Trude Jacobsen is the Secretary General of Dråpen i Havet / A Drop in the Ocean, a non-profit in Norway who helps provide support to refugees. We spoke to her about how Facebook fundraising is helping them to raise vital funds for their work.
Could you tell us what the mission of Dråpen i Havet / A Drop in the Ocean is?
The mission of Dråpen i Havet / A Drop in the Ocean is to make it easy for everyone to help refugees.
When did you apply for Facebook’s Giving Tools and how have you found it so far?
We applied in September 2017, however we didn’t know that we’d been approved until we suddenly discovered that the first fundraiser had been created in December 2017! The first fundraiser was created by a 78-year ‘young’ woman who is a great supporter of the organisation.
For us, Facebook’s Giving Tools have turned out to be one of the best ways to fundraise for things that are needed urgently. And this really lives up to our mission, which is to make it easy for everyone to help refugees.
You’ve set up a few, very successful, Facebook Fundraisers for A Drop in the Ocean on your personal Facebook, rather than on the charity’s page. Is there a reason you chose your own profile?
A Drop in the Ocean started as a personal initiative, due to the urgent need for help for refugees in Greece back in 2015. I actually never planned to establish a new humanitarian organisation. I first just set up a Facebook group so that friends and family could follow my short trip to Lesvos in August 2015.
Due to the large number of people who joined the group and who wanted to help, and the huge need for assistance on the Greek island, the organisation was “born”. Most of our supporters have been with us right from the start in 2015.
The most successful fundraiser we have had, was set up while I was personally in the refugee camps. I was able to describe the situation from a personal experience and I think this personal touch makes more people want to contribute. I believe there is often a distance between Aid organisations and the donors, but when you manage to bring the need to life, and personally show how funds are spent, it becomes more compelling for the donor to want to donate. They feel that their contribution actually helps – and it does indeed.
What advice would you share with other nonprofit leaders who want to set up their own Facebook Fundraiser for their cause?
Always be honest with the needs you want to support, and don’t generalise too much. People love to donate to buy shoes for a child, for example, but they may not be too enthusiastic about covering general costs for the administrative work. Use the funds you collect for the purpose quickly, and make sure you update the fundraiser with how funds are spent. Never ask for donations for items that you don’t intend to cover quickly.
And be prepared to spend a lot of time saying thank you to your donors.
Is there anything you wished you’d done differently or any lessons you learnt that you can share?
We are a very small team without any experts to advise us on how to do it. However, I think the best lesson is testing, failing and learning from it. That way you will eventually find what your supporters respond too, which leads to successful fundraising. When it comes to fundraising through social media, I can’t think of anything I wish we had done differently.
What % of your overall income is now from Facebook?
Last year, which was our first full year with Facebook fundraising tools, 38% of our income came through this source. So far in 2019 we have around 45% of our total income through Facebook. Our biggest fundraiser to date raised $154,000!
What do you think your number 1 secret of success is?
We are not afraid of trying and testing. I think that is totally necessary and the reason why we succeed. We engage people from all over the world in our work helping refugees, and even though they are volunteers, they know they are an important part of the organisation – the cause is close to their heart and therefore easy for them to support.
What’s your biggest challenge with Facebook fundraising?
It is challenging not knowing more about the donors, as we would like to interact even more with them. Through GivePanel, we can reach out to more people and that gives us the opportunity to build a closer connection. We are very happy to be the first organisation in Norway using this tool, and so far it is saving us a lot of time when it comes to saying thank you to our fundraisers.
Just like Dråpen i Havet / A Drop in the Ocean you too can use GivePanel to reach out, thank and build a relationship with your Facebook Fundraisers, why not book in for a demo with us?