Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fundraising Tip: How to Raise Money on Facebook

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) first joined Facebook back in May 2008We have discussed Facebook in one way or another quite often via this blog.   However, we have never been able to raise any serious money on Facebook.  Has your nonprofit organization or local BDPA chapter had success raising money on Facebook?

I think that the following fundraising tip may be a helpful reminder to all of us nonprofit advocates who still think that Facebook is for kids.

Create and Tap Your Social Network

If you've been avoiding getting your organization involved in Facebook, here are three good reasons to rethink that decision:
  1. Facebook has an audience of 800 million and growing, making it equivalent to the population of the world's third-largest country.
  2. Meet them where they're at: it is extremely likely that a considerable amount of your wired network is already engaged on the platform.
  3. More and more donations are happening online.
Here are a few guidelines for getting started with Facebook:

First, create a "Page" for your organization -- this is similar to a personal profile. It allows members to become a "friend" of your nonprofit, allowing them to subscribe to your updates and engage in dialogue with you and other supporters. To set up your Facebook Page, visit www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. The BDPA Foundation Facebook Page is up & running.

Second, create a Facebook Group: If you are interested in sending direct messages to the in-boxes of your supporters (and you have fewer than 5,000 followers), setting up a group is the way to go. Without a group, you are limited to posting status updates and having your supporters read them via their Facebook News Feed. To set up your group, visit www.facebook.com/groups/create.php. The National BDPA Facebook Group is up & running.

Once you are established on Facebook and your supporters are accustomed to communicating with you through this platform, it is time to start raising money. "Causes" is a tool (application) built for Facebook that allows you to fundraise within the Facebook network. Although it's difficult to build a community within Causes, it's worth exploring as a fundraising supplement to your Page or Group. Get a better feel for this tool at www.causes.com.

Once you are set up on Facebook, a great tip for integrating fundraising activities is to use the platform generously and frequently to express thanks for member contributions -- public recognition helps spread loyalty and reinforces generous support.

The BDPA Foundation is already a beneficiary on 'Causes'.  We would love to work with any interested local chapter to set-up a 'Cause' to raise funds specifically for its programs and services at the local level. BDPA Charlotte and BDPA Los Angeles have both dipped their toes into the Facebook 'Causes' effort.

This tip is inspired by Darian Heyman's new book, 'Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals'.

Does this tip seem like one that you might use for your local chapter or nonprofit? If not, do you have a fundraising tip that you would like to share with us?

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