In this webinar, Sean Kosofsky will show you eight tips that will dramatically increase the number of dollars you raise on Facebook.

Full Transcript:

Steven: All right, Sean. Is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started officially?

Sean: Sure. Let’s get this party started.

Steven: All right, awesome. Well, good afternoon, everyone, if you’re on the East Coast. I should say good morning if you’re on the West Coast. Thanks for being here for today’s Bloomerang webinar, “8 Expert Tips to Raise $10,000 or More on Facebook.” Glad to have you all with us. My name is Steven Shattuck, and I’m the Chief Engagement Officer over here at Bloomerang. And I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always.

And just a couple of housekeeping items, I just want to let you all know that we are recording this session, and I’ll be sending out the recording a little later on this afternoon as well as the slides if you didn’t already get those. So be on the lookout for that, have no fear if you get maybe interrupted or you got to bounce early. Don’t worry. I’ll get that recording to you this afternoon, scouts honor.

And if you have any questions or comments throughout the hour, please feel free to use that chat box right there on your webinar screen. I know a lot of you already have, that’s awesome. Don’t be shy. Don’t sit on those hands. We love for these sessions to be interactive as possible, so send us your questions and comments along the way or the next hour or so. You can also do that on Twitter. If you’re a Twitter type person, I’ll keep an eye on the Twitter feed there for questions.

And one last housekeeping item, if you have any trouble hearing us through your computer speakers, we find that the audio quality by phone is usually a little bit better because it doesn’t rely on internet connections or any of those things. So if that’ll be comfortable for you, if you don’t mind dialing in by phone, try that before you totally give up on us. Just check your email for the email from ReadyTalk that came out about an hour ago. It should have a phone number in there for you to use.

And if this is your first Bloomerang webinar, I just want to stay an extra special welcome to all you folks. We do these webinars just about every Thursday throughout the year. Actually, I did a little tally earlier today, and we’ve done 45 sessions this year already. We’ve got a few more great ones coming up towards the end of the year. It’s one of our favorite things we do here at Bloomerang, but what we are most known for is our donor management software. That’s kind of our core business. And if you are interested in that, or kind of want to see what we’re all about, check out our website. You can even watch a quick video demo and see the software in action.

But don’t do that now. Wait at least an hour because you all are in for a real treat. We’ve got some awesome, awesome advice coming up from my buddy, Sean Kosofsky, joining us from the beautiful San Francisco. Sean, how are you doing? You doing okay? Thanks for being here.

Sean: I’m doing great. Thanks so much for having me.

Steven: Yeah. But I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. Love your slides. I got a peek at them earlier this week. And you all are really in for a lot of great information. I just want to brag on Sean real quick, a great guy, and he checks a lot of boxes for me for the types of presenters I like to have on these webinar series.

Most importantly, he’s been in your shoes. That’s kind of my number one thing. He’s a five-time ED, so he definitely understands what you all are going through. He’s been doing this for a long time, over 25 years of experience working in policy, communications, grassroots, advocacy, development, of course. He served on boards. He has millions of dollars raised to his name and is featured a lot out there in the world in terms of webinars and conferences.

So if you see his name again, definitely attend that session whether it’s webinar or live presentation. He’s going to tell you more about kind of what he does day to day, and I’ll kind of save that for him to tell you about. But, Sean, I’m going to pass things over to you. The floor is yours, my friend, so take it away. Tell us all about Facebook fundraising.

Sean: Excellent. Thank you so much, Steven. So I think everyone should be able to see my first slide here. So, yeah, so we’re going to talk about “8 Expert Tips to Raise over $10,000 with Facebook Fundraisers.” And so part of this . . . we’re going to talk about this in a minute, but part of this is for folks to be able to run these fundraisers on their own, but also we’re going to talk about something called Facebook campaigns, which is when you run a bunch of these all at once. And so the best way to do this really is to get a handful of people or more to do these all at once, but everything we’re going to talk about today is really for individual fundraisers or groups of them. So a lot of organizations are certainly not running a bunch of them at once, and I’m going to encourage you all to do that.

So let’s get started. A little bit about myself. Steven told you a little bit. I’ve been in nonprofit for a long time. I go as, like, the “Nonprofit Fixer.” My company is called Mind The Gap Consulting, but I go by the “Nonprofit Fixer.” I’m a generalist, so I’ve done a lot of different things in nonprofit. I’m not the person you really hire or engage to produce your gala. I’m the person that you can sort of bring into any nonprofit, and I help understand where the problems are or the inefficiencies, whether it’s board work, or executive director work, leadership stuff, fundraising, planning, strategy, politics, anything.

