3 ways to build a sustainable fundraising strategy “Beyond Facebook”

Facebook Fundraising has created new opportunities for how nonprofits approach fundraising, but is still in its early life, and so optimizing Facebook fundraisers to make them work for your nonprofit can be an interesting challenge – one which we at GivePanel can undoubtedly help you to tackle. 

In this blog, we’re going to look at the “Beyond Facebook” model, which will help you move from using Facebook Fundraising just for supporter acquisition and short-term revenue generation, to a channel that aids you in converting new supporters onto your owned media channels (such as email and CRM) – increasing the lifetime value of those supporters.

At GivePanel, the product we’ve developed gives nonprofits like yours the opportunity to help make Facebook’s fundraising technology work better than Facebook’s free tools. Facebook’s not always a great experience for fundraisers, especially when it comes to engaging supporters beyond the Facebook platform.

GivePanel’s tools mean that fundraisers can create an amazing user experience for supporters inside of Facebook, whilst also opening up the opportunity for building relationships with those same supporters on other platforms that the nonprofit owns – creating a more sustainable fundraising programme.

After all, you don’t want to rely on Facebook completely for all of your fundraising efforts. Hence, the need to look “Beyond Facebook”. See what we did there?

But how do you go from offering a compelling Facebook Fundraising experience, to engaging those supporters beyond Facebook? (Okay, we’ll stop saying it now…)

Strategy #1 – Overcome the F.U.D.

F.U.D. stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt – common emotions to overcome when you’re planning a Facebook Fundraising campaign or Facebook Challenge, especially if you’re doing this for the first time!

Want to overcome F.U.D. when it comes to Facebook Fundraising? You need the DINOSAUR framework. Yes, really.

D is for “Downsides”: You have to measure what you are giving up if you don’t do it. (i.e. increased acquisition costs, lost revenue, etc).

I is for ”Incentives”: Understand what Facebook gets out of it / Understand what YOU get out of it. It’s a two way street.

N is for “Not Bad”: Social media is not inherently bad – PEOPLE use it for good or bad!. Social media exists. It’s not a FAD. It’s here to stay. If social media is ONLY used for bad then that WOULD be bad! Charities can and should be a force for good on social media platforms, and we stand by that. 

O is for “Objectivity”: Look at what Facebook is doing to address difficult issues, not just the F.U.D. For example, Facebook is net carbon neutral and has put in place independent content review boards, child safety boards, etc.

S is for “Supporter-Led”: Charities need to be focused on where supporters are spending time and how they are behaving.

A is for ”Accountability”: As a public company with shareholders based in the US, Facebook is accountable to US law. Compare that to TikTok which is not public, and a Chinese-owned company. 

U is for “Unknown Opportunities”: You have to factor in unknown future opportunities (i.e. those that were on Facebook first, made $$$). Who knows what you will miss out on next? You have to be “in it to win it”.

R is for ”Risk”: Just because you use Facebook doesn’t mean you should not minimize the RISK of being reliant on a single platform.

Here are a few more tips if you are struggling to overcome F.U.D. and get buy in on committing resource internally to Facebook fundraising:

  1. Show case studies of other (similar) organizations – take a look at all of GivePanel’s case studies here.
  2. Put a time limit on a test (we call these “Pilots”). Tell everyone that if it’s a disaster then you will learn lots, and don’t have to repeat it.
  3. Demonstrate how you will collect owned “contactable” supporter data  (e.g. email addresses) that can be used for the long term in other areas of fundraising.

Strategy #2 – Plan a Facebook Fundraising “Pilot” 

Success on Facebook drives internal change more than anything. There’s no point in having a “Beyond Facebook” strategy unless you are generating lots of revenue and new supporters on Facebook!

The simplest and quickest thing is to pilot a Facebook Fundraising Challenge campaign.

Why Facebook Challenges?

Our guide on how to plan the perfect Facebook Fundraising Challenge has loads of reasons why, including:

  1. EVERYTHING is kept on Facebook (for the event): Because everything happens on the Facebook ecosystem, Facebook challenges see much higher activation and conversion rates than other platforms. Participants don’t have to set up new accounts or try to understand an unfamiliar system. And it works: our data shows that event registrations forms get conversion rates of 93%!
  2. Challenge people to do something they want to do: Participants do the challenge activity in their own time. This suits them because they can fit it around their lives; and it’s great for charities because it means much fewer logistics than an in-person event. 
  3. You can create a new Facebook Group, just for the challenge: The group encourages and motivates individuals to do the challenge every day, and to fundraise.
  4. Challenges can be run from start to end in one calendar month: GivePanel recommends up to four challenges per year. You can experiment with different challenge concepts that will appeal to different audiences; and spread them out to target different seasonal trends, such as people looking to get fit for the New Year or at the start of the summer. Any more than four, you risk exhausting your audiences and drastically reducing your return on investment. 

You may also be asking if Facebook Challenges have become too saturated. Fear not – you have not “missed the boat” on this. The audiences for these challenges are massive, and hugely diverse: it is the audience for all varieties of fitness. 

The magic of the Facebook Challenge model is that they appeal to regular people, who just want to get a bit fitter. If you get one set up now, you’re still early to the game and can make your challenges a big success.

Strategy #3 – Collect “Owned” Data + Start Journey

The final strategy is to focus on gathering “owned” data, such as email addresses and phone numbers. This is supporter data that you can control “Beyond Facebook”. (Okay, we had to say it just one more time!).

This strategy involves collecting supporter data BEFORE people fundraise by getting them to register for an incentive. Offering a super simple incentive like a free t-shirt works best.

If you’re wondering how many t-shirts to get and how to make the budgets balance from this investment, we’ve created a free Facebook Challenge calculator tool. Simply enter what you think you can spend on swag like t-shirts, fulfilment of the actual challenge and any external support you need. The tool will generate projections for you and you can tweak the details until you get the results that you would like to see. 

However, once a Facebook Challenge has started, you can’t go back afterwards, so make sure you have the process in place to ask for supporter data, including:

  1. The channels you want to use – everyone remembers email addresses, but don’t forget phone numbers! 
  2. The right GDPR-compliant consent.

Don’t rely on using Facebook Messenger as the only channel for communicating with your fundraisers, as this isn’t sustainable. Get the supporter data while they are on Facebook, but then think of ways that you can engage with those same supporters beyond Facebook.

Beyond Facebook: Key Takeaways

By now, we’ve established that the future of fundraising is Social Fundraising. But for many organizations they need to overcome the Social Media F.U.D.

You should be using Facebook now with cash donation or supporter acquisition campaigns, while thinking about the future too and converting donors to sustainable “owned” relationships.

To get started, pilot a Facebook Challenge for your nonprofit organization. Remember, if you follow the right strategies outlined in this article here, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. You can have your cake and eat it, generating more income AND data AND control!

Ready to explore Facebook Challenges? 

Take a look at our guide to planning the perfect Facebook Fundraising Challenge in 2022. There, you can download our free Calculator Tool, enter what you think you can spend on resourcing your Facebook Challenge, and generate meaningful ROI projections.

Book a GivePanel Demo

Book your 30 minute demo with one of our awesome Facebook Fundraising specialists today to see if GivePanel could help you supercharge your Facebook fundraising. 

More Facebook Fundraising resources