5 Things to Consider When Using Social Media to Fundraise


According to M + R’s 11th Benchmarks Study of nonprofit digital advocacy, nonprofits are reaching more people, more frequently, in more places. In return, nonprofits are seeing an increase in revenue. But before turning social media followers into fundraisers, there are several components to consider. Below you will find a list of 5 things to consider when using social media to fundraise.

1. Content

Is the content your organization is putting out into the social media abyss beneficial? Is it interesting?

One way to make your content better is with storytelling. Research shows evolution has wired our brains for storytelling. In fact, the breakdown of a story directly corresponds with the way humans thinks – cause and effect.

Humans think in narratives all day long – What will I buy at the grocery store? What will I do at work today? What will the kids want to eat after school?

Not only are humans accustomed to thinking in narratives, they’re drawn to listening to other people’s narratives. Humans enjoy listening to other people’s narratives, in hopes of relating it to existing experiences.

Want to see examples? Check out 8 Examples of Nonprofit Storytelling Done Right by Nonprofit Hub.

2. Channels

For successful social media fundraising, it’s important to know your organization’s channels and which channels work best for it.

Facebook is the largest social media platform with an estimated 2 billion active monthly visitors. Facebook’s purpose is to allow you to connect you with friends, upload photos, share the latest stories, etc.

According to YouCaring, 46.9% of YouCaring fundraiser organizers said Facebook contributed the most to their success.

Facebook can work wonders for your organization and its fundraisers if it’s built a strong community of friends and followers on its site, but if it hasn’t, your organization can learn how to by visiting sites like Social Media Examiner and Post Planner.

Other channels to consider when spreading the news about your organization or fundraiser – YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. Check out these social media platform statistics from Statista. 

Most famous social network sites worldwide as of September 2017, ranked by number of active users (in millions) (Photo: Statista)

3. Audience

Define your audience. What does your average Facebook follower look like? A woman? A man? How old are they? What do they like to do?

Sarah is 35-44 years old, has two kids, enjoys reading, art and cooking and shops at Wegmans. Sarah is your target demographic.

After defining your audience, you can begin to cater your content towards that audience. How can you cater your content to be interesting for Sarah?

Learn more: Social Media Demographics to Inform a Better Segmentation Strategy

4. Pace

Defining your audience is just as important as defining your pace.

When it comes to social media and fundraising, not only do you need to think about the content your organization is pushing out, you need to think about the pace. If you push too much promotional fundraising content out to your followers, you might start to lose them. If you post too little promotional fundraising content, you might not run a successful campaign.

Pace your content. Post when needed but don’t over-share. Engage your audience. Keep your content fresh. Set a regular pattern of giving information and asking your audience to do something. Think three days of updates and post on the fourth day with an ask — it can be asking for a donation, encouraging your audience to share or maybe asking them to sign a petition or volunteer (NonProfitPRO).

Track your engagement. How are your followers reacting to your posts? If you’re not getting the response you intended, create a different plan of attack.

5. Goals and how to reach them

Before starting a fundraising campaign on social media, you must set goals. In addition to setting goals, you must have a plan to reach those goals.

The well-known fundraising site Classy uses the SMART method to define attainable goals. The method looks like this:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Ambitious/Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Based

Are your goals specific? Can they be measured? Are they ambitious enough but also attainable? Are those goals relevant? Lastly, can those goals meet the deadlines you have set forth?

Once your organization has established these goals, how will it reach them? What is your plan?

If you’re looking to raise a certain amount of money, show your donors what their contributions will do. The more you can tell people what their money will be specifically used for, the better. 

Photo: Operation Warm

Your fundraising goal might be to add monetary value value to a campaign or to spread awareness to a cause, but what about the lasting fundraising goals for your organization? Are you attempting to drive people back to your site? Do you want to connect with new prospects? Is your goal to connect with donors?

Learn more about nonprofit social media goals via The Fundraising Authority. 

Throughout the month of October, Operation Warm is focusing on fundraising. To learn more, check out these fundraising blogs:


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