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Our love/hate relationship with Facebook fundraising

Since the creation of Facebook fundraising tools in 2015, over $5 billion has been raised in nonprofit support. Facebook fundraising has really taken off in the past 3 years, but has it been helping your organization?

We’ve outlined what we like and dislike (because hate is a strong word) about Facebook fundraising campaigns below for you to carefully analyze, so you can decide how to best use this digital fundraising tool.

Like: Facebook reaches across multiple generations

Facebook continues to be an effective channel to connect with Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers. Paired with a strategic Facebook advertising campaign, you reach various donor types at every stage of the conversion funnel. 55% of those who engage with nonprofits via social media have been inspired to take further action, so a solid social media strategy is a must.

Dislike: Limited payment options

Currently, Facebook’s “on-site” donation experience only allows for credit card and Pay Pal donations. Additional payment options are continuing to become more critical to the conversion process. Donors want (and expect) to give via Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, etc. This limitation can reduce your conversion rates.

Not being able to use your own modernized donation forms where these options can exist is one of the biggest downsides to Facebook fundraising, but the lack of data capture is the greatest concern. We’ll get that to in a moment.

Like: It can’t get any easier

People can give quickly and easily when they are in Facebook without having to leave that environment. Here are a few examples:

  • If they want to set up a Fundraiser, they can create a campaign and raise money with ease.
  • The Facebook “Share” button is also gold. Your donors can hit that button and share your campaigns with their friends and family. Instantly, your brand reaches hundreds or thousands of potential donors.
  • If you allow your page to accept donations, users can launch birthday fundraising campaigns, a popular trend that requires zero effort on your end.

Did I mention this is all free? Facebook no longer has associated fees, and every dollar goes straight to your organization.

Dislike: Limited Donor Data

We left the hardest hit for last. If you utilize Facebook’s fundraising tools, your donors have a seamless user experience, but you may never know who they are.

Let’s break down the process: Users donate on the fundraising campaign page, then fill out a form that gives them the option to input their name, donation amount and their email address. The key word here is “option.” Facebook does not require donors to provide you any contact information.

The result for your organization is:

  1. Facebook donations will not be reflected in your CRM. On your end, these donations are almost anonymous. If an existing donor sends a donation via Facebook, it will not be reflected in your CRM. There are some tools and services that can help you focus on collecting some of this data, but it can be challenging and limiting.

  2. You’ve acquired a donor but can’t say thank you. The key to retention is a second gift! There is a halo period for first-time donors, and it lasts 60 days. Get a second gift within that time frame and the donor is three times more likely to renew the following year. However, if you don’t have that donor data then you can’t leverage the halo period. Not all is lost. The data that does get collected is available in the Daily Transaction Report as a .CSV file that you can import into your CRM.

1 way to get around this

We would never give you bad news without providing a little bit of help. An alternative method to Facebook fundraising is adding a call to action (CTA) to your page header.

A button can be added to your Facebook page and linked to a donation page of your choice. The downside is that taking users to an external link can lower conversion rates. If you decide to go this route, it’s essential that your landing page designs are optimized to convert.

Stop and analyze your organizational goals

When considering whether to use Facebook’s fundraising feature, think about your priorities and organizational goals, then make the best decision based on a clear understanding of impact.

Just like other channels, use of Facebook fundraising tools needs a strategy, including a data strategy. Determine this strategy built upon the strength of the relationship you plan to build with donors.

Critical thinking on what you’re going to say and do—including the data you can capture and leverage—is a must before testing this channel.

Jarred Schremmer

Jarred Schremmer has worked in multichannel fundraising, communication and direct marketing for a distinguished list of health, international relief, faith-based, arts and culture, and collegiate athletic clients since 2005. His experience across multiple nonprofit communication channels adds even more depth to his strategic leadership.

As Senior Vice President of Digital and Media Strategy, at RKD Group, Jarred currently leads dynamic teams of digital fundraising and media specialists who serve an international base of nonprofit organizations. His digital teams have a remarkable record of success helping organizations increase media reach, multiply fundraising and marketing revenue, and grow digital and multichannel donors. Jarred, who is committed to making data-driven strategic decisions, employs sophisticated donor attribution models to increase response and strengthen donor relationships for his clients.

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