Platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer capabilities that allow associations to tell stories, engage with supporters, and raise funds.
Users of Facebook have likely seen the friend who, in honor of their birthday, wants donations made to a charity. And all you have to do to make it happen is click the handy link. If you’ve seen this, you may be wondering if this is something your association can do. Well, it could be, as Facebook, which owns Instagram, has created several tools to connect nonprofits with their supporters and raise funds.
“Once you’ve registered to collect donations on Facebook, people, public figures, and brands that you work with can choose to support your organization through a variety of ways,” said Helen Wei, who works in product partnerships and charitable giving at Facebook. Wei spoke about online fundraising tools during a recent webinar hosted by Candid, the nonprofit formed when GuideStar merged with the Foundation Center.
The beauty of using social media for fundraising is the association gets to tap into its supporters’ networks. Wei noted that NBA player Stephen Curry requests supporters donate to a specific charity on his birthday via Facebook. While your association may not be besties with Curry, it can and should make use of the networks of its supporters.
“If you have a local supporter who is an influencer in your community or a [stakeholder] with an extended network on the platform, you can encourage supporters to fundraise on your behalf,” Wei said.
While you may be wondering how to get people to fundraise for your organization, you’re already taken the first step by having fans and followers. People following your association are interested in your mission and goals. The next step is engaging with them.
“We’ve seen organizations use videos or a series of photo posts to elaborate why they’re fundraising around this specific moment,” Wei said. She described “moments” as days or events that are special to your organization. For example, an environmental association might consider Earth Day a “moment” and use it to engage members and fundraise.
“The first [step] is showing the impact—using posts that tell the full fundraising story,” Wei said. “For example, if your organization is fundraising for Earth Day, why does that particular day resonate with your organization?”
She said an association could pose that question to its followers to get engagement and support. Or the association could ask supporters to initiate their own fundraisers (like those birthday donation requests). “As much as we can educate you on how your organization can use these fundraising tools, it is also great to be able to educate your supporters as to what moments are important to your organization and when your organization can really use their support for fundraising help,” Wei said.
She recommended creating a content schedule to ensure your association is posting often enough to create engagement.
“It really helps to re-engage your supporters, or people who have viewed the fundraiser, but for whatever reason may not have made that leap yet and donated,” Wei said. “It helps to check in and post periodic updates about what is going in with the fundraiser, showing impact in terms of where the dollars raised are going towards.”
Instagram Has New Options
At the end of April, Instagram rolled out a new fundraising option called stickers. The Donation sticker for Stories allows either a nonprofit or its followers to raise money for the organization. Instagram Stories are shown for 24 hours. For example, an association looking to raise money for its STEM coding program might write on its donation sticker: “Help kids learn to code!” When people click, they will be able to donate.
Because 24 hours isn’t very long, Instagram added a “highlight” feature, which pins the story to a profile so users can continue to donate. Individuals can add stickers to their stories to collect donations for any registered nonprofit.
“We have designed this and built this to be a really lightweight and fun way to show your organization and show people that are following your organizations’ account what you stand for,” Wei said.
Facebook and Instagram fundraising programs are open to U.S.-based 501(c)(3) organizations and foreign organizations that meet certain requirements. To participate in fundraising on either platform, an association must sign up for Facebook Payments. To use Instagram fundraising, the Facebook and Instagram accounts must be linked, and the Instagram account must be a business profile. Facebook does not take a fee, so all funds donated go directly to the organization.
Has your association tried using social platforms for fundraising? Share your experiences in the comments.