Why Facebook is the most powerful social channel for fundraising

Nonprofit Marketing March 24, 2017 By Kevin Wolfe

At first glance, Facebook doesn’t look like a place for nonprofits to play. Last year it was reported that Facebook’s reach is down 52% for businesses and down 42% for pages and still declining. What that mean is that your organization’s updates are seen by fewer and fewer people. To get your updates seen by more people you're now expected to pay to advertise—just like for-profit corporations.

But cheer up.

If you’re using peer-to-peer fundraising, these changes may actually be beneficial and can help your organization bring in more revenue.

Your Page is not the point

While you’ve probably found your Facebook Page a good vehicle for awareness and recruiting, most organizations haven’t been successful there for fundraising, even when paying to boost posts. We definitely recommended that you add a Facebook Donate Now button to your Page as one more place to capture general or capital campaign donations, but Facebook is not proving consistent as revenue stream when organizations make the ask there. But it’s a powerful revenue stream when your supporters use it to make the ask to their network.

Why diminishing reach may be a good thing

Facebook’s real strength is in giving people a vehicle to share with those close to them. Unlike most other social channels, where everyone can see your posts and comment, Facebook is restricted access: you must approve of friends and allow them into your network in order for them to see your posts and to comment. While you may think Facebook’s diminishing reach would hurt your supporters’ success at getting donations, indications are that it's actually helping. Here’s how: While a person’s entire network is less likely to see their posts, those closest to them (those they communicate with more often) are more likely to see their posts. And in peer-to-peer fundraising, those closest to them are also the ones most likely to donate to their fundraising page.

Facebook is the #1 social vehicle for supporters making the ask

Here are some statistics on successful DonorDrive events and campaigns:

  • 90% of social donations come through Facebook.
  • 20% of overall event or campaign dollars come directly though a link in a Facebook post.
  • Facebook plays a role in 1/3 of all donated dollars.
  • More than 50% of supporters received donations directly through a link in their facebook updates.

As you can see, Facebook is a powerful channel when used by your supporters to make the ask to their network.

A four-point Facebook strategy

Since Facebook has such a big effect on the donations a supporter receives, organizations should encourage their supporters to use it for fundraising a priority. Here are a few best practices DonorDrive clients follow to guide their fundraisers:

  • Encourage storytelling. It’s easy to bring out the natural storyteller in every participant. Just ask them to tell why they’re participating in your event or campaign (and to post links to their fundraising page in the update.)
  • Tell them to use media. Photos and video tell the story in a way that words can’t. When supporters add these to their fundraising page, they raise substantially more.
  • Tell them to keep the conversation going. When friends comment about a fundraising post that a supporter made on Facebook, they should comment back and encourage the conversation. Every additional comment is likely to be seen for the first time by more people they're connected to and likely to be seen again by those they’re closest to.
  • Tell it again. Facebook doesn’t want to admit how few friends actually see an update, but it’s probably between 5-10%. So while your supporters think they’re boring their friends by pushing their fundraising again, actually nine out of ten didn’t see it the first time they posted. If a participant keeps their network up to date on how much they’ve raised or on their training progress, it tells a continuing story that their friends want to follow to the finish. Also many friends will appreciate another update as a reminder to donate.

Facebook can be a very effective fundraising tool your supporters use it to fundraise. In addition to the Facebook updates of 1.5 billion people, now 30 billion messages now sent to friends through Facebook’s Messenger app each day. Since Messenger has now become a fundraising vehicle for your supporters as well, Facebook’s dominance in fundraising will grow even more.

Webinar: John Haydon helps you grow your nonprofit’s community on Facebook.

John Haydon is one of the most respected and most successful fundraising experts working today. As the author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies and Facebook Marketing for All, John brings his practical knowledge on Facebook success to a can’t-be-missed webinar from TopNonprofits and proudly sponsored by DonorDrive.

How to Grow Your Nonprofit’s Community on Facebook
12:00 PM ET
Thursday, March 30, 2017


Join us and put John’s great knowledge of Facebook to work for your organization today.