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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.

10/9/19 update: You can now purchase Cora Balls online or at these fine retailers.


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.

Fundraising Goals

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?

Fundraising Goals

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.

clean ocean inspiration

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

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 11.43.21 AM

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

Fundraising Goals

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.

Yes, there are new Facebook ad requirements. And yes, this policy change even affects your nonprofit page! Effective November 2019, any U.S. Facebook page that wants to create or edit ads about social issues, legislation, elections, or politics has to go through the platform’s page authorization process. And since promoted posts or ads are the fastest way to grow your email list, find new donors, and increase your reach, we recommend that every organization or group page complete the new Facebook ad authorization process. Yes, even you! 

Whether or not you have promoted Facebook posts in the past or not, completing the new ads authorization process will ensure that your page can participate in collaborative advocacy campaigns with other organizations and build a stronger community of supporters on Facebook.

But wait, why are nonprofits affected by this change if they don’t run political ads?

Great question! Nonprofit organizations may not post about specific political candidates, but Facebook standards do consider most nonprofit content to be issue-based. So whether you’re promoting a fundraising drive post or an article about a public policy that affects your work or those you serve, that post is likely to be flagged as issue-based content and can’t be promoted until you get your ads disclaimer set up.

Why worry about it now?

Setting up your disclaimer and authorizing your Facebook page does take time, so the best time to get authorized is before you want to run ads. That’s why, even if you haven’t used ads before, there’s no benefit to delaying your nonprofit page authorization. The best time to set up your disclaimer and get authorized is now.

Ready to get started? Let us walk you through the steps to help get you set up to run political or issue ads on Facebook.

Step 1: Set up a new Facebook Business Manager account.

Go to https://business.facebook.com/overview/ and click “Create Account.”

Create Facebook Business Manager Account screenshot

Step 2: Add Facebook page(s) to Business Manager.

Remember: Only the page administrator can complete the entire ad authorization process, so make sure you have that access.

Step 3: Create (or add an existing) Facebook ad account.

Facebook ad account overview

 

Step 4: Add a payment method to the ad account.

Your payment method will never be charged unless you create an ad or take steps to promote a post.

Step 5: Add people to Business Manager and assign to page and ad account.

Adding trusted members of your team means you won’t be the only one with access to Business Manager, making it easier for others to support ads and campaigns when you’re not available.

Step 6: Apply for authorization to set up “paid for by” ad disclaimers.

For Facebook to confirm your identity, you must have two-factor authentication enabled on your account. You’ll also need the following materials available:

  • A U.S. state driver’s license, U.S. state ID card, or U.S. passport — make sure to take a clear and focused close-up picture showing all four corners on a flat, dark background
  • A U.S.-based residential mailing address
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number

Once requested, a letter containing a code to confirm your identity should arrive at your address within three to seven days. If your letter doesn’t arrive within seven days, you can request a new one here: https://www.facebook.com/id.

Step 7: Setup “paid for by” disclaimer for a Facebook page.

Advertisers have five ways to get disclaimers approved:

Advertisers will receive a “Confirmed Organization” icon on their ads if they provide a U.S. street address, phone number, business email, a matching business website, and complete one of these three options:

  • Tax-registered organization
  • Government organization
  • Federal Election Commission (FEC) registered

Smaller businesses or local politicians who may not have these credentials can choose from two more options. Advertisers who go through these options will receive an “About This Ad” icon.

  • Submit an organization name (still requires a U.S. street address, business phone number, email, and matching website).
  • Give the page admin’s legal name (same as on their ID documents).

Each ad account used to fund your page’s ads about social issues, elections, or politics must be linked to your page and have a disclaimer for each.

To link your ad accounts and set up disclaimers:

  1. Go to your Facebook page and click “Settings” in the top right corner.
  2. In the list on the left, click “Authorizations.”
  3. Below Step 2: Link Your Ad Accounts, click “Begin.”
  4. Accept Facebook’s terms and conditions.
  5. Enable the ad accounts that will be used to pay for your page’s ads about social issues, elections, or politics.
  6. Click next and choose an approved disclaimer for each ad account specified.

If you want to run ads about social issues, elections, or politics on Instagram as well as Facebook, you’ll need to authorize your Instagram account.

  1. Go to your Facebook page and click “Settings” in the top right corner.
  2. In the list on the left, click “Authorizations.”
  3. Below Step 3: Authorize Your Instagram Account (Optional), click “Begin.”
  4. Check the “Review this Instagram” box.
  5. If your Instagram and page names aren’t the same, explain why in the text box.
  6. Click “Submit.”

Step 8: Confirm Facebook page settings are correct (country, city, category, about).

 

See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? With just eight simple steps you can increase user trust in your page and make it possible to engage in collaborative advocacy campaigns with your industry partners or coalitions. There’s a lot to lose for Facebook page managers who neglect to have their page authorized — and even more to gain for those who complete the process. 

 

Want to learn more? Check out this video playlist with step-by-step guides to help you complete the new Facebook ad authorization process.