So I like the fact that I’m a generalist, and that’s sort of what I do. I’ve been in nonprofits for 27 years, and I’ve been the Executive Director of five different organizations, 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), political action committees, lots of different entities. I’ve helped a number of nonprofit organizations run these Facebook fundraiser campaigns that we’re going to talk about today. And I just want to reiterate the fact that interchangeably throughout the presentation, you might hear me use the word campaign. And usually, what that means is I’m talking about running a bunch of fundraisers at once in a very concentrated window of time. So we’re going to talk about that, and we’ll just dive right in.

So how this whole thing started? In the fall of 2016, I noticed that a friend of mine all of a sudden on her Facebook wall . . . and I’m a pretty big user of Facebook, so I noticed this new thing she was doing. She was raising money for an organization on her wall. It was a functionality that I had never seen before, and this was probably October or November of 2016. And I said, “How are you doing that? How are you raising that money through your page?” And she said, “I don’t know. Like, Facebook just prompted me to set this up.” And I was like, “Oh.” So I immediately started looking through and found that I could do this also.

And so I’ll explain what happened in a minute, but on the left-hand side of the screen, you can see that when you go to Facebook to raise money, it doesn’t have to be for a 501(c)(3) organization. You can raise money for an individual also, a friend, maybe they need medical bills covered, or someone who’s trying to go to college, or just for yourself. Facebook allows you to do all of this.

On the right-hand side, you can see the campaign that I eventually ran. So, at the time, I was running a national bullying prevention organization in New York. And in a perfect way, when you’re working on bullying, we sort of had an issue dropped in our lap, which was that Donald Trump was running for president at the time. And so, in October or November of 2016, whether you like him or dislike him, or whatever, the term bullying, and people talking about bullying, and bullying as an idea was really in the national conversation.

So for a bullying prevention organization to have that kind of issue happening publicly, and politically, and in the news was sort of a perfect moment for us to run a Facebook fundraiser and capitalize on the fact that we all need to tone down the rhetoric, we all need to be kinder to each other. So we went right out of the gate with my first fundraiser for the Tyler Clementi Foundation online, and I had never had really believed social media could do a lot of good with fundraising. And you can see from the red arrow to the right, in just a couple of weeks, we raised $11,000. Just me, just my own campaign, $11,000. This wasn’t the organization’s campaign. It was me running it with my own 3,000 friends at the time.

But it ended up getting $12,000, not just $11,000, because we got a match over Giving Tuesday, which was being offered at the time in 2016. So you can see that just when we titled this workshop that individuals can certainly raise this kind of money, certainly people can raise a lot more than this, this was just at the beginning. In fact, it was such a successful campaign. Facebook called me and sent their PR people to interview me to say, “How are you raising this much money? This is a brand new tool. How are you raising this much money on this because this is terrific?” And so I just explained how I knew how to run campaigns online, and it sort of grew. And now, everyone of course is using this tool. And I really believe that there’s no end in sight for the power of this tool. So I just wanted to give you that quick little intro as to how this all came about in the fall of 2016 and how I started, like, really teaching other organizations how to do this.

This is just from this past summer, like, peer-to-peer fundraising is a thing. So many of us have heard the term peer-to-peer fundraising or peer-to-peer platforms. And so, when people are talking to people way before there was an internet, the way people get things done is that they trusted sort of their tribe, their neighbors, their family, their whatever. So when people are talking to people that they already know to sign a petition, to go vote, to go give money, you tend to do what people right around you are doing. So it’s partly peer pressure, it’s partly wanting to fit in. It’s partly the tribalism and psychology of us wanting to kind of be doing what our peers are doing.

But peer-to-peer technology is very powerful. So, instead of getting a blast email from an organization in Washington or New York saying, “Give us money,” having your followers, asking their own supporters to give money to that charity is way more effective. We’re going to talk about other names for this kind of technology later on, but psychologically speaking, having people raising money amongst themselves instead of being blast broadcast fundraised to is a very effective thing. And you can see from this headline that this has been a hugely successful platform for a lot of people. Like, hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised through the Facebook birthday fundraisers alone. I think over a billion dollars or something has been raised on Facebook through all of these Facebook fundraisers. It’s almost as if it’s creating a new area of revenue generation for nonprofits, which is really exciting.

So we’re going to dive right into the eight different tips for raising this kind of money. So some of these are going to seem really, really basic and really simple. But I’ll tell you, I work with people all the time, and it’s counterintuitive when people start doing this and they start running these campaigns, they mess up a lot of things. They think they can game the system, they think they’re smarter than the system, so I’m just going to break it down into very, very simple things. You’re all going to get the back end, the webinar later, but I want to just really reiterate that these fundamental really will help you raise a lot of money on the platform.

