Charlotte and Dave Willner started a Facebook fundraiser on June 16, titled “Reunite an immigrant parent with their child,” after they saw a viral photo of a 2-year-old Honduran girl looking up and crying as her mother was searched by a Border Patrol agent in southern Texas.
They aimed to raise $1,500.
As of June 24, more than 400,000 donors have raised more than $20 million. The campaign is bringing in more than $10,000 a minute, according to organizers.
The money will be go to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) — a large immigration legal services non-profit organization in Texas.
Another recent piece of Facebook fundraising news for nonprofits is the announcement that Facebook pages will now be able to set up and launch Fundraisers from their Pages.
This feature was previously only available to individual Facebook profiles and not Pages.
Because there are no fees charged for donations made to charitable organizations via Facebook, this could revolutionize the online fundraising and peer-to-peer landscape.
(SIDE NOTE: I have seen some chatter in the nonprofit social media storytelling group that some Page admins can’t seem to set these up yet, so maybe Facebook is rolling them out to all Pages in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.)
All of this buzz and excitement around Facebook fundraising got me thinking – what are small nonprofits to do?
What are some ways that small nonprofits can optimize and improve their Facebook Fundraisers?
They may not be raising millions, but they certainly can improve their efforts and bring in more money.
Here are 5 ways that you can improve your Facebook fundraising and raise more money with Facebook Fundraisers:
1) Grab my attention with a great title and visual.
Over 750,000 nonprofits have used Facebook’s fundraising tools since the social media network first rolled out the feature in 2015, according to Facebook.
You’ve probably seen an influx of fundraisers in your feed lately.
Facebook is pushing these tools and they want people to use them.
The ease of set up and use makes Facebook Fundraisers very appealing to even the most non-technically inclined.
Anyone can set one up – so how to make yours stand out?
You have to grab my attention.
Make it absurdly simple to understand what you are raising money for, with just a glance at the Fundraiser.
Most likely I will see your Fundraiser announcement as a post in my news Feed before I click over to the full page where I can get all the information.
You have to entice me with a great headline/title and cover image.
The title of the Fundraiser and the cover image are crucial in conveying exactly what you are trying to raise money for and piquing curiosity.
Calling it “Fundraiser for Beverly Food Bank” and having your logo as your image will not cut it.
Here are some examples of great headlines and cover photos, that clearly explain the purpose of the Fundraiser:
2) Feature your most compelling story.
After I see the image and the title, if my interest is piqued, I can read the first few lines of the Story section.
This is critical to keep my attention and make the case for donations.
For example: I’m raising money to buy new Spanish textbooks for my daughter’s class. After funding was cut at school, the wonderful (and bilingual) Mrs. Adams stepped up to teach. If we parents can come together to buy new workbooks, our children can continue to learn!
Use the story to explain what you are trying to do, and what will happen once the money is raised.
3) Go live on Facebook during the Fundraiser.
You can actually raise money for the Fundraiser during a live stream broadcast.
Donations will roll in in real time, and you can thank people and acknowledge supporters while you are live!
The key feature here is a donate button that will be inserted into the live video, making it super easy for people to participate.
You can also create buzz and get more exposure for the fundraiser, because live videos are watched 10x more than videos that are not live, and engaged with at a rate of 5x more.
After the live broadcast, the video will live on your Facebook Page and you can still continue to promote it and collect donations afterwards.
4) Thank people as they make donations.
You have the ability to tag individual donors and thank them in real time as the donations come in!
Call them out by name, make short videos where you throw confetti, create thank you signs, make it fun!
charity:water created over 250 individual thank you videos when they turned 5 years old, thanking their donors.
You don’t have to have a videographer on staff – take out your smartphone or use your laptop’s camera.
5) Update people on your progress.
Running a successful Facebook Fundraiser is just like any other crowdfunding or online fundraising campaign.
You can’t simply create it, launch it, and then forget about it until the deadline looms.
You need to be active in the Fundraiser every day, or multiple times per day, sharing stories, thanking donors, going behind-the-scenes, creating excitement, and continuing the momentum.
Share graphics like the one below inside the Fundraiser and on your page to let supporters know how much more you need to raise to meet your goal:
Be sure to jump into the Nonprofit Social Media Storytelling Facebook Group to continue the conversation and share your experiences and advice with fundraising on Facebook!