Facebook is the top social media platform for your online fundraiser. Our data shows that Facebook is the most effective in terms of dollars raised. Every time one of your friends shares your fundraiser on Facebook, it can net an average of $37 for your campaign.
We often see campaigns reach their goals due almost entirely to effective Facebook fundraising. The Dare to Dance Challenge is a great example. Parents started a YouCaring fundraiser for the surgery their daughter needed to help her walk on her own. By using a clever social media fundraising idea and sharing news of her progress, they earned more than 4,000 page likes and raised over $74,000.
Even if you’ve been using Facebook for a long time, you may not know about specific Facebook fundraising methods that can give your campaign a boost. With over a billion active users, Facebook includes interest groups, organizations, businesses, and more.
Here is your Facebook Fundraising 101: a comprehensive look at how to use Facebook to help your fundraiser succeed.
Start by putting the key pieces in place
The title and featured image are the first things people see on Facebook, and huge factors in how likely people are to share your campaign. Our data shows that campaigns with five photos or more earn twice as much as campaigns with only one photo. Furthermore, campaigns with video earn an average of twice as much as those without. Next, in the description area, tell your story honestly and directly. For detailed tips on telling an effective story, follow these guidelines.
Slow your rollout
People outside your inner circle of immediate family and close friends are much more likely to make a donation if they see that you’ve already raised a sizable portion of your goal. Therefore, it’s important to first share your fundraiser with family and close friends (perhaps via email) before sharing it with everyone you know on Facebook. Once you’ve got some momentum, you can start sharing as widely as possible.
Ten tips for fundraising success on Facebook
1. Create a Facebook page, or leverage an existing one
Beyond posting news of your fundraiser on your timeline, you should create a dedicated Facebook page for your cause. If your cause is connected to an organization that you represent, and that organization has a page you have access to, you could also use that page for this purpose.
In either case, create a unique Facebook page URL by defining it in the page settings. Also in the page settings, select the preferred audience you want to connect with (you can specify geography, age, political leanings, and more). Add the link to your YouCaring campaign page as the Call to Action button. For more page setup instructions, see our post How to Start a Facebook Page for Your Fundraiser
Pro tip: If you want to experiment with paying to promote your posts, start by paying to reach those who like your page and their friends (rather than mere demographic targeting). For more detail on using paid posts, see our blog post How to Use Facebook Advertising for Your Fundraiser.
2. Write your first post
Posting updates will become an essential part of your campaign. For now, you need at least one post on your page so people can get an overview of your cause and a sense of the page’s tone and content—all of which will make them more likely to follow your page than they would if nothing were posted yet.
Ultimately, the success of your fundraiser will rely on frequently posting, sharing, and connecting with others on social media. Your Facebook posts and updates will get your audience’s attention, give them something to share with their own friends, and inspire people to donate, sometimes repeatedly.
3. Invite your Facebook friends to like and follow the page
Once you complete your page and write a post or two to set the tone, invite your Facebook friends to like and follow it. Then, once you’ve built a sizable following, encourage followers to invite their own Facebook friends to like and follow your page.
4. Connect with similar pages
Facebook is full of like-minded people who’ve posted similar or related pages. Connecting with them can help you both connect with your community and bring in more donations. When you’re logged in as your page (rather than as yourself), search for these pages and groups, and like and follow their pages. Some groups are private, but can easily be joined. Once you do, you’ll be able to post links to your page and more—just be sure to follow the posting guidelines for the group. Whenever you comment on a post across Facebook, you’ll have the option of making that comment as yourself or as your page. When you comment as your cause’s page, it leads people to discover it.
5. Add your fundraiser link to all posts
The most basic way to do this is to copy and paste the link to your fundraiser in the status box. After pasting the link, Facebook pulls in the headline and featured photo and adds it to your post.
Pro tip: Facebook doesn’t like people leaving Facebook, so their algorithm deprioritizes posts that include a link in the status. To get around this, use plain text in your status update and add the link as the first comment. Use this technique only for updates you don’t pay to promote. If you’re paying to boost a post, add the link in the status.
6. Write captivating posts every time
Spend some time to make your posts as interesting and compelling as you can. Hook people with the first sentence, or even the first couple of words. Write posts that capture the attention of friends, friends of friends, strangers. Inspire people to visit your fundraiser and donate to your cause. Here are a few examples.
- “We’re trying to raise $2,000 in the next 48 hours for Ethan. Please help us reach our goal by donating and spreading the word to your friends on Facebook.”
- “Today is the 15th! We are asking everyone in this Facebook group to donate $15.”
- “If we can raise $1000 in the next 24 hours, a generous donor has agreed to match it with another $2000.”
- “My sister is $1000 shy of raising the funds she needs for surgery.”
7. Hashtag your way into the conversation
If your campaign is connected to a larger national movement, such as breast cancer awareness month, a political movement, or a natural disaster, add the same hashtags associated with that larger conversation to your post. This will make your post appear in feeds that people monitor for related news. You could also add a unique hashtag for your own campaign and use it in tandem. For more details on creating and using tags on social media, see our post How to Create a Hashtag for Your Fundraiser.
8. Thank donors by tagging them
An effective way to thank and recognize your donors is to tag them in your Facebook posts. Not only will they feel special, but their friends will see your fundraiser, and you’ll reach a whole new audience of potential donors. Read this post for more ideas on how to thank donors.
9. Post updates frequently
When we asked Darren Binder, co-founder of nonprofit City Dogs Rescue, for his advice on Facebook advertising, he had this to say: “If you’re going to be concerned about too many posts, too many tags, or inviting too many people to an event, you may have a harder time raising funds.” Don’t be shy—post updates multiple times a week and use free social media tools like Buffer to time them. Remind friends that you’re committed to reaching your goal. Provide updates about your beneficiaries’ journey, including both progress and setbacks.
10. Challenge your community to donate
Asking for donations is one thing; challenging people to give is another. Challenges can be a good way to motivate those who’ve yet to donate. Issue your challenge, putting your fundraiser in perspective by comparing a donation to a small daily purchase. Challenge friends to skip their afternoon latte and donate to your fundraiser instead. Host a social media contest that excites and challenges your audience to raise more funds for your cause. Use ideas that can help your fundraiser go viral.
Finding fundraising success
Promoting and sharing your fundraiser is hard work, but it can also be surprisingly rewarding—you receive both financial and emotional support from friends and family. So, keep going, and take advantage of the tools Facebook offers to share your message with as many people as possible.
For a step-by-step checklist on promoting your fundraiser across social media (including Facebook and other platforms), download our free Social Media Crowdfunding Checklist. You can also increase your reach by using a variety of social media sites and tools. For tips on using other social media platforms, see:
- How to Fundraise on Twitter
- Social Media Terms for Beginners
- How to Start Crowdfunding on Snapchat
- Seven Tips for Online Fundraising on YouTube