How to Ask for Donations on Facebook - Everything Worth Asking!
How to Ask for Donations on Facebook - Everything Worth Asking!
In order to ask for a donation, you need to be where people are. And there is no denying the amount of people that have some sort of social media account. In fact, according to HootSuite, 'Over 4.74 billion people across the world use social media...,' and with Facebook being the largest of them all with roughly three billion monthly active users worldwide, the potential for fundraising is immense!
Hharnessing the power of Facebook for fundraising should be a natural progression for any charity. It’s the perfect platform to not only ask for money, but to take potential donors through the entire donor cultivation process by getting to understand what types of content they connect with, and offering it to them through the platform.
And Facebook offers nonprofits a plethora of tools to help them connect with potential donors as well as receive actual donations. Plus they have their own tools to help you with creating live fundraisers with their Facebook Live and Events options. So as a front end tool to reach millions of potential donors and volunteers instantaneously as well as internationally, this platform should be considered a must use for any nonprofit that wants to succeed in today’s crowded nonprofit sector.
Creating a Strategic Media Platform Marketing Plan
Although a lot of individuals will shy away from this, the fact is when it comes to asking for donations on any social media platform, it is basically the same as making a sale. Yes, creating a strategic plan means ending with a sale, or in our instance donations. But in one way or another, you need to close your client, or in other words make a sale, ask for a donation.
It’s important to get comfortable with this fact and stop thinking everyone should donate to your charity just because you’re doing the right thing. That may happen for a few donations, but overall the most financially successful charities and foundations have solid business plans and marketing strategies when it comes to their funding.
When you flip the idea, fundraising now becomes your responsibility and not just something that should happen naturally, it’s a process.
The first thing you need to decide is how social fits into your overall marketing approach and what it is you hope to get out of it. Are you trying to attract new donors, increase public awareness, or are you planning on using it more like a crowdsourcing platform.
Set SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based). Setting specific goals for likes, shares, clicks, as well as understanding your target audience better and their core values will greatly increase the likelihood of getting a payoff using the platform. What’s great is all of these metrics can be tracked and analysed to see what’s working for you and what’s not over time so you can always adjust.
Then begin crafting communications that you feel your supports would enjoy the best. Start with simple material that can be produced easily and helps get your message across. You can also share other's information, especially if it aligns with your mission and cause you think would engage them. You can literally even place a poll asking what type of material they’d like to see on the site and give them that.
Some ideas to get you started include memes of cute or thought provoking pictures or quotes that include your logo and can be easily shared on other platforms as well. Engaging posts on the aspects of your cause, you can include statistics, research and other ways of showing the same information to give your material something special. Or use videos, even short ones made on your smartphone that show your supporters what's being done and how getting involved can help make a difference. You can do all sorts of things to mix it up and keep your supporters engaged and attract new ones.
At first it may seem like you’re throwing things against the wall to see what sticks, but over time as you get analytical data you’ll see patterns of engagement that you can use to further tweak your social media interactions to become more tailored to your own specific audience.
How to Ask for Donations Using Social Fundraising Tools
Your charity’s page isn’t the only thing you’ll need to set up on Facebook. In order to take full advantage of the platform, you’ll also need to apply to use their fundraising tools which you can do here. The application process can take up to an hour to complete and as long as 3 weeks to get approval, so best to get started ASAP!
You do need to be a legal 501(c) in order to be accepted, and you can find the application requirements here. A warning here, their requirements are quite stringent and they do ask for a lot of information. If at all possible it would be helpful to use someone that has experience with these types of applications. If that’s just not possible, then use the link above to start collecting all the required documents and data, it’s definitely worth the time and effort to do this step.
One thing to note is since Facebook also owns Instagram, by applying for the fundraising tools on Facebook, you’ll also get the same access for your Instagram account.
Once you get approval, you’ll gain access to a host of tools including a fundraising tool that allows peer-to-peer fundraising abilities and can dramatically increase the overall profitability of any fundraiser. Their donate tool is another perk that you can use on anything from posts to videos, giving your supporters a chance to give right inside Facebook.
Facebook Live is an awesome way to incorporate live streaming into a campaign while also incorporating a donate tool right inside your live stream. And your donors don’t even need to leave the platform at any time in order to make a donation. Coupled with a platform like PayBee that can host multiple live stream events at one time and from one dashboard, you can encompass a global presence all from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
Although we’ve already gone over their ad system, don’t forget as an official nonprofit on their platform, you’re allowed to use their ads to specifically target your donors or individuals who have engaged with your online presence. This gives you a lot more opportunities to get supporters to become actual donors or volunteers.
