of likes, comments and shares on their posts noticeably increased.

Conclusion

Content curation can feel uncomfortable for many nonprofits when starting out. It feels counterintuitive at best, and like stealing at worst. What we have to keep in mind is that Facebook is not a traditional communications channel.

Facebook and social media in general are social spaces where ideas, content and stories are freely shared among users. Sharing is hardwired into Facebook; proper attribution is automatically included and the sharing of worthy content is expected.

Most of all, the results speak for themselves! So, what are you waiting for? Start your own content curation strategy today and start seeing the same success as Brita at Northshore Veterinary Hospital.