This article was published a few years ago. The options for Facebook fundraising were much more limited then. Take a look at the newest options….


We used to tell our members at GiveForward that there are three Ps to successful online fundraising: personalization, promotion, and persistence.  Recently, however, we came to the conclusion that it was time to update this basic strategy for the 21st century.  We now tell our members that if they want to be successful they need to follow the three Ps and an F.

Facebook FundraisingThe F, of course, stands for Facebook.  Over the last few years, we’ve seen that almost every medical fundraiser that has raised more than $10,000 on GiveForward has does so because of Facebook – it is simply the most effective tool for getting the word out about a fundraiser and getting it to spread quickly.

If you are fundraising here are four of the best strategies on how to use Facebook to help you reach your goal.

1. Create a Facebook Group.

Creating a Facebook group will allow you to get the word out about your fundraiser and keep your friends and family informed with news and updates.  As the group organizer you can send messages to all group members and use it as your platform to ask for donations.  Make sure to invite a few of your friends to become group admins and encourage their friends to invite their friends as well.  The larger the group, the greater the potential for donations.

* Bonus Tip: one way to grow your Facebook group really quickly is to create your group on Facebook with the message “For every person that joins this group, $1 will be donated to help [YOUR FRIEND] fight cancer [OR FILL IN THE BLANK WITH ANY ILLNESS]”.

In order to make this strategy work, you will need to find a donor (or a group of donors) ahead of time willing to donate $500, $1000 or however much you want to cap it at.  While this strategy takes a little bit of extra planning, we’ve seen it work incredibly well for our users in the past. Here is an example from a fundraiser that used this technique to create a Facebook group of nearly 4,000 members.

Setting up your group is the cornerstone to your Facebook fundraising strategy. Once you have your group set up, here are three additional Facebook strategies that have worked really well for previous fundraisers.

2. Do a Matching Donation Drive

The way a matching donation drive works is you issue a challenge to your network to raise X amount of money in a short time period with the promise that if the goal is reached, a generous donor will match the total raised.

For example, you might send out a Facebook message to your group that says “If we can raise $2000 in the next 36 hours, a generous donor will match it with another $2000.”

If you can secure a matching donor ahead of time, this is a great strategy to try.  We’ve seen fundraisers raise $2000, $5000, and even $10,000 in the course of 36 hours using this idea.

3. Ask For a Specific Amount on a Certain Date

Another tactic that has worked really well for our past users is to pick a date and ask people to each give a specific dollar amount on that date.  You may ask your Facebook group to donate $15 on the 15th of January.   Asking for a certain amount of money on a certain date helps because it creates a deadline and an extra sense of urgency for your donors.

For example, Erica Flament, raised over $10,000 to help with her friend’s daughter Maddie’s cancer treatments.  One of the more creative fundraising strategies Erica came up with was to hold a birthday fundraiser for Maddie that raised over $1500 in a single day.  Here’s how she did it.

To celebrate Maddie’s 6th birthday, Erica sent out a request to friends and family on Facebook asking that they each give $6 to Maddie’s GiveForward fundraising page to help Maddie beat cancer.  Through the amazing power of Facebook, word spread and over 85 people ended up donating on Maddie’s birthday.  Many of the donations were for $6 but many more were for $16, $26, $56 and even $106.

One thing that was helpful for Erica was that she was persistent.  She didn’t just send one Facebook message and hope that everyone would remember to donate.  She sent a couple reminder emails as the date approached and asked that people share it with their friends.

Holding a fundraiser on Maddie’s birthday was a really creative way to get people to give, buy you don’t necessarily need a birthday for this strategy to work.  You can pick any date on the calendar and then ask for donations for the amount of money that corresponds with that date.

For example, you could send a message to your friends and your Facebook group that says: “Let’s help raise $1000 for Joe on the 10th of the month.  If you can afford it, please donate $10 to Joe’s fundraising page here [insert your URL here] and please tell your friends as well.  If we get 100 people to donate, we will reach our goal!”

4. Hold a 24-hour Facebook awareness campaign

One additional Facebook strategy you can use is to do a 24-hour Facebook awareness campaign

Here’s how it works —  with a 24-Hour Facebook awareness campaign you don’t actually ask people to donate money.  Rather, you simply ask that everyone “donate” their Facebook status message for 24 hours by changing it to “Please Help [NAME OF YOUR FRIEND]” then a link to your online fundraising page.

The idea is that even if your friends can’t afford to donate money, they will be happy to “donate” their status message.  With hundreds or even thousands of people all with the same status message many friends, family and strangers around the world will see it and will be inclined to donate.

Posted on 12 July 2010

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