Facebook has their own giving tools and are a great way to harness the power of their platform for any charity or foundation, and while perfect for smaller charities, their tools are still somewhat limited. Plus they are platform specific. So if you need something a bit more robust, check out our free demo of Paybee here and see how our own charity specific platform integrates with your approach to give you nonprofit a major edge.
Allow Your Donor to Make a Donation Using the Donate Button
The donate button is an important development Facebook has made to all charitable organization's looking to fundraise on their platform. It’s super easy to use and a big plus is they can be used anywhere within the platform. You can place them on every post on your profile if you’d like, or every video. You can even include them in Live streaming events. Plus you can offer your donors a recurring donation option or a matching gift using these for any campaign.
All of your donations are collected, tracked and you can even add automatic thank you for your donation messages all inside Facebook giving many users piece of mind when it comes to their charitable giving.
In order to be able to receive donations through the platform, you need to either have a verified Paypal account or a MetaPay account, or both. You’re probably already familiar with Paypal, but did you know PayPal offers a PayPal Giving Fund specifically for nonprofits that collects your donations without charging you fees for them? So if you haven’t applied for that yet, now is the time.
MetPay is another option to collect donations and works through Facebook. Similar to other online payment processors, MetaPay require you to set up your account through Facebook by adding your nonprofit’s banking details. The name of the banking account must align with your Facebook information, so be sure the name on your bank account matches the certified name on your 501(c) documents or it can seriously delay your application to MetaPay.
With either of these, or better both payment options, your donors will be able to pay with credit cards, their own PayPal or MetaPay accounts, plus a host of other accepted payment options. Plus everything that you get done for your Facebook account can also be used on Instagram, so take full advantage of both platforms at the same time.
Creating a Visually Compelling Facebook Page for Marketing and Fundraising
The most important thing when it comes to building your Facebook profile is to remember the word professional. We can not covey to you the importance of how people react to a professional looking online presence to one that looks like you cobbled it together while sitting at your kitchen table.
When it comes time to actually setting up your nonprofit's media profile, a big mistake individuals often make is just to add a quick header and some information without ever thinking about a blueprint or what their overall goals for their marketing strategy are. This is a huge mistake for many reasons.
When people see your account for the first time they are deciding whether or not your nonprofit is worth following or engaging with. They are looking to see if you resonate with their own values and whether or not your charity looks competent in reaching their mission’s goals if they were to donate to your cause.
This all happens in just a few seconds, and many of the factors that lead them to follow, subscribe or make a donation are subconscious. The good news is, these decisions are well documented and mostly basic strategies and can all be completely controlled by you if you take the time to plan out your social media strategy.
You really need to get the idea out of your head that everyone should donate to your charity just because you’re doing the right thing. That may happen for a few donations, but overall the most financially successful charities and foundations have solid business plans and marketing strategies when it comes to their funding.
And with all of the tools available today to create everything you could possible need to create a professional looking presence (try Canva – the free version is enough!), there’s no excuse not to put in the effort! You can literally do everything necessary right from your own smartphone, and often for free (we’ve included a list at the end of this article for you!).
But first, let’s get a clear understanding of all the key characteristics of a successful presence for nonprofits and then we’ll take a look at a few real life examples to illustrate our point even further.
Consistent Branding: Consistency of branding should be obvious not just on your cover and perhaps log, but it should be demonstrated throughout your post and your website. Someone coming from your website to your profile, or visa-versa, should feel they are in the right place and both entities should have a cohesive flow to the branding, message and overall feel.
High-Quality Visuals: Try to always use the highest quality visuals and clips possible. You want to portray you’re a successful organization and not on the brink of collapse. Potential donors place their money in organizations they feel have the ability to succeed with their missions, high quality visuals is a signal that if they donate with you, their money won’t go to waste. Plus high quality visuals also get shared more often!
Interactive Posts: Don’t simply write large walls of text all the time. Mix it up! Engage your audience with interactive content like polls, quizzes, or Q&A sessions to get them involved more deeply and bond with your charity and cause. Doing things like this can also give you valuable insights on what your audience likes the most so you can do more of the same.
Features: Facebook has really been stepping up their game when it comes to assisting nonprofits with fundraising on their platform. Tools like Facebook Live, events, and fundraisers are all tools you need to take advantage of. They are free to use and can really make a difference when making a donation ask.
