March 2, 2010

How do I get my nonprofit’s Facebook fans to donate?

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John HaydonGetting an army of Facebook fans for your nonprofit is not an easy feat. It takes lots of planning, hard work, and time. But just because you have a lot of Facebook fans doesn’t mean that you’re any closer to meeting your fundraising goals. Especially if you’re unknowingly creating barriers.

When potential donors go to your donation page, is it immediately clear how they can donate and what amount they can donate? Do they have to search around your site? How many mouse clicks does an entire transaction require?

7 things to keep in mind

  1. Show Them Impact – One thing that worked very well during the Tweetsgiving campaign was showing people what their donations would buy. It created a direct line of site between donation and impact.
  2. Make It FunRed Nose Day is a huge hit in the UK, precisely because it’s so much fun! Think of creative ways to make sharing fun for your fans.
  3. congrats

  4. Make The Dollar Amount Specific – The ever-present “donate now” button with no recommended dollar amounts, gets far less results than an ask with a specific dollar amount.
  5. Make It Easy To Share – The moment a person donates is the best time to ask them to share that action with others. Applications like Giving Impact and givezooks do this really well with their social fundraising apps.
  6. Target The Ask – Similar to most email marketing services, Facebook allows you to target your messages to a specific subset in your fanbase. You can slice by location, gender and age.
  7. target

  8. Measure The Ask – Measure traffic, clicks, average donation amounts and number of donations. With enough data, you’ll be able to refine your approach over time. Also, Facebook provides great analytics for their Facebook Pages.
  9. Keep It SimpleFrank Barry wrote an excellent guest post on optimized social fundraising. Go back and check it out.

One last thought. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts to spur fans to act don’t get the results you expect. It takes time to build an active community.

What’s been working for your org?

Cross-posted from JohnHaydon.com.John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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  • Helpful, helpful and more helpful! Thanks John!

    One of the things I've been thinking a lot about is how the old world of non-profits felt so broke. Really great organizations would spend SO much of their time and resources on fundraising that they spent precious little time *actually solving the problem they set out to solve*. I, for one, would rather more organizations that solve the problem, rather than just become conduits for money that is much more general in how it "helps".

    So — information like this is great on several levels. 1) It tells people how to combine Technology with Communication to make fundraising easier, so people in non-profits can focus on creating real social change. 2) It points out that it's much better to ask *only the people who really want to help with that particular cause*. None of us can help everyone. We pick and choose are battles every day. Find the people who want to choose to choose your particular battle. Ask them to help, simply, passionately, unapologetically.

    Be helpful. Get the help you need. It's the way the world is going. And I for one, love it.
    Many thanks, again.

    • Lisa – I'm glad you found value here. Please feel free to subscribe, if you haven't already.

      To add to your comment that non-profits should "ask *only the people who really want to help with that particular cause*", social media is perfect because they can tune into the intereted people and relevant conversations that are happening right now!

  • James

    All the experts talk about "showing impact" as if it's a no-brainer thing that non-profits aren't doing because they're lazy, dumb or trying to hide what they're spending money on. The reality is its WAY more complicated than people think and anyone who has spent enough time inside a non-profit (especially a big one) to understand how internal finances work understands how hard it really is to say your $50 actually bought 2 tents and a water bottle for someone in Madagascar, thanks!! The fact is, it might take months for any one donation to actually make it to the field, and by then it will have gone through several accounting hops and the idea of tracking back to a specific donor is pretty laughable. Right now, any non-profit that says they're doing that is probably either VERY small (and the volume of money is so low, they really can track it) or they're lying about it. If you believe it, then you probably also actually believe Heifer is really selling Cows for $100… Instant gratification for a given gift is possible — yes — but it's also a lie on the part of the non-profit.. that's why you always see it say "could" provide, or "supports" programs. Then, of course, there is the restricted vs. unrestricted question — non-profits must have unrestricted money or they close down and go out of business, but generally no one every wants to give unrestricted money, they want to know their personal impact that their $15 Causes gift made — without understanding that A) donations via causes don't all go to the non-profit, B) the data that does go to the non-profit is sketchy even if they don't check the anon box and C) if they don't allow their data to go to the non-profit, usually it's accounted as unrestricted not matter what (and many times even if the data is provided) because the way Causes (and network for good generally) provides designation usually doesn't correspond with anything the Non-profit itself can understand…

    This post is GREAT information for small non-profits, but it's almost (not entirely, there are some good points, especially regarding tracking and measuring) useless for larger NGOs.

    • James – Thanks for the feedback. My clients, and my expertise primarily revolve around small and mid-sized non-profits. Beth Kanter (who I'm sure you know) might be a better source for you.

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  • Luke

    This is very good information I'm going to post a link from my Facebook fan directory (http://www.topfacebookfollowers.com ) to this page. We have a Facebook news section now and this will fit in there.

  • How do I make the Dollar Amount Specific? The Cause I have started requires the minimum amount to be $2.5

    http://www.causes.com/causes/578539-masti-ki-paathshala/about?m=14607687

    Could anyone please help me?