A guide to Facebook’s fundraising tools
When large institutions launch a fundraising campaign, there is the temptation to focus on ambitious activities in search of a high return.
These activities could include targeting major donors, orchestrating campus-wide events, hosting multi-channel Giving Days, and even (deep breath) attempts at making things “go viral”.
But it’s easy to forget the small actions that can make a huge difference in reaching your fundraising goals.
A sustainable, long-running presence on social media can bring in the donations, little and often, by empowering your supporters.
This is now easier than ever thanks to Facebook launching a variety of tools in recent years to encourage donations. These tools have raised over a billion dollars for charities. They offer fantastic opportunities for fundraising and development offices in universities, colleges and schools.
Let’s take a look. Here are a few ways to bring in the pennies and engage your community on social media while you’re chasing the larger wins.
After all, pennies make pounds.
Instagram Donation Sticker
Facebook-owned Instagram launched a donation sticker in April 2019, which charities and users can add to their Instagram Stories. This feels like a great opportunity for fundraising, considering 500 million users access Stories each day.
The donation sticker can be found in the usual sticker tray. Once selected, you will be prompted to select your charity of choice. The fundraiser will last for 24 hours on one story, although you add the Story to your profile as a Highlight, after which it will last indefinitely.
You can swipe up on your Story to view the total amount raised and the donations made by each person.
Since 2015, charities have been able to add a big blue Donate button to their Facebook Page to allow visitors to easily make donations.
Users are also empowered to add Donate buttons to their posts by tagging a charity in their status, or selecting Supporting under the Feeling/Activity option then searching for their charity of choice.
Donate buttons can even be added to live videos, both on charity Pages and individual fundraisers.
More than 20 million people have started, or donated to, a fundraiser through Facebook since 2017. Users no longer have to use a third-party platform. They can simply click Fundraisers in the left menu of their News Feed and quickly set one up.
There are two types: non-profit fundraisers and personal fundraisers. The non-profit option will send donations directly to your preferred charity. The personal option will send the money directly to you, should you be raising money for a friend in need, or a charity that hasn’t yet registered on Facebook.
Facebook introduced birthday fundraisers in 2017.
They operate similar to other Facebook fundraisers. However, for birthday fundraisers, Facebook may even make a donation to your chosen charity themselves from their Facebook Donations Fund, an annual pot of $50 million.
Facebook will give you a nudge two weeks before your birthday to see if you’d like to set one up. It allows you to request that friends make donations to your chosen charity, rather than showering you with gifts.
In their first year, birthday fundraisers raised over $300 million for charitable causes. More recently, Madonna launched a Facebook fundraiser for her 60th birthday, which raised £874k for Raising Malawi.
With over 750,000 charities now registered on Facebook, these tools are clearly popular and generating donations. They offer alumni and development colleagues a great opportunity for furthering the fundraising efforts of their universities, colleges and schools.
However, as I was recently reminded, your art is not your easel. Tools are only as good as the person using them, and how that person chooses to apply them.
Therefore, whilst these tools are a huge asset for charities, they have to be used effectively. There needs to be a consideration of goals, audience insight, storytelling, maintenance and analysis.
There needs to be a content strategy.
We would love to hear from education organisations who have made use of the fundraising tools covered in this post. If you would like a discussion on how content strategy can further your fundraising goals, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.