Regular Updates: Regularly updating your profile is important for many reasons. First off, you want everyone to know your charity still exists, and if your last post was in 2020, they may think your charity no longer exists and move on to the next one. Then there’s engagement. The more you can get your followers to engage with your information, the stronger your relationship becomes with them. So the more you connect with new information, the more opportunities there are for getting those donations.
Storytelling: Stories of real people and events always spark emotion and speak to your followers. Especially when you’ve run a successful campaign and can demonstrate how your donors support has helped solve real world problems and how new donors can get involved to do the same. These real life and personal stories create a very strong bond with all your followers and can help differentiate your charity from the plethora of others on the platform.
Call to Action: You’re doing all of this hard work for a reason, to gain support to further your mission and cause. Adding clear call to actions, whether it be signing up for your newsletter or asking for donations, unless you ask, the chance your followers will just do these things is slim. Clear calls to action signal to your followers exactly what they should be doing to support your organization. Many people want to get involved, give them clear instructions on how to do so.
To illustrate our points above, we’ve included two mental health pages that we feel work well and are doing their job at grabbing a potential donor’s interest while at the same time conveying the feeling of a successful organization that is working towards their mission while being supported.
Parenting Mental Health
Parenting Mental Health is a nonprofit that aims to support the parents of children with mental health issues. And as you can see in the picture of their account, their mission is clearly communicated the second you land on their profile.
Their cover photo is clear and professional looking while at the same time also conveying the problem they’re seeking to assist people with. They also se the same messaging and logo on both their website and their social media. So if you’re jumping form one to the other, you never feel like you went to the wrong place. Their branding is complete through out all their properties.
Although they don’t seem to post as often as they can, they do manage to get a number of them up each month. They are often engaging and professional looking, and often include story telling. And they offer a variety of topics from helpful tips to stories of donors and followers who have been supported by their existence.
Overall a solid presence and we suggest having a look to see what aspects you can use in your own planning.
MQ Mental Health Research
Another well thought out Facebook page, MQ Mental Health Research invests in world-class scientific research into mental health conditions. And as you can see they have incorporated very unique branding in their logo as well as throughout each post.
They also post quite often engaging well with their supporters. They are also getting their supporters involved by asking them questions like what they feel MQ should invest in, or where they feel research is lacking. They’re including their supporters in their mission in real ways.
They also have clear calls to action as well as using many of the other key points we listed above. This would make another great reference to look at to see what aspects you can incorporate into your own profile.
One of the best ways to really understand this in action is to some of your own research. Type in your own keywords you feel someone would be using in order to find your charity, something like animal charities or helping the poor nonprofit.
Once you’ve found a list, carefully look through all of them and see which ones grab your attention and which you feel you’d most likely never donate to. Then think to yourself why you feel this way and jot down notes that can help you establish a presence that you believe would best resonate with your own potential donors.
Tip: Update your cover photo using the same photo, but include an upcoming event so anyone coming to your profile is aware of the event the second they engage with you. Just be sure to always keep this updated once the event has passed with the next one.
Effective Posting Strategies for your Donors
When it comes to engaging with your audience on Facebook, the reality is the average engagement rate for a Facebook Page post is only about 0.07% due to the changes Facebook has made in their algorithm. That’s pretty dismal news and an important consideration when deciding if Facebook is a viable option to grow your charity.
But remember, that statistic is the average, it doesn’t mean you can’t improve on that number.
One way you can improve your chances of being successful on social media is constancy. Ideally you should be posting every single day. It’s also a good idea to figure out when your audience is most active on Facebook and make sure to post then. Thankfully there are tools where you can load up all your material on and they’ll automatically post each day at designated times for you that can take some of the weight off. That’s of course assuming you can plan and create all your information ahead of time.
Another way to reach more followers is to post all different types of information. Mix it up as much as you can. Some types of content get more reach like memes, clips and shorts that are often shared more than the typical post format. So try a variety of different types to see what’s engaging the most, then create more of that type of communication.
You can also use audience generated information any time they talk about or mention your non-profit. Sharing a post like this on your timeline can really add authority and trust with newcomers to your account and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Leveraging Ads Software for Asking for Donations
Due to the extremely low engagement numbers mentioned above, many nonprofits have turned to paid ads to reach their audiences. And although this is an investment of both time and money, the results are often worth the effort.
Today’s Facebook offers all sorts of tools and ad types that appear in News Feeds, Stories, or as banners on the side of the page. Just about any type of ad is available in the form of clips and footage, images, carousels, slideshows, or text so you can target with the types of media that engage your specific clientele the best.
