Maybe Facebook can be a fundraising channel

As recently as last week I wrote a blog advising that Social Media is not a strong fundraising channel, unless it is linked to a peer to peer fundraising campaign like Movember or Jump Rope for Heart or World’s Greatest Shave. BUT, it turns out I was wrong.

Well, let me clarify that. I was at Blackbaud’s annual fundraising conference, where I was speaking on how to Integrate digital touch-points into your fundraising (see the presentation below). In the presentation after mine, the Australian Conservation Foundation presented a case study where they developed a $60,000 a year income stream by recruited regular monthly donors from Facebook advertising.

Recruiting regular monthly donors via Facebook

I have never seen this kind of fundraising success through Facebook, or any social media channel for that matter, and for regular monthly givers as well. It challenged all of my previous experience. So of course I wanted to know more and I wanted to try and replicate it. So I called the guy who made it happen and now I’m determined to make it happen for my clients.

The other interesting thing that ACF found, was that the normal fundraising formula of using cute animals or people to convert fundraising asks was less effective than messages about climate change and forest destruction. And they had success with landing pages with less information rather than more. While the presentation I saw led me to believe that Facebook advertising drove these results alone, on further discussion it is more accurate to say that Facebook was one part of a larger online fundraising strategy. But still, it worked in its own right.

It is important to note that while the program has been a success (400 new monthly donors generating a revenue of $60,000 year) and the ROI is positive, the average monthly gift is small ($8 a month), but I’ve been told that they don’t cancel and that ACF have had success in upgrading the monthly gift from these donors over time.

I’m excited to see what I can achieve. I’m launching a test for the Wilderness Society in the coming weeks. Fingers crossed we can replicate these results.