Blog       How to come up with your next (winning) Facebook Challenge idea

How to come up with your next (winning) Facebook Challenge idea

Virtual fundraising events on Facebook have been incredibly successful in engaging supporters and raising funds for nonprofit organizations all over the world in recent years. However, with the constantly evolving market of social fundraising, charities need to stay on their toes if they are to find the next breakthrough concept and keep ahead of the curve. 

So, whether you think it’s hip hop or hopscotch that will be the next big thing for fundraising virtual events, we have 4 steps you’ll want to follow to choose your next Facebook Challenge concept. 

Ready to find your next big idea? Watch our webinar with Head of Customer Success, Jill O'Herlihy, or keep reading for details on the 4-step process!

Next, download our Facebook Challenge concept mind map template and fill it in as you go through our steps.

Download the Facebook Challenge concept mind map template

Step 1: Tap into a new community

The first step in developing a new Facebook Challenge concept is to identify an existing community that is new to your organization and that you haven’t marketed heavily to in previous

Think of it like discovering a hidden gem in a bustling city. Just like how you may stumble upon a small and vibrant neighborhood that you never knew existed, you can also find a group of like-minded individuals on social media who share a common interest or passion. This might be a community of DIYer’s, painters, bakers, or even country music listeners. And with Facebook’s popular Group function, there’s bound to be ready made communities for just about anyone! 

Whatever the interest, your aim is to find a group of people with a shared passion that has grown in popularity but who have not had a fundraising opportunity to date that has directly related to their hobby. Take Irish Heart Foundation for example; they tapped into a group of wild swimming enthusiasts that they knew was a growing community in Ireland for their 12 Dips in December Challenge

Photo of a woman seemingly emerging from the sea water as the water splashes up around her. She is wearing sunglasses and a red swimming costume. It is a beautiful day with blue skies behind her.
A supporter taking part in Irish Heart Foundation's 12 Dips in December Facebook Challenge

Take a moment now to jot down in your mind map some initial communities that spring to mind. We’ve listed a few below to help get you started! 

Community ideas: 

  • Open water swimming
  • Yoga
  • Hiking
  • Baking
  • Environmental

Step 2: Identify compelling activities

Now that you have potential communities that you can target, it’s time to identify compelling activities that those communities would be interested in and importantly, willing to do! 

Since the average engagement rate for a Facebook page post is 0.07%, it is vital that you catch the attention of your audience straight away. That means that your Facebook Challenge activity should be exciting, interesting, relate to their interest, and inspire the supporter to take part and fundraise. 

Using the phrase “I’m [insert activity] for [insert charity name]”, brainstorm activities that could tap into your communities from step 1. For example, if you’re looking to target a group of bakers, you could write “I’m baking a cake a day for the Stroke Association”

Top tip: the activity should be difficult so that it encourages donations but also scalable so that it can reach a large number of people beyond the testing stage. Heart Foundation in Australia ran 3,000 Squats in April which provided supporters with a hard challenge but one that could also be adapted to fit various capabilities. 

Heart Foundation's 3,000 Squats in April Facebook Challenge
Heart Foundation's 3,000 Squats in April Facebook Challenge

Using your community list from step 1, write an activity for each that relates to that group’s interest. We’ve added to our examples from earlier to help get those creative juices flowing! 

Activity ideas: 

  • Open water swimming –  “I’m cold water dipping for …”
  • Yoga –  “I’m bending over backwards for …”
  • Hiking –  “I’m climbing four mountains for …”
  • Baking –  “I’m baking a cake every day for …”
  • Environmental –  “I’m going green for …”

Step 3: Determine self-sacrifice versus self-actualization

So, you have your communities and the correlating activities. But how do you determine what will be seen as an actual challenge for your supporters and therefore fundraising-worthy? 

It’s essential when planning your next Facebook Challenge concept to differentiate between self-sacrifice and self-actualization in your brainstormed activities. This sounds a little wordy so let’s break it down into what both terms actually mean. 

A challenge that pushes a supporter beyond their normal capabilities or outside of their comfort zone would be considered a self-sacrificing activity. Whilst a challenge that merely taps into a supporter's existing ability levels would be determined as self-actualizing. Self-sacrifice can vary depending on the person’s interests and fitness levels, but you should be able to find a good middle ground for each community you’re targeting. 

Let’s look at an example. If you’re targeting runners, asking them to run a kilometer a day probably won’t seem like much of a challenge to them and it certainly won’t be pushing them out of their comfort zone. But, if you target people over the age of 50, and tweak your advertising to use images that reflect this demographic, then your concept shifts from self-actualization to self-sacrificing.

Top tip: try to make the activity sound compelling whilst still obvious what it relates to, for example, “I’m bending over backwards for a yoga challenge”. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention chose to target dog walkers and named their Challenge ‘Walk your dog 50 miles in February’. This made the activity, duration and target audience clear to users seeing their ads on Facebook. 

Now, return to your mind map and mark each idea as either a self-actualization or self-sacrificing Challenge.

One of the participants from American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's dog walking Facebook Challenge!
One of the participants from American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's dog walking Facebook Challenge!

Step 4: Identify a successful test

The final step of your Facebook Challenge concept brainstorm involves identifying which of your ideas could be a successful test for taking further into a fully-fledged Facebook Challenge. 

Here are some key questions to ask yourselves at this stage:

  • Does the Challenge concept have photogenic potential? 
  • Is the activity that you’re asking supporters to do easy to take photos of? 
  • Will you have content to advertise with that makes it clear what the activity is?
  • What content will supporters be able to share on their fundraising pages in order to encourage donations from their friends and family? For example, a Challenge centered around no television might be hard to communicate whereas a different daily yoga position could lead to some engaging (and flexible) content!

Once you’ve settled on your Facebook Challenge concept of choice, set aside a budget of $500 to run a small, short test. Determine what a successful test would look like to your organization based on targets such as the number of Active Fundraisers, return on investment, or rate of registration. Remember, with any test, the goal is to figure out where you could potentially make a lot of money in the future and engage a large community of people, not just make money with the initial test. 

To recap...

Developing a new Facebook Challenge concept involves tapping into a new community, identifying compelling activities, determining if an activity is self-sacrifice versus self-actualization, and testing the concept with a pilot group. In the fast-paced world of social fundraising, it’s essential for charities to invest time and budget into testing new ideas that could help you stand out from the crowd. And with Facebook Challenges, your organization can engage supporters and raise funds in a fun and creative way. 

And if you take one thing away from this blog, it’s don't be afraid to think outside the box and try something new!

Get the Facebook Challenge mind map

Get your brainstorm on and download our Facebook Challenge concept mind map to help you decide what will be the next test your nonprofit invests in. 

Download the Facebook Challenge concept mind map template

Let's talk

At GivePanel, we make running a Facebook Challenge a lot easier for nonprofits because we give you the tools, expertise, and support to do so. If you want to take your Facebook fundraising to the next level, book a call with one of our fundraising specialists and find out how to get started. 

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