It’s best to begin with a clear objective, or what exactly do you want to achieve if someone sees and clicks on your ad. This can range from simply raising awareness, driving donations, or increasing an upcoming event attendance. The more focused you can be, the less money you’ll need to spend on your ads.
Once you have a clear objective in mind, you need to also get clear on what your targeted audience will be. For example, you can target individuals based on demographics and hone in on people using Facebook in your specific county or city. Or you can go wider and target people in your state that belong to groups having to do with pets and animals. The more you think about your audience and can narrow down and center in on who you want to see your ads, the more effective your campaigns will end up being.
If you've been accepted as a legal charity, you can also use your ads to promote your fundraising campaigns. You can advertise using any of the criteria we already mentioned, but you can also use targeting for fundraisers and target only donors that have given on Facebook previously, or only people that subscribe making your ads as focused as possible. Imagine every new event being able to target those individuals that have already demonstrated their desire to help with a donation, or continuing to offer supporters a chance to become a donor with each new event.
The next step in using ads wisely is using the highest quality images, videos or your proffered media types with strong clear calls-to-action (CTAs). Think about what would grab your attention if you saw that media type in your own feed. Would you click on it? Does it compel you in some way? You need to get a user to click while at the same time avoiding clickbait type headlines.
Once you have everything the next step is to create your ad and set your daily budget spend. On the ad dashboard you’ll see all sorts of options for you ads, including the options we’ve already gone over. Truth be told, the automatic ads option is actually very good and can allow most organizations to run their ads automatically once you decide on the above options. And the longer you run your ads, the better they’ll perform.
The last step is to take advantage of the analytics tools available within your account. These tools work in real time and can track every single step of the individuals journey from seeing the ad, to either completing your CTA or not. This is valuable information that can let you know if you need to tweak your ads to secure more engagement, or your CTAs in order to close more often.
Although this isn’t a comprehensive overview of Facebook ads, as there is a lot of information regarding them, this should give you a good idea on why they’re an important option, and how you can use them to reach the people you want to reach. You’ll need to dig into this topic a lot more to understand if paying for ads is a profitable venture or not. But it’s nice to know you do have this option.
Free Tools to Create Amazing Pages
To create a visually compelling and engaging Facebook spaces for your nonprofit, there are several free tools and software available that can help you with graphics, informational planning, and analytics:
- Canva: A user-friendly graphic design tool with templates specifically for social media posts. It's great for creating eye-catching photos and infographics.
- Hootsuite or Buffer: These are social media management tools that allow you to schedule posts, manage multiple accounts, and track engagement. Both offer free plans which are quite useful for managing your profile.
- Insights: This is Facebook's own analytics tool. It provides valuable data on your content's performance, including engagement rates, best posting times, audience demographics, and more.
- Pablo by Buffer: This tool allows you to create engaging visuals for your social media. It's simple to use and offers a range of images and formatting options.
- GIMP or Pixlr: These are free image editing tools that are alternatives to Adobe Photoshop. They are useful for more advanced image editing.
- Unsplash and Pixabay: These websites offer high-quality, royalty-free images that you can use. A great resource for finding visuals that enhance your content.
- Google Analytics: While not directly for Facebook, Google Analytics can be used to track the success of your Facebook-driven traffic to your website and learn what your vistors are doing within your section.
- Trello or Asana: These project management tools can be useful for planning your content calendar and collaborating with your team on text creation.
- Mailchimp: For email marketing and integration with your social media efforts and as a simple email host. It's helpful for newsletters and email campaigns you can use to engage and contact your supporters, with the ability to share these on your Facebook account to drive more traffic while allowing your supporters to contact you.
- Later or Planoly: These are visual article planners specifically for social media. They help you visually plan and schedule your Instagram, Facebook, tiktok and Twitter material.
- SurveyMonkey or Google Forms: Useful for creating surveys and polls to engage with your audience and gather feedback. You can include these in your mail and other forms of communication as well.
- Bitly: A tool for shortening URLs, which is useful for tracking the performance of the links you share.
Each of these tools serves a specific purpose in the creation, scheduling, and analysis of your information and can significantly enhance the professionalism and effectiveness of your nonprofit's social media presence.
Understanding how to ask for donations on the world’s number one largest platform is a must in today’s crowded nonprofit sector. Think of this platform as a type of crowdfunding website that can bring your organization the potential ability to have close to 5 billion people see any campaign you decide to launch.
We hope this complete guide on how to ask for donations on Facebook unlocks the potential of social platforms like Facebook, and their ability to help organizations with their fundraising ideas and success as well as connect with supports and get their message across.