image source: Facebook

With over a billion daily users, Facebook’s launch of a new Fundraisers tool is an exciting move into the crowdfunding business by the social media giant. The new Fundraisers page feature is a major evolution of Facebook’s existing donation capabilities.

How it works

  • It’s open to U.S. nonprofits with a verified Facebook page and 501(c)3 charitable status.
  • Starting a Fundraiser begins with creating a new, dedicated page for a specific campaign.
  • Actions supporters can take include: join, share, invite, and donate.
  • Following the crowdfunding model, each campaign runs for a specified amount of time. A progress bar shows total financial support vs. the goal, and indicates how many users have joined the campaign vs. actually donated.
  • When people share a Fundraiser, a Donate button travels with their post, allowing friends to contribute right from the post.

The Fundraisers tool is still in a testing phase, with 37 nonprofits including WWFMercy Corps, and National MS Society participating in the trial. Beginning in 2016, the tool will be available to more organizations.

Tips for successful fundraiser pages

Ground rules for superb donor engagement are similar to other social media campaign best practices.

  • Fundraisers is a new tool, not a magical donor-relevance button. Shareability requires timeliness and relevance. Organizations that do not operate in the disaster relief and humanitarian aid sectors will need to be extra creative by associating their Fundraiser with trending news stories, viral content, and high-profile users.
  • Include video! Posts and Pages with video get at least triple the traffic of pages without. At a minimum, include images that communicate need and proof-of-impact.
  • Develop a post schedule in advance. Far more people will join the Fundraiser than will actually contribute. A smart posting schedule will maximize gift-conversion. People who join the Fundraiser are automatically opted-in.
  • Recruit influencers to build a following from day-one. The ability to “invite” influencers to join your Fundraiser is a powerful feature. Reach out to your organization’s board, celeb supporters, volunteers, staff, and any users with large social media followings.
  • Pay to promote. Fundraiser pages can be promoted on users’ newsfeeds using Facebook’s paid advertiser tools. Nonprofits can invest in acquiring and activating donors on the platform. Set a conservative ad budget, and test various promotion strategies alongside grassroots engagement efforts.
  • Have a retention and long-term conversion plan in place. The Fundraiser tool inherently encourages a campaign-to-campaign support mentality. Consider onboarding new donors using a strategic retention system like Innovairre’s Donor Squared program. At a minimum, be prepared to thank donors immediately (online and through the mail), and follow up with content that shows how their gift made a difference.

Does “Fundraisers” replace the Facebook Donate button?

Think of the Donate button as the donation-capture mechanism. The Fundraiser page is a new way to create a call-to-action around a particular mission goal.

The traditional Donate button is not going anywhere. In fact, Facebook has improved the donate feature by making the button available on pages and posts, in addition to nonprofit profile pages.

The latest changes improve speed and convenience for donors. Contributions can be made entirely within the Facebook platform in just two clicks, using a credit card or PayPal account.

Where to go to be the first to know

Nonprofits can sign up here for news on the Fundraisers rollout schedule, changes, and updates. Information on all of Facebook’s donation capabilities can be found here.

Chris Moore is Executive Vice President of Data Services at Innovairre Communications, which supports more than 500 nonprofit organizations around the world. To learn more about integrating your fundraising with Facebook and other social media, contact us at Answers@Innovairre.com; subscribe to our newsletter here; and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.