Facebook’s new fundraising tools: What to consider when using the new non-profit features
by Conal Dougan
For several years, Facebook has been steadily turning itself from an individual-oriented social media platform into a business-oriented marketing machine. In pushing down organic reach and pulling up paid reach, making its advertising features more powerful and introducing Business Manager, it has been trying to entice more businesses to spend more money through the platform.
This is no different for non-profits – the potential reach and impact per dollar through Facebook far exceeds any other kind of current marketing tools, online or otherwise. Facebook, therefore, has been busy introducing new features for non-profits to use in order to maximise results.
Donate, Donate, Donate
The most obvious ‘new’ feature for non-profits is the Donate function. This has been extended to three areas.
1. In-page donation: Facebook has for a long time had a Donate button available for non-profits to use on their page, but in the past this just acted as a redirect to an external website – the non-profit’s own donation page. Now, supporters can donate without leaving Facebook – the Donate button can be added to a page or a post, and the user journey from sentiment to transaction is as short and smooth as possible.
2. Adverts Donate button: Facebook has expanded the scope for calls to action in Adverts Manager or Power Editor. Now, if a page is set up as a Non-Profit Organisation, a wide array of options for a call to action button have been opened up. Prime among these is the Donate button. This still just redirects users to the non- profit’s own landing page, but it makes for a clearer and more engaging call to action than the old Learn More button.
3. Live video fundraisers: Facebook has been pushing its live video function for a couple of years now – boosting the viewing figures to extreme levels, well beyond what the standard of the content actually deserves. Now, when non-profits are using live video, they can add a Donate button to the stream. This has so far been much under-utilised, requiring the kind of large digital team, technical know-how and forward planning that few non-profits have. However, the potential reach that live video has makes this an enticing option.
Don’t Get Distracted
It would be easy to get distracted by the new fancy charitable tools that Facebook is offering, and to rely too heavily on them to bring in results. However, the new Donate buttons are only as good as the campaign around them – there still needs to be strong messaging, imagery and other marketing components.
What also needs to be taken into consideration is the user journey. With the new in- Facebook Donate function, do you actually want to keep users within Facebook, or would you rather direct them to your own landing pages, with your own branding and response mechanism?
The answer to this is not straightforward. It can be cheaper and quicker to recruit leads or capture donations directly in Facebook, but without the opportunity to give the supporter more information about your cause, it can mean that they don’t go on to support you on a longer term basis.
One example of this is a lead generation campaign that we ran recently for a US environmental non-profit. It produced a lower cost per lead when signing people up within Facebook rather than directing them to the non-profit’s landing page. However, there was a higher conversion rate to donations from those that signed up through the non-profit’s landing page than those who signed up in Facebook.
As with all marketing, we would recommend testing approaches when activity begins and analysing which approach produces the KPIs you want to achieve. This can be frustrating when Facebook offers such quick wins, but this doesn’t always necessarily correlate with the best results long-term.