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How one charity doubled its fundraising goal with its first ever Facebook Challenge​

Health and Medical
North America
Solutions used:
Facebook Challenges
GivePanel Partner

As a pilot Facebook Challenge, the Parkinson’s Foundation launched Jog 60 Miles in April as a test of engagement with its Facebook audience.

Over $200,000 raised later, and the organization had found not only a viable income stream, but a band of new supporters with which to connect. We caught up with Francesca Villa, National Director of Fundraising Events at the Parkinson’s Foundation, to find out how their first Facebook Challenge of Jog 60 Miles in April went. 

Set the scene

Who is Parkinson's Foundation?

The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. In everything that they do, they build on the energy, experience and passion of their global Parkinson’s community.

After a recent growth in organic fundraisers and birthday fundraising, the team found that they had to pivot their Facebook strategy to include higher levels of stewardship and engagement. 

Having joined GivePanel to help manage this and keen to explore new areas of fundraising, the team launched their first Facebook Challenge. 

What people are saying
GivePanel is a great support system for the Parkinson's Foundation. It allows us to connect directly with our fundraisers - on their pages - and communicate with them where they are fundraising. If you want to take an active role in Facebook fundraising, grow that revenue line, and invest in the stewardship of your social media fundraisers, consider a product like GivePanel.
- Francesca Villa
The challenge

Jog 60 Miles in April

A Facebook Challenge is a virtual event that runs solely on Facebook and leverages the power of social networking through ads, groups and fundraisers. This means: 

  • Lower acquisition costs
  • More fundraisers
  • And no fundraising platform costs!

The Parkinson’s Foundation had tested various forms of Facebook fundraising and had found that they had more success encouraging peer-to-peer fundraisers than they did asking for direct donations. In addition, they found that their audience used Facebook as their primary social media platform and that the theme of exercise tied into their cause as having a positive impact on those living with Parkinson’s disease. 

Their goal was to have 1000 people join their Facebook Group with 700 of those setting up a fundraiser, raising $100,000. The team offered a t-shirt as their incentive and worked with PromoSpark to fulfill and distribute to their fundraisers. They sent 400 t-shirts and spent $10,000 on the incentive and shipping. 

They also worked with Nonprofit Megaphone to help with their Facebook ad targeting and management, using Canva to create imagery for ads and Facebook group posts.

Their Facebook Challenge had incredible group engagement with Fundraisers sharing their stories and encouraging one another. Their top Fundraiser was new to the charity and raised $10,000 whilst another got engaged during one of their walks! 

The team were also keen to reach areas of North America that they couldn’t be in physically, to help engage potential supporters and offer their digital services.

The GivePanel difference

Meeting supporters where they are

Prior to joining GivePanel, Parkinson’s Foundation found that the number of Facebook Fundraisers they were beginning to get were becoming unmanageable, and messaging, stewarding, and supporting those Fundraisers was a laborious and time-consuming process. Enter, GivePanel.

By joining GivePanel, the team were able to use the dashboard for a simple, quick overview of their Facebook fundraising whilst the ability to match Fundraisers meant turning what was once a manual task, into something that could be done quickly and efficiently.

For their Jog 60 Miles in April Challenge, Parkinson’s Foundation found GivePanel most useful for their advertising and event advice, the email journey tool for stewardship and their sector expertise.

Parkinson's Foundation
Parkinson's Foundation
Parkinson's Foundation
Parkinson's Foundation
Parkinson's Foundation
Parkinson's Foundation

The results

The Challenge in numbers

Group Members
Active Fundraisers
Average Raised
Total Raised
Cost per Dollar Raised

Final thoughts

Top tips from Parkinson's Foundation

Consider your resourcing capabilities

It’s important to maximize your time, especially if you’re a small team. By outsourcing their incentive fulfillment and getting support with their Facebook ads, Parkinson’s Foundation were able to spend more time where it mattered most – in the group. 

Know what’s right for your audience

Parkinson’s Foundation were keen to provide a Challenge that suited their supporters. Francesca suggests looking at your demographics, including age and location, before deciding on your Challenge format.

Get your fundraisers fundraising

Try out different ways to engage your Fundraisers and get the ball rolling. Ask them to skip a coffee a week and donate instead, or provide content they can share to their donors.

Be wary of outliers

Whilst the top Challenge Fundraisers did an incredible job, not every Challenge will have $10,000 Fundraisers. Be wary of these stand-out figures when it comes to forecasting your next event.

To Messenger or not to Messenger?

Parkinson’s Foundation tested using Messenger as part of their onboarding journey, but found that they wanted to keep this space free for those that needed to talk regarding their experience with Parkinson’s. Consider where your supporters need you.

Create an email journey cycle 

Steward Fundraisers with a thank you and ask them to share their story or connection to cause. Use those stories on Facebook to encourage others to create their own Facebook fundraisers. Simple but effective.

Francesca Villa
Parkinson's Foundation

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