Blog       Understanding Activation Rates for Social-first Fundraising

Understanding Activation Rates for Social-first Fundraising

In any digital campaign, certain metrics stand out as particularly crucial. Among these, activation rates are key indicators of success in fundraising campaigns, especially those driven by social media, like Facebook Challenges. But what exactly do we mean by "activation rate," and how can you influence it for your campaign?

This blog aims to define activation rates, explain how to measure them, highlight how they can differ across fundraising platforms, and, most importantly, offer strategies to improve your activation rate and enhance your fundraising efforts.

So, let’s kick off with two important questions. 

What are activation rates and how do we measure them?

Unfortunately, there's no universal standard for defining activation rates in the nonprofit sector. Different platforms may use varying definitions, sometimes tailoring metrics to showcase their results in a more favorable light. This inconsistency can make it challenging for nonprofits to compare performance across different campaigns and platforms. Therefore, understanding how an organization measures activation rates is essential for making accurate evaluations.

At GivePanel, we define the activation rate as the percentage of fundraising pages that receive at least one donation. For instance, if 80 out of 100 fundraising pages receive donations, the activation rate is 80%.

Another method of measuring activation rates is by looking at the percentage of registrants who go on to create a fundraising page. For example, if 100 people register for a campaign and 90 create a fundraising page (even without a donation), the activation rate is 90%. However, while this method might yield a higher percentage, it doesn't provide a true reflection of the fundraising performance. Therefore, it shouldn't be the primary metric for evaluating success.

How do activation rates compare on different platforms?

Activation rates can vary significantly across different fundraising platforms. For instance, Facebook fundraisers typically have higher activation rates compared to platforms like JustGiving. But why is this?

We examined a data sample of over 30 recent Facebook Challenges run by UK GivePanel customers. These campaigns, each with over 500 fundraising pages, offered both Facebook and JustGiving options on GivePanel’s 1-click registration form. The results tell an interesting story.

It’s clear from the success of Facebook Challenges that Facebook fundraising boasts some of the highest activation rates of all social media and fundraising platforms. This success is largely due to Facebook's automatic sharing feature. When someone creates a fundraiser on Facebook, it is immediately shared with their network on the newsfeed as Facebook fundraising has a 100% share rate. Other platforms don’t have this so this causes a much higher percentage of fundraisers to get at least one donation.

But that’s not where the story ends. While JustGiving usually has a slightly lower activation rate, the platform tends to have higher average donations per fundraiser than Facebook. From our data sample, JustGiving fundraisers, on average, raised 63% more than their Facebook counterparts. The top-performing JustGiving campaign raised 157% more on average than the highest Facebook campaign. In fact, only one out of the 30 reviewed campaigns saw Facebook outperform JustGiving in terms of the average amount raised.

This means that although fewer participants might activate their fundraising pages on JustGiving, those who do are often more successful in raising larger sums. One reason for this could be that supporters are less confident sharing Facebook fundraisers outside of Facebook, as donations require a Facebook account.

Additionally, JustGiving is a well-established and trusted platform, and because of this many charities are noticing a shift in the platforms their supporters choose. In the 30 campaigns studied, where both Facebook and JustGiving options were available through GivePanel’s 1-click registration form, an average of 40% of supporters chose JustGiving over Facebook, indicating a strong preference for a reliable alternative fundraising platform. And considering your supporters are already on Facebook, we think 40% is high! 

Adjusted average raised per fundraiser

To accurately compare fundraising performance across different platforms, we’ve developed a new metric called the 'Adjusted Average Raised Per Fundraiser.' This metric takes into account both the activation rate and the average amount raised per fundraiser, providing a more holistic view of platform performance.

To calculate this, you take the average raised per fundraiser and multiply it by the activation rate of the same platform. For example, if the average raised per fundraiser on JustGiving is $100 and the activation rate is 50%, you multiply 100 by 0.50, resulting in an adjusted average of $50.

Why are we doing this? Essentially, when calculating the standard average raised, the activation rate is considered to be 100% as it only includes active fundraisers. The adjusted metric, however, incorporates the actual activation rate, giving a truer reflection of overall platform performance.

Brain Tumour Research's experience

Our recent success story with Brain Tumour Research tells the same story. Using GivePanel’s 1-click registration form to offer supporters a choice between Facebook and JustGiving fundraisers for their last three Challenge campaigns, the charity achieved notable results.

