Online fundraising is becoming more popular each year. It is offering new opportunities for nonprofits to improve their fundraising success while trying out new channels.
As more people are inspired to donate online, social media can make an extremely useful addition to your fundraising strategy. It can help you reach a younger audience but also to strengthen the relationship with your existing supporters.
According to the Giving Report, 29% of people consider social media to be the communication tool that most inspires giving.
So, how can you make your fundraising more social? Here are ten simple ways to include social media in your fundraising strategy to improve your success.
1) Be clear on your goals
Right before adding social media to your fundraising strategy, it’s useful to decide on the goals you want to achieve. It’s not enough to say ‘I want to use social media for fundraising’.
Set SMART(Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goals to make the tracking of your success easier.
For example, you can use social media at different stages of your fundraising journey. You can raise awareness about your cause, you can improve the engagement with your existing supporters but you can also make direct fundraising asks on specific channels.
No matter what you pick as your main focus, setting your goals early will help you create more relevant content to meet these objectives.
2) Think of your audience – who do you really want to target?
A good way to improve your social media fundraising success is to be clear on your target audience. Not everyone who follows you on Facebook is necessarily following you on other channels too. Also, not everyone who signed up to your email newsletter is following you on Facebook or other social media channels.
That’s why you need to confirm your ideal target audience for each online fundraising campaign. For example, if you want to run a fundraising campaign to appeal to young adults and you know that your Facebook followers are mostly aged between 35-55 then you might want to focus on other channels for your main messaging.
3) Pick the right platforms
Picking the right platforms (or channels) for your fundraising campaign can greatly determine its success. Start by looking at your most successful channels and explore whether there are growing opportunities to try it out.
Aim to spend a large amount of your time on the channels that you’re most familiar with. These are the channels that you’re already engaging your followers, which makes it easier to create successful campaigns. Moreover, you have more chances to get your message noticed by your existing audience rather than those who are still new to your content.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t explore new social media channels that could make a great addition to your fundraising campaign. For example, if you want to target younger demographics more creatively, you could try out Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok if you want to be more engaging with your message to grab their attention.
4) Tailor the messaging to each platform
Cross-platform messaging can help you get your message to stand out. In fact, you have more chances for your supporters to pay attention to your messaging if they see it on more than one channel.
You can combine offline marketing with email campaigns along with social media to strengthen the message of your fundraising campaign. When it comes to social media, every platform has different guidelines for the content types, the copy and the visuals that work best.
Thus, you need to tailor your posts based on each platform’s best practices.
Twitter limits tweets to 280 characters and they need to include engaging visual assets in order to stand out on the newsfeed.
Instagram posts need to include visual content of high quality, and you can include long-form captions to tell a story.
Video tends to work better than other content types on Facebook but you also need to consider the ideal video length and how to make your videos more appealing. How about creating videos with captions to make them more accessible and easier to watch even when muted?
Although it’s a time-consuming process, it will show that you’re paying attention to your audience and their different expectations on each channel.
5) Tell a story, don’t just make the ask
Fundraising should not be just about making the ask. Use social media to tell a story to make it easier for your supporters to learn more about your cause and warm them up to the ask.
Authentic stories can make it easier for a supporter to become a donor as they provide first-hand experience and authenticity.
Think of all your posts as the narration of a story and create a sequence that will improve your fundraising journey.
Help someone who doesn’t know much about your organisation to find out the key areas of impact. Similarly, help your engaged supporters to convert into donors through authentic stories of how every contribution matters.
We have created Story Builder, a storytelling feature in Lightful’s social media management platform, based on the idea of using social media to tell your story more effectively (you can try it for
6) Create an engagement plan during fundraising campaigns
The launch of a fundraising campaign can be busy but it can also be more rewarding when you set up an engagement plan. It’s not enough to just plan your social media posts as you also want to make sure that you’re keeping your followers engaged throughout the campaign.
Social media provides the perfect link between the fundraising ask and the opportunity to bring your supporters closer to your cause.
The engagement plan can involve:
- Dedicated time to reply to the mentions
- Thanking those who share your posts
- Special posts to thank your donors who talk about your cause online
- Ideas on how to keep your followers interested in your campaign
- Different ways to make your posts more interactive (creating polls, asking questions, etc)
7) Celebrate milestones
How about using your social media channels to share the progress of your fundraising goals? You can even include these posts in your engagement plan.
It’s a great method to keep the momentum going whilst encouraging your followers to help you reach your goal.
Don’t be afraid to celebrate even the smallest wins. You can set different milestones throughout the campaign and you can highlight them more creatively (from creating a team video to funny GIFs and emojis to keep everyone excited and motivated).
8) Involve your ambassadors
Your ambassadors can be the key to take your fundraising campaign to the next level. Your social media posts can only reach a set number of people organically but your ambassadors and your most loyal supporters can help you spread the word to an extended network of people.
Social media can help you activate and empower your supporters to turn into your best ambassadors. All you need is a plan to provide them with the copy and the visuals that they can include in their own posts.
A comms toolkit can help them find out more details about your campaign, your goals and your messaging. This way, no matter how busy they are they can still support your campaign without necessarily spending too much time on it.
Make them feel involved as early as possible and make sure you acknowledge their support by thanking them when they post.
You can even track their levels of influence to gamify their experience and reward them for their support.
9) Focus on your call-to-action
Your call-to-action can significantly affect the outcome of your fundraising efforts. Your main ask should be simple and clear. It’s good to try out different variations of the call-to-action but all of them should be direct and clear enough for anyone who wants to follow the next steps.
For example, if you’re tweeting about your fundraising campaign, you want to make sure that your link to the donation page is easy to notice it. Having too many hashtags right after the link can get the CTA (call-to-action) lost at a quick glance.
Moreover, you need to make sure that your call-to-action is linking to the best possible page. Your donation page should also be clear and the donation process should be easy and smooth on every device.
A fundraising campaign that is engaging on social media and doesn’t reach the set target might be suffering from the wrong CTA or a problem in your fundraising journey as part of your website. It’s better to test these as early as possible to detect any potential risks in the success of your campaign.
10) Track success and keep testing new ideas
The measurement of your performance will help you create more successful posts. Tracking the progress of meeting your objectives can keep you accountable while it’s also motivating you to know where you are and what you need to do next.
You don’t need to gather data that’s not relevant to your objectives though. It’s better to spend more time on analysing the most important metrics rather than collecting information that you won’t need.
Moreover, measuring the success of your posts can also inspire you to try out new ideas. Knowing your end goal is pushing you towards being more creative and social media can be the perfect medium to test new creatives.
Social media can be very useful in a fundraising campaign. It’s not just about increasing your donations but most importantly, it’s about bringing your supporters closer to your cause.
There is a great opportunity to nurture the relationship with your most engaged followers to develop long-term success.
Whether you’re just starting in including social media in a fundraising campaign or you’ve been doing this for a while, there are always new creative ideas to make your fundraising more social.
Start thinking of your next campaign, what you want to achieve and the best channels to include in your strategy.
Keep in mind, social media can lead to great success with spontaneous posts, but it’s the planning that will take your fundraising campaign to the next level.
If you’re ready to schedule your campaign’s content, you can try out Lightful, a simple social media management tool for nonprofits.