The Gen Zers in your life might not be very interested in Facebook, but it remains a popular social media platform with 3.05 billion monthly active users worldwide. This makes it a powerful tool in any nonprofit’s belt, alongside Instagram, TikTok, and the platform formerly known as Twitter.
At times it might feel like social media can be a thankless task. Posting consistently and keeping up with Facebook’s latest changes and trends can be a full-time job, perhaps in addition to your actual job at your organization. But when it comes time to ask for donations to your cause, you’ll be happy that you put effort into creating and maintaining a Facebook presence.
Below we’ve outlined some tips on how to ask for donations on Facebook. Some of them are about being ready in advance of your donation drive, and others will help you do the asking itself.
Create a Consistent Presence
Facebook has its own metrics that determine how it shows people your Facebook posts. If you have a Facebook page (make sure it’s a page and not a profile to get that great data), you need to post consistently in order to show Facebook that you’re dedicated to creating new or refreshing old content.
Try to post at least several times per week, if not every day, depending on your bandwidth. If this feels like a strain, try to get ahead of the curve and create posts, then schedule them to post later. Or, share the Facebook admin duties with another person in your organization.
What should you post? Almost anything related to your organization or field. You can start by posting snapshot profiles of the people who work in your organization. Have them explain why the work you all do is so important to them. Show where you do your work (your building or your community). Most importantly, explain what you’re trying to achieve. This is most effectively done through stories: tell an anonymized story of a person you helped. Or, explain how a big project impacted your community.
Lift up other voices too. If there are other organizations or government efforts to improve your community, share their Facebook posts alongside your own.
When someone comments on your Facebook posts, make sure to give them a response. Even if it’s as simple as “Thank you!” with an emoji or two. If someone shares a post of yours, you can like it on their page and comment thanking them for spreading the word. Facebook is more likely to show posts with engagement to more people, in a more timely manner. So those likes, shares, and comments are important to getting your message out to a wider audience.
If you get negative comments, it’s important to respond to them too. The way you respond is up to you and your organization. You could diffuse politely, bluntly refute, or even delete the comment if you feel it is too negative to keep on your page. How you plan to respond to potential comments like this should be a discussion with your marketing team and/or leaders in your organization. Hopefully, your nonprofit or not-for-profit won’t encounter such negativity at all.
Ask Early and Frequently
When it comes to actually asking for donations on Facebook, start posting about your drive early and often (as the Chicago saying goes). Don’t wait until you’re closer to your deadline: that’s when you want to ramp up your posts, not start them. You also don’t want your Facebook followers to feel like all you do is ask for money. Announce your donation drive or event up to 1-3 months beforehand (especially if it includes a ticketed event you’ll want people to get on their calendars).
Post once per week at first, then increase, especially as you near your deadline. Give people updates on how much you’ve raised so far and how every little bit counts towards your goal. Remind them what impact this money will have on your mission.
Be sure to include a link to your donation page on every single post about your donation campaign. If there are other ways to donate (text, phone, mail, etc.) make sure those are mentioned at least sometimes, and that they’re clearly marked on your website and/or donation page.
The best way to compel people to give is to tell stories about the ways their money will help. An animal shelter can showcase recently adopted animals and how donations help them to help even more homeless pets. A food bank can share anonymous quotes from the families they’ve helped, explaining how the food bank helped them get back on their feet during tough times.
When sharing stories about people you’ll want to make sure you have their permission to share their names or images. For sensitive missions, like those helping victims of domestic abuse, it might be best to always pick a code name and leave out any identifying details. But you can still find ways to tell their story.
Perhaps your nonprofit doesn’t serve people or animals directly. For example, if you represent a conservation organization, you can still tell stories about wildlife returning to the area, or progress on historical buildings, or maybe community memories of a special tree that was saved.
Vary Your Post Formats
Facebook isn’t just about text posts, like it was in its early days. Now you can post links, images, videos, and even Shorts, which are similar to Instagram’s Reels. Varying your post formats can net you engagement from people who have different ways of scrolling through their feeds. Switch up your posts asking for donations on Facebook in order to capture the most attention.
If video feels intimidating, start small, and ask for advice from a social media expert. Even a younger tech native might be able to give you simple tips on filming and editing short videos.
Looking for more tips? Find social media tips to boost your fundraiser.
Find Insights, Rinse, and Repeat
Facebook will become more familiar and easy to post on the more you do so. Once you’ve completed a donation campaign, check your Facebook pages Overview stats. See which posts got the most likes, comments, and shares, and see if you can spot patterns. You might find that your followers preferred video posts, Shorts, or maybe just the traditional link to your donation page post.
If you put the effort into posting a few times each week, engaging your audience, updating them about your donation drive regularly, and telling compelling stories in different ways, you’ll be able to count on donations from people on this social media giant.