Digital Fundraising Playbook Series: Facebook Fundraising
Introduction and Program Overview
Facebook fundraising is a rapidly growing digital revenue stream for nonprofits, with products constantly evolving to meet the needs of organizations and fundraisers alike. As of early 2021, Facebook had raised $3 billion for nonprofits worldwide.
To use Facebook fundraising tools, your organization must be a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, but that doesn't mean municipal shelters can't use Facebook to raise funds. Municipal shelters can partner with a 501(c)(3) "Friends of" support group or, at the very least, create a webpage that can accept donations and then provide links to that page in their Facebook posts for adoptions or other general shelter news.
A nonprofit with fundraising enabled on Facebook can also connect to Instagram fundraising, which is another revenue stream for nonprofits. People raise money on Facebook and Instagram in many different ways:
- Facebook birthday fundraisers
- Facebook page fundraisers
- Facebook non-birthday or event fundraisers (virtual event challenges)
- Facebook donate button posts
- Facebook live with donate button
- Instagram live with donate button
- Instagram feed fundraisers
- Instagram Stories donate sticker
Audience: Thousands of individuals across the U.S. enjoy giving and raising money on Facebook. These individuals are usually your best audience for your organization's fundraising asks. They usually prefer to do their giving on Facebook (where you will not be able to secure their contact information), but they like to be thanked. They most likely will not want to be contacted off Facebook or give their email addresses.
Frequency: Ideally, Facebook fundraisers occur frequently, since people raise money for their birthdays throughout the year. In addition, you can enable the ability to add Facebook donate buttons to posts and Facebook Live events, as well as host Facebook fundraisers on your page. Be cautious about having too many Facebook fundraisers on your page: you don't want to overwhelm your audience with too many donation asks.
Metrics: Here are the top key performance indicators (KPIs) for Facebook fundraising success that should be reviewed on at least a monthly basis:
- Number of monthly Facebook fundraisers
- Number of Facebook donations per month
- Dollars raised on Facebook per month
- Facebook fundraisers' average number of gifts per campaign1
- Facebook fundraisers' average gift size2
When running reports about Facebook fundraising in the Business Manager, you can also report on Instagram fundraising metrics.
Necessary skills: Facebook fundraising calls on many overlapping skills, including those used in social media, marketing and fundraising. For this reason, even if you don't have a staff member dedicated to social media, you can find ways to create and sustain a successful Facebook fundraising program by collaborating across teams that have these skills. For example, social media specialists or community managers can consistently post about and steward Facebook followers so they are primed and ready to raise funds. While social media specialists may not be responsible for generating revenue, their content will drive engagement and interest in your mission, which will lead followers to raise money for your cause.
If you have a separate fundraising and marketing team, they can thank fundraisers and donors, keep track of KPIs, and provide strategy on when to engage with the various Facebook fundraising products throughout the fundraising calendar. If the fundraiser thank-you messages are too much for your staff to implement internally, you can outsource that task to GivePanel or GoodUnited on a contract fee basis per fundraiser.
Basic technology and equipment: You will need to have a Facebook page for your organization and be registered as a 501(c)(3) with the IRS with a tax ID number. For more information on enabling Facebook fundraising, click here. If your organization is a nonprofit, the enabling tools will let people select your organization to fundraise for.
Network for Good is the default payout organization. If your 501(c)(3) organization is in good standing with the IRS and you have not specifically applied to use Facebook's fundraising tools, your donations will be paid out through Network for Good. (Learn how to apply to use Facebook's fundraising tools.) Network for Good's website states that it distributes funds around the fifteenth of every month.
Donations will be paid out twice monthly if you qualify to be paid out by Facebook directly. Facebook's help center states: "We cover all fees for donations made on Facebook to charitable organizations. For personal fundraisers, payment processing fees are deducted and, in some countries or regions, additional taxes when the money raised is distributed."
Donor and fundraiser information can be manually uploaded on a monthly or biweekly basis to your constituent relationship management system (CRM) or whatever digital system you use to track your donors.
Basic steps to sustain and grow your Facebook fundraising:
- Maintain your Facebook presence with posts 1-2 times per day.
- Steward your followers by keeping them apprised of future developments with the project they supported. If you told a story, are there new chapters in that story? Check out Best Friends' stewardship webinar for other types of stewardship that you can adapt to digital fundraising.
- Say thank-you to your fundraisers by navigating to their individual fundraiser pages and communicating with them in comments on the page.
- Ask your followers to share your Facebook fundraiser. You'll gain more exposure for your mission and organization as well as more donations.
- Tell your story in a way that helps people see the positive impact and feel the urgency. Only then will they be likely to donate immediately. If you need help with storytelling, see our playbook on creating meaningful content across any channel.
Facebook is probably on of the first communication channels used by those working in animal welfare. But many municipal agencies and nonprofit organizations that use Facebook every day for adoption promotions are missing opportunities to unleash its fundraising power. Others that do ask for funds sometimes focus on repeated please for help to address daily needs. While that's understandable, these organizations could raise even more money by sharing success stories and showing donors how they can be the heroes of these stories.
Facebook now offers a wide array of fundraising options, so start small, analyze your successes and failures, and then build on your knowledge. Remember, Facebook is a two-way communication channel, great for both asking and telling, but it's most powerful when you pay attention to what your donors are telling you and then craft great stewardship strategies based on what they teach you.
- M+R Benchmarks is your go-to resource for accessing information on metrics at a national level.
- GoodUnited provides an Ultimate Guide to Facebook Fundraisers.
- Guidestar by Candid offers this Facebook essentials webinar on YouTube.
- This Sendible article discusses how to use social media effectively when you have a small budget.
- Need help with making the donor the hero of the story? Check out this resource.
- This Best Friends webinar provides suggestions on donor stewardship in general, but many of them can be tailored to your digital channels.
1The median is four gifts for wildlife/animal welfare, according to 2021 M+R Benchmarks, the go-to benchmark report produced each year by a strategic services firm that helps nonprofits maximize online advocacy, social media and media relations.
2According to the 2021 M+R Benchmarks, the average gift for wildlife/animal welfare is $30.