Use Facebook to Raise Serious Money This Holiday Season (or Year-round)

I know many people have written off social media as a form of fundraising revenue. But you would be hugely mistaken to skip Facebook. Fundraising online is challenging. Until late 2016, fundraising through social media was next to impossible for most nonprofits. That’s changed.

Facebook fundraisers are run by individual supporters, but savvy nonprofits are running full-scale “campaigns” of 15 fundraisers or more at a time. The momentum and energy can raise over $15K in less than a month for even a small organization.

Let me tell you why I am bullish on Facebook Fundraisers—despite the challenges relating to privacy and politics on the platform:

Facebook is everywhere

The vast majority of people you know or want to reach are there, and they can get to your information on Facebook seamlessly. There is very little “friction” to the platform, and that makes raising money on the platform so easy.

Facebook doesn’t charge any fees

It is incredibly rare that a platform delivering such a high-quality product and making it this easy to fundraise, doesn’t try to take a cut. They stopped taking fees years ago. Although Facebook doesn’t take a fee there is a tiny transaction charge charged by the company actually processing the transaction.

It’s legitimizing

Once your organization creates a page and completes all the settings (and hoops) for accepting donations, it makes it very easy for any individual to choose your organization as a recipient of their fundraising any time of year, including on their birthday. Not being prepared to allow Facebook fundraisers will leave some potential donors and supporters thinking your organization is unsophisticated or ill-prepared.

Facebook handles the compliance

Once someone makes a donation, they get an acknowledgement email from Facebook for tax purposes, but this also means you can count on all your donors receiving some acknowledgement. Fundraising in 50 states online doesn’t require you to lift a finger if Facebook is handling that.

Less intrusive

Most peer-to-peer fundraising platforms inundate you with email updates. Facebook’s platform allows all your followers, friends and supporters to get notifications, which are far less annoying. Because Facebook Fundraisers need numerous update messages, this value cannot be overstated.

Easy reports

Facebook allows you to pull reports with very helpful information about each fundraiser and gift.

The frustrating thing about Facebook Fundraisers is that you will likely not end up with the email addresses of your donors. For a range of reasons, Facebook does not make it easy to track down the contact info your donors. You may have to just assume that individuals who donate to your campaign may never donate again. Although this is frustrating, the upside is that you won’t have to spend much energy cultivating, nurturing and renewing these donors.

I am going to strongly encourage you to have a Facebook Fundraiser strategy, especially around #GivingTuesday and December, when people are statistically far more likely to donate to a charity like yours. December is right around the corner, and it is not too late to take advantage of the giving season.

Setting up Facebook Fundraisers only takes two minutes, so every organization should invite all of its key supporters and highly engaged Facebook followers to start one ASAP. Consider asking volunteers and board members, too.

Three keys to running a good Facebook Fundraiser for your nonprofit

  • Be the CEO of your campaign (Chief of Enthusiasm and Optimism)

    Your campaign messages should be upbeat, positive and aspirational. Even if you share the news of a tragedy, you should try to inspire hope that solutions are possible. Remaining optimistic about your campaign goal is also critical.

  • People give to people

    The main assets you have in your campaign are the personal relationships of those raising money. This means each person who wants to fundraise should run their own campaign instead of sharing someone else’s. Your friends won’t care as much if you ask them to help some guy named “Bob” hit a goal. However, they will help YOU reach YOUR goal. Each campaign leader needs their own campaign.

  • Don’t Just Post Text

    Use video, pictures, links and great sound bites linking the point to the mission and ask for money on every post.

The main assets you have in your campaign are the personal relationships of those raising money.

The above tips will take you a long way towards your Facebook fundraising goals. Recently, Facebook started allowing people to make monthly donations, too. As functionality improves, you will want to be ahead of the game by getting started today.

More Pro Tips

The above tips will take you a long way towards your Facebook fundraising goals. There are more variables and best practices that I’ve discovered over the years than can be explained in an article. So, I developed a course on the subject, covering 8 tips in detail with some downloadable guides that make it easier to follow along and follow through. You can check out my Masterclass course on Facebook Fundraisers here.

8 Expert Tips to Raise $10K+ with Facebook Fundraisers

Check out Sean’s masterclass to learn the best practices and take the guesswork out of running a Facebook Fundraiser campaign.

Sean M. Kosofsky

Sean M. Kosofsky

The Nonprofit Fixer

Sean Kosofsky has worked in nonprofits for over 27 years, including as executive director for four organizations. He has led and raised millions of dollars for small and startup organizations, political organizations and community initiatives. He offers coaching, consulting and training through Mind The Gap Consulting. He has worked on a range of issues including LGBT equality, reproductive justice, voting access, bullying prevention and more.