This is a guest blog post by Julia Campbell, a nonprofit digital marketing and online fundraising strategists.
With over 2 billion active monthly users (450 million of them connected to nonprofit Pages), it may seem like Facebook is an easy place to look for potential donors and other supporters for your organization.
But to many nonprofits, Facebook can be something of a riddle. Should we use it raise money? Does it really work? Is it going to take too much staff time to figure out? Do we have to spend hundreds of dollars on ads?
Having worked with dozens of nonprofits on their online fundraising campaigns over the years, I can tell you that you do not have to have a full time marketing person and a huge budget to get started with Facebook’s free fundraising tools.
For example, the Polaris Project in Washington, DC registered with Facebook just in time for Giving Tuesday in 2017. Without doing any promotion, the small nonprofit raised close to $14,000 directly through the platform on Giving Tuesday and throughout year-end.
They now use Facebook as one of their main peer-to-peer fundraising tools, and highlight individual fundraisers on their Page:
In this article, I will provide an up-to-date overview of the 5 main ways you can leverage Facebook’s suite of free fundraising tools to drive donations to your nonprofit.
I’ll also answer questions like how to do a fundraiser on Facebook, and how to set up a donation page on Facebook.
How to Register and Set It Up
There are two main options when setting up your Facebook fundraising tools. You can set it up so that if a potential donor clicks on your Donate call-to-action button, (1) they go to the donation form on your website, outside Facebook, or (2) they can make a donation directly inside Facebook with 2 taps.
If you choose option 1, you can start right away, no registration necessary. The donation will be processed through your payment processor.
If choose option 2, and you want to raise money on Facebook in just two taps, there are some things to consider:
- 100% of donations made through Facebook Payments to nonprofits now go directly to those organizations.
- U.S.-based charities must be a 501(c)(3) organization, registered with the IRS, have a tax ID number and have a bank account registered with a licensed financial services institution.
Only one Facebook Page can have the Donate button per IRS EIN (tax number).
- You may think that option 1 sounds pretty good – “Hey, our nonprofit doesn’t need to go through all the hoops required to register officially with Facebook! We can just send people over to our website to make their donation.”
But, let’s think about this for a second.
What’s easier for a potential donor? To leave Facebook, click over to your website, probably from a smartphone, then fill out your long donation form, then find a credit card to enter, then enter the credit card? That takes time and attention and will result in fewer conversions.
Let me show you an example.
I recently made a $5 donation to the Humane Society of the United States. Here’s how I did it.
First, I clicked over to their Page:
Then, I clicked on the Donate button:
Next, I selected $5. Facebook saves my credit card info, so I don’t have to scramble to find it and enter it. I then clicked Donate again:
A screen popped up, inviting me to share my donation on my Facebook profile, check a box to sign up for email (I did), or see the receipt from my donation.
I then received an email receipt:
The main pro to getting donations via the Facebook platform is ease of use for the donor. If your goal is purely revenue, then this is surely going to convert at a much higher rate than your website donation page.
However, if you have a goal to grow your house file, therein lies the rub – Facebook gives complete control to the donor. If I don’t click the “check this box to sign up for the email list”, then you only receive my name and no other information about me. Nonprofits at this time are not able to personalize the donation receipt either.
If you decide to register officially with Facebook (and I highly recommend that you do), then there are 6 ways you can leverage the site to raise money for your organization.