You’ve got a large, engaged Facebook following. They comment, they like, they share. But, for some reason, they’re not donating.

Frustrated? You’re not the only one.

Thankfully, about six months ago, Facebook rolled out several ways for its users to support their favorite nonprofits.

Before, if you wanted your Facebook audience to donate, you had to post a link to your donation page and hope for the best. Your followers had to see the post, click the link, leave Facebook, and complete the donation.

Now, your followers can donate without ever leaving Facebook. (And without any fees!)

We tried out these in-app fundraising tools with one of my clients. Normally, we see a very small number of donations directly from Facebook. But, we suspected that once we removed the extra step – leaving Facebook – donations would go up. And we were right. Once we implemented the new features, our Facebook donations tripled.

So, how do you try these yourself?

Well, first, you need to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Second, you need be able to collect donations directly through Facebook. (This means applying for Facebook’s Charitable Giving Tools.)

Once you’re approved, you’re ready to get started.

Here’s a run down of what Facebook offers, plus some tips on what’s worked for us.

 

Page Donate Button

Facebook gives pages the ability to have a prominent button just under their cover photo/video. Followers can book now, sign up, call now and more.

Nonprofits can use this button to ask for donations. Click on it and a pop up appears that allows users to complete a donation without navigating away from Facebook.

What we’ve learned:

  • It’s safe to assume that your nonprofit is already collecting donations online using some program or software. (My client uses Stripe.) You won’t see the Facebook donations in your donation software – Facebook has its own reporting system. When you’re pulling a  report on all donations, remember you’ll need to pull data from two places. (Maybe this is why some large nonprofits like Wounded Warrior aren’t taking direct donations on Facebook.)
  • Remember that the newsfeed is king: only a small percentage of users navigate to your profile. If you add a profile button and then post, “Donate today by clicking the donation button,” your users won’t know what button you’re talking about.
    Unless…

 

Post Donate Button

You can add a donate button directly to your posts. And it’s the same amount of work as adding an emoji or a location. When you’re crafting your post, simply click the “support nonprofit” icon and then choose your organization from the list.

This is a great tactic when you’re in the midst of a campaign and you’re going to post several times. Or when you have a clear call to action tied to your post.

What we’ve learned:

  • Facebook will track how much money your post has raised and how many people donated. (The counter is directly tied to that one post.) You’re not the only one who can see this – your users can too. So consider donating $5 or $10 yourself right after you post to get things started. No one wants to see “0 donations.”

  • Remember that, because of Facebook’s algorithm, only 10 percent of your users are seeing your content in their feeds. (And this could drop soon.) To combat this, consider investing a little money into boosting your post and ensuring more of your followers see it.

 

Peer to Peer Donations

Peer to peer fundraising isn’t new. When I was 10 years old, I asked my neighbors to support me in Boston’s annual Walk for Hunger. But online peer to peer fundraising is on the rise.

If you think about it, it makes sense. People have always trusted referrals over any other source. What’s more compelling: your best friend telling you about a great cause or a stranger?

Facebook’s take on peer to peer fundraising allows users to raise money for themselves, a Facebook friend, or a nonprofit registered with Facebook.

Users select a goal, a time frame, enter an appeal, and select a cover photo. After that, they can invite friends to the fundraiser and post updates that will show in their friends’ feeds.

What we’ve learned:

  • Facebook is pushing this pretty hard. Is your birthday coming up? Expect a notification asking you to start a fundraiser for your birthday.
  • In order for Facebook’s peer to peer fundraising to be effective, you need passionate supporters – people who will post, share, and invite people to their fundraiser. Some examples: one person invited over 900 friends to their fundraiser, another posted 8 fundraiser updates in one week, and another shared their fundraiser 11 times. All these users surpassed their goals and raised over $1,000 for their nonprofit.

 

Final thoughts

These tactics aren’t a silver bullet that are going to turn all of your Facebook followers into donors. And your Facebook following is still a unique audience – you can’t expect them to donate exactly the same, and at the same rate, as your email list.

But these tactics can certainly move the needle.

Why have Facebook’s fundraising tools proven to be effective? Well, perhaps because people don’t like to leave the website or app they’re on.

However, you can’t expect to add a donation button, do nothing else, and watch the cash roll in. Facebook’s donation features should compliment your existing Facebook strategy. You’ll need followers, passionate followers, for this to work. And that means you need to be developing powerful, moving, and engaging content.

About the Author
Katie Fulton
Katie Fulton is a Senior Strategist at Brick Factory. She works with a diverse roster of non-profits and has extensive experience in content creation, email marketing, and digital advertising.