Using Facebook fundraisers to raise money and awareness about your nonprofit is one of the most effective fundraising tools available.  Over $2B has been raised for nonprofits and personal causes since launching in 2015.  About half of those funds, $1B, have come from Facebook’s birthday fundraisers, which allow users to ask their family and friends to donate to the nonprofits they are supporting.  If your nonprofit uses Facebook’s payment platform to process donations, then there are no fees involved –  100% of the donations go to your nonprofit.  Here are 5 tips on how to promote Facebook birthday fundraisers and raise mission-critical funds for your nonprofit.

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads can be a great way to help scale your nonprofit and drive tangible results.  Leveraging paid ads can help mitigate against the decline in organic reach.  They can also help you reach new people who may be interested in your nonprofit.  Here are the steps to developing a Facebook birthday advertising campaign.

Step 1: Determine your goal.  The first step is to determine the goal of your campaign.  There are numerous goals you can choose such as driving brand awareness, directing traffic to your website, or driving conversions.  For birthday fundraising campaigns, we recommend selecting the goal as driving conversions.

Step 2: Select a campaign type.  Once you have determined your goal, you should select a campaign type that is reflective of your goal.  If you are looking to drive donations, then create a campaign with the conversions objective.

Step 3:  Select target audience.  You will then need to select the audience you want to serve with your ads.  We recommend that you start with audiences that are already favorable to your brand, such as people who like your Facebook page and existing donors on your email list.  If you target existing donors on your email list, you will need to upload that list into your Ad Set on Facebook.  Another target audience you could select is a lookalike audience, which is an audience whose characteristics resemble people who are similar to your donors but who are not your donors.  

 Once you have decided on your audience, you need to develop your targeting.  When you create a new Ads audience, search the “Detailed Targeting” field for “upcoming birthdays,” which will target audience members who have a birthday within one week.  Another option is to filter your audience by the specific birthday month you’re interested in targeting.  

Step 4: Set a budget.   Once you have chosen your objective and audience, decide on how much you want to spend and for how long your ads will run.  You can choose if you want to pay per day or if you want to set a lifetime budget for your ad.  If you are just starting off, we recommending using a $5 – $10 daily budget to help your ads gain traction, gather insights, and then adjust accordingly. 

Step 5:  Create your ad.  The next step will be to create your ad.  To create a great ad, make sure to use compelling photos that highlight your cause and motivating copy.  Creating compelling ads will also make it more likely for supporters to want to share the ad with their family and friends.

Step #6:  After you have run your ad, monitor and track its response.  You can review your ads performance in your Facebook Ad Manager page.  Analyze your ad performance by reviewing the click-through-rates, number of likes, and shares.  Try conducting A/B tests where you change the picture or text between ads and see which ones generate the most clicks.  Use the analysis to adjust your ad strategy.

Here is more information on Facebook ads.

Cause Awareness Months

Leverage the cause awareness days/months by creating a fundraising campaign around topics that would be interesting to your supporters and prospective donors.  For example, if your nonprofit is focused on hunger issues, during “September is Hunger Awareness Month”, you could ask your supporters who have birthdays in September to set up a birthday fundraiser in honor of Hunger Awareness.  One idea you could test is to create monthly themed asks.  For example, “September birthdays, set up a birthday fundraiser to support Hunger Awareness.”

Here is some more information on a list of cause awareness days and planning tips.

Newsletter

Your nonprofit newsletter is a great tool to ask your supporters to set up a birthday fundraiser.  One way you could do this is to create a regular call-out in each newsletter.  You could include a feature “Dedicate your Birthday” feature with an ask to set up a birthday fundraiser.  Another tip is to highlight past birthday fundraisers in each newsletter.  Spotlighting previous supporters is a great way to make donors feel special and more connected to your cause. It also gives supporters another idea on how they can support your cause.

Email Campaign

If you know when your donor’s birthdays are, send an email at the beginning of the month to ask them to set up a Facebook birthday fundraiser to support your nonprofit.  Other supporters you could target are volunteers and supporters who may not have a lot of discretionary income to make a direct donation but could set up a fundraiser on your behalf (i.e. students).  In your email, include a compelling rationale for why you need their help, explain how the funds will be used, and provide them with any fundraising toolkits and resources.

Testimonials

Telling a great story can be a powerful tool to acquire and inspire supporters to give.  A great story can encourage someone to give because it can help put a face behind your cause and turn an abstract idea into a real situation that is impacting real people.  Putting names and faces to those impacted vs. referring to general groups of people or just numbers and statistics, can help form connections with your cause and inspire people to help.  An emotional story is not only a great motivator to fundraise but to also share, helping drive awareness.

One way you could leverage the power of storytelling is to post stories about some of your supporters and individuals you have helped (make sure you have their permission before posting the story).  If you have a great story from a supporter that has set up a birthday fundraiser for you, reach out to them and ask them what motivated them to create the fundraiser.  You can then use that story in a future post and include a call to action to others to set up a birthday fundraiser.  Compelling stories and features tend to be highly shared, which increases your reach, drives awareness, and fundraising. 

Here is more information on the power of nonprofit storytelling.

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