So the first one is that you’ll want to set a campaign end date 30 days out. So when you start creating a Facebook fundraiser, which only takes a minute or two to set up, it might default to having an end date for the campaign, maybe seven days out, or two weeks out, or something like that. I really want to encourage you to set it for 30 days, and if you’re really ambitious 60 days. But in general, 30 days and here’s why. People get busy. You get busy. There’s a lot of things going on. You don’t want to just try to squeeze this all in in a week. And so also issues could pop. So, like, things could come up and you want to have your campaign running in case something big happens and you could all of a sudden just galvanize people to put money in for this issue that you’re raising money for.

So you can always change the date later, and we’re going to talk about that again later just to reiterate the point. But, in general, when you go to set it up, I would say give yourself 30 days. It doesn’t mean that you can’t get the money just as fast, like the money from your fundraiser will come in in waves. You don’t have to wait until the end of the campaign. So don’t be nervous about setting a campaign for 30 days out. And, again, you can always change it and close it anytime, if you really need to, but just set the campaign for 30 days out.

And so you can change it during the entire campaign, but you can’t change it if your campaign ends. So if you set your campaign to end on November 22nd, tomorrow, and then that day arrives, you can’t change the end date. It’s too late. You have to start from scratch. And so that’s really, really frustrating if you have already built up a lot of momentum and you’ve taken all of the time to invite all of your friends, which I’ve seen it happen many times. So we’ll talk about that during this webinar. But, generally, you want your campaign to be longer and not shorter. You want to run it for a longer period of time. And until you do it, you won’t realize why that’s happening, why that’s important, but just trust me when I say all the tips in this thing are based on best practices. So run a longer campaign.

Also, as I’ve alluded, your issue may pop. You never know, if you’re working on gun violence, there might be a horrible issue with gun violence that comes up that really galvanizes your supporters. There might be something that has to do with an election, or some, like, environmental issue, or a storm in Florida. Like, any issue you’re working on, something could happen in the political landscape or in the media environment that all of a sudden galvanizes your members to give. So having a whole 30 day window there for people to have a vehicle to, you know, weigh in and participate is really, really important. Your issue may pop, it may just become a big issue, so you want to have that campaign running instead of not running. It’s better to do that if you have a 30-day window.

The next slide. So, just a case study here, an organization I helped in the spring of 2019 run a campaign. Again, I’m saying the word campaign here. We had 15 people all running Facebook fundraisers at once during a 30-day concentrated window of time, and the goal was to raise $15,000 among 15 people in 30 days. And so this is an example of how this individual who was running one of the Facebook fundraisers was doing really well, but she accidentally let the end date expire on her campaign because she forgot to set it too far out. And she had to start from scratch, which is really a pain in the butt. So not a lot of your volunteers who are running these campaigns or starting these on their birthday are going to run them again. It’s going to be a huge missed opportunity for your charity if someone decides to run one of these and then it ends before they hit their goal, or if it ends and they haven’t fully maximize the potential of how much they can fundraise.

So, again, in this turnout campaign that we ran last spring, this person had to start all the way from scratch, which we’ll talk about more why that’s so time consuming and why you lose the momentum. It also causes confusion because if you start another campaign, people might be like, “Didn’t I already give to this one? How come you’ve only raised $100 toward your goal? I thought before you had $500 toward your goal?” It just leads to confusion. So just trying to reiterate a point here with a case from this organization where one of the folks had done this and had to start again. It was a big pain.

So we’ll dive into tip two. So people give to people. Everyone on this call, everyone on this webinar is probably a fundraiser. And so fundraisers know this. We know intuitively that people give to people. People don’t give to organizations, they give to people. Like 9 times out of 10 it’s because a person asks another person, it’s that whole peer-to-peer thing we were talking about, people give to other people. And that’s powerful because relationships matter, and reputation matters, and people giving to people that they know and like matters. Some people will give to a cause, even if they have no idea what the organization is or what the organization does.

In fact, many of us know that most donors out there cannot even tell you the biggest accomplishment of the charity they give the most dollars to. If you ask any of your friends, “What’s the nonprofit you gave the most money to this year?” and then they tell you. “Great, what’s the number one accomplishment they arrived at?” they won’t be able to tell you because most people don’t give because of impact or accomplishment, the first reason they gave is because they were asked, because someone asked them, a person asked them. So I cannot reiterate this enough, people give to people.