Across the three Challenges, the activation rate on Facebook was 12% higher compared to JustGiving. This reinforces Facebook's strength in driving supporter engagement through its integrated social sharing features.

JustGiving workshop - June 24

However, despite the lower activation rate, the average amount raised on JustGiving was significantly higher—84% more than on Facebook across the three Challenges. When you account for both activation rate and average raised across all three events with our adjusted average raised per fundraiser, JustGiving outperformed Facebook by 66%.

Brain Tumour Research’s experience underscores the importance of offering your supporters multiple fundraising platform options. By doing so, you can leverage the strengths of each platform to maximize both supporter engagement and overall funds raised, whilst reducing your reliance on one platform. 

How can I improve my activation rate?

Improving your activation rate for your social-first Challenges is a great way to grow your fundraising and ensure that your efforts are focused on metrics that make a difference. Here are a few of our suggestions:

Adopt a social-first approach

If you want to grow your fundraising, you first have to meet supporters where they are. Supporter experiences don’t start at the fundraising page. Social ads, such as Facebook ads, are the best way to reach new fundraising audiences as you can measure the impact of your media spend with low barriers to entry. We think designing fundraising journeys from social is the best way to ensure you achieve high activation rates and hit (or even exceed!) your targets.

Use GivePanel’s registration forms with 1-click Fundraiser activation

GivePanel’s registration forms with 1-click fundraiser activation can significantly improve your activation rates. Firstly, these forms achieve a high conversion rate from registration to fundraiser creation. Over 70% of supporters who sign up for your Challenge also opt to create a fundraiser. When these fundraisers are automatically shared on Facebook, they have a high activation rate, meaning a greater chance of receiving donations.

Secondly, with GivePanel, you own 100% of your supporter data. This full data ownership means easier and more effective communication with your supporters, allowing you to encourage them to start fundraising and keep them engaged throughout the campaign.

1-Click fundraising activation@2x

The forms are designed to streamline the process, making it quick and easy for supporters to set up their fundraising pages. By reducing friction in the user journey, these forms lead to higher activation rates and encourage immediate fundraising.

Include JustGiving in your campaigns

JustGiving is a trusted and well-known platform that many supporters prefer. By offering both Facebook and JustGiving options, you cater to different preferences and increase the likelihood of higher overall participation. And with GivePanel’s JustGiving integration, you can:

  • Include JustGiving as an option in your 1-click registration form
  • Send automated emails to JustGiving fundraisers
  • Match event registration form data with JustGiving fundraisers
  • And see all of your fundraising in one place by automatically importing all of your JustGiving fundraisers.

As we’ve already seen, JustGiving also often sees higher average donations per fundraiser compared to Facebook. While fewer participants might activate their fundraising pages on JustGiving, those who do tend to raise larger amounts. This means that even with a slightly lower activation rate, JustGiving can be a valuable platform for maximizing the funds raised per participant and with our adjusted average raised per fundraiser metric, often outperforms Facebook overall.

Are you a nonprofit in Ireland looking to improve your activation rates? GivePanel’s iDonate integration can help in the same way, providing your supporters with a trusted platform to fundraise on. Check out our blog for the details or access our 6-part video series to learn how to run a Facebook or Instagram Challenge with GivePanel’s iDonate integration.


Engage with supporters early and often

As a final strategy for improving your activation rate for social-first Challenges, we recommend that early and consistent engagement with your supporters is key. There’s a few ways in which you can do this.

Firstly, start with your Facebook Group. Recent changes to how Featured Posts are displayed mean your supporters may be missing out on the opportunity to create a fundraiser simply by not seeing the link. The Get Your Stories Straight team highlighted this and shared five recommendations to get you off to a positive start.

Secondly, use GivePanel’s email journeys to send personalized communication and keep your supporters motivated and informed. Our email triggers let you target supporters with $0 amount raised so you can encourage them to get started with fundraising with helpful tips such as donating themselves or sharing with their friends and family. Continue the supporter journey throughout the Challenge by emailing success stories, and updates regularly to maintain their enthusiasm and commitment to the cause.

Automated email journeys@2x

Understanding and improving activation rates for your social-first Challenges is crucial for maximizing your fundraising success. By adopting a social-first approach and leveraging platforms like GivePanel and JustGiving, you can significantly improve your activation rates and fundraising outcomes. Whether you’re a nonprofit in the UK, Ireland, or beyond, leveraging the strengths of different platforms and maintaining strong supporter relationships are key to your fundraising success.

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