The reason why this matters is you might be tempted as an organization to create one fundraiser from the organization, or one fundraiser from the development director, or just one fundraiser from the executive director, and then everyone else on the board and everyone on staff just shares that fundraiser. It doesn’t work. If Jack is running a Facebook fundraiser, and then I share it to all my friends and say, “Hey, everybody, Jack needs help raising money for his charity.” Then all of my friends are going to be like, “Who’s Jack? Why would I care?” So the vast majority of people are not going to be invested in someone they don’t know. So if your organization wants to really raise money using Facebook fundraisers, I strongly suggest you take the two minutes per person and get them each to set up their own fundraiser. And so you will raise a lot more money than if everyone just try sharing one person’s fundraiser. So make original ones, that’s really important.

The organization cannot do it alone. There’s a reason for this. A lot of organizations don’t have a huge social media following. If your nonprofit has 1,000, maybe 3,000 followers, it’s not the same as an individual having 3,000 friends or 1,000 friends. You also can’t keep tapping the same people all the time. Each individual running their own campaign means you have a huge new list of people to be fundraising from. So you’re dramatically expanding the universe of people who can give by having individuals run their own fundraisers. It’s about people, and it’s about relationships.

I’m going to show you in a second how when mine was shared, the one where I raised $11,000, the sharing of it, which was widely shared . . . as I said, our issue sort of popped in the presidential cycle, when our issue really popped a lot of people shared my fundraiser, but very few of the donations came in from the shared campaign. It raised a lot of visibility, but almost all the donations came in from people I knew.

It’s also personal and it’s fun. It’s sort of like putting a stake in the ground. And political campaigns, the reason why lawn signs don’t really help elect candidates almost ever, they’re very controversial, but the idea of putting a lawn sign in your yard for the candidate that you love, or the cause that you care about is sort of putting a stake in the ground and telling people around you, “This is what I stand for.” And so having people run their own Facebook fundraiser is exciting. It’s personal. It lets people around them know, “Hey, I give to charity. I participate. I volunteer, and I care. I’m a good person. And I want to do something great to leave a mark.” So having people do their own fundraisers makes them invested, and it’s also kind of fun to see who in your network is willing to get and what kind of goals you can hit.

So there’s another term for it called “relational organizing,” which is another term for peer-to-peer. Relational organizing is the idea that people give to people and people who know each other are more likely to give. I can’t tell you how many times someone has given to a fundraiser impulsively just because they like the person who’s raising money. I saw that my friend, Steve, needed 50 more dollars to go to hit his goal. I wanted to help Steve. He doesn’t know that I really like him, and he doesn’t know that I really am invested in his success. So I just wanted to communicate that to him by giving $50 to his campaign.

Just there’s hundreds of reasons why people end up putting in 20, 50, whatever. They’re gestures, they matter. They’re nominal for some people. So relational organizing is about people talking to people instead of the organization talking to the people. And this is why this platform has cracked the code. Facebook has done such a good job at getting people to give money when asked by your peers.

So here’s a little case study of the campaign I ran when I was at Tyler Clementi Foundation, and this was in 2016, in fall, almost winter of 2016. You can see, there’s my campaign there right in the middle, the $10,000, almost $11,000 that I raised. I kept raising my goal during the campaign eventually to $5,000. First, it was $2,500, then $5,000, and I way blew past it to $11,000. And you can see where the red arrows are going there . . . Sorry, there’s the machine in my kitchen now all of a sudden making noise. So you can see from the arrows there, 255 donations, that’s just in a couple weeks. In just a couple of weeks, one person, me, got 255 donations, but 9,000 people ended up getting invited by different people to the campaign, and there were 431 people who shared my campaign. I have to believe that this is because of the issue at the right time. But 431 people shared, I think 20 of those 255 guests came from the shared campaign.

So this is just a drill into folks. Someone is saying that they can’t see the slide that I’m showing, but it’s just picture of me on the screen along with some other screenshots. So you’ll get it in a slide deck if for some reason you’re not able to see it. Anyway, so that’s just another example.

Tip three, we’re going to dive into tip three here, invite every single friend. I can’t tell you how complicated this is for some people. I’m helping an organization right now run a campaign. And people think they get it, but they really don’t get it. When you create a Facebook fundraiser, it’s like you’re creating a Facebook event. Once you create a Facebook fundraiser or create a Facebook event, it is its own website within Facebook. You have your wall, and then you have your own page, and then you have a Facebook event which has its own URL and has its own website at the top of the page. And when you create a Facebook fundraiser, it is its own website. It is its own page on the internet. After you create your fundraiser, if you just start posting to your own wall, it’s not going to work. This is where people get tripped up. If I just start sharing . . . someone’s asking about, “Are you on tip three slide?” I am. Yes.

So, in general, if people start posting to their own wall, Facebook is not going to privilege those at all. Facebook is going to say, “Only a fraction of your friends are going to see this.” So I created my fundraiser, and then I go to my wall accidentally and start posting every single day to raise money for my fundraiser. You’re nowhere near going to raise as much money as you could as if you were posting inside your fundraiser.

But here’s why this is important to invite all your friends. Once you create the Facebook fundraiser, invite every single friend. Don’t invite 10, don’t invite 50, spend the time and invite all of them. This is the most time-consuming part of the fundraiser. Setting up the fundraiser takes two minutes. We’re going to talk later about posting every day that takes one minute a day. The thing that takes the most time is sitting there on the day you create the fundraiser and invite everyone. Everything you do for the next 30 days is going to be impacted by whether you invited all your friends at the beginning because you will miss opportunities if you don’t invite all of your friends on day one.

So I’m going to say this again because people still get hung up on this, they invite half their friends, they only invite the friends they think are supportive of their cause, they have all these different reasons because they’re lazy, or the app takes a long time, or whatever it is, invite every single friend. You have a professional here telling you don’t shortchange the process, invite every single friend. If you’re using the app, not your mobile phone on the web, but your mobile phone opening the Facebook app, you can actually invite people with your thumb, lightning fast. You can just constantly just invite people really, really fast, way faster than if you’re doing it on a desktop or a laptop.

Someone’s asking about will I show how to set the fundraiser? Yes. There’ll be a handout that folks can get later, not on the webinar, but you will get a handout. We’ll show you how to get that handout later.

So inviting every single friend. Posting on your wall is not going to cut it. Notifications are less intrusive, and this is what I mean by this, most other fundraising platforms, whether it’s GoFundMe or whatever, many of them involve lots of email, people getting email updates, Kickstarter, GoFundMe, there’s lots of emails. In Facebook, one of the reasons why it’s so beautiful is that you just get notifications. Every single person that has been invited right at the beginning, you don’t have to invite them ever again. Every time you post about your fundraiser, every single person is going to see those updates. So it’s sort of like the most important thing you can do during the campaign.

So notifications for a lot of people are a lot less intrusive. Every single day, I might see a notification that you’re still raising money for your campaign, and I might be like, “I’m busy today. I don’t have time,” or, “I don’t get paid until Friday.” You know, but then all of a sudden on Saturday, I see a notification. I’m like, “That’s right. My friend, Jack, is still raising money for this cause. Now I can give him $10 or $20. ” So notifications are so much better than emails and that makes the whole thing a lot easier for people to digest being part of a campaign for 30 days.

All right, so here’s an example from TurnOut, the organization last spring. You can see all these different fundraisers when you’re logged into your Facebook page . . . or actually, anyone who’s on Facebook can go to a charity and see all of the fundraisers that are being run for that charity down below. So, on the left-hand side, there’s the fundraiser button. You need to be set up to receive Facebook fundraisers. You actually have to link your checking account, and there’s a couple of other hoops you have to jump through. You can’t just start running these things, more on that soon.

But on the right, you can see all these arrows. Look at these amounts, like $3,000, $2,800, $2,000. All these individuals are able to hit these amounts because they invited all of their friends. Some of these folks in here have run them before, where they just posted to their wall, and they didn’t raise anywhere near as much money. They started inviting all their friends. They were raising thousands of dollars.

So let’s see here. Tip four, you can change your end date and your fundraising goal during the campaign. This is really important. So you can’t change the end date after it’s over. But during the campaign, you can be like, “Oh my God, I’m actually raising lots of money. This is doing really well. Better than I ever thought. Instead of running this for 30 days, I’m going to make it go 45 days,” which is sort of like the one in 2016 that I did. I decided to keep extending it because it was doing so well, and we ended up hitting $12,000. And then we raised $20,000 after a few other people jumped in. So, in a 45-day window, we raised $20,000 for Tyler Clementi Foundation at the time.

You can change your end date at any time, and you can change your fundraising goals. So I’m a big believer that your fundraising goal should be just out of reach. So, if you set a goal for $1,000 and you start getting close to that $1,000, move it to $2,500. You don’t have to actually hit your goal. A lot of us are like, “Oh my God, it’s going to look like I failed if I set a $2,500 goal and then I only hit $1,000.” No. No one thinks like that. No one’s thinking you’re a failure. No one’s thinking that this isn’t a popular cause. You want to have a fundraising goal that’s just out of reach. You want it to be aspirational. You want it to be difficult. You want folks to pitch in so that you’ve hit your goal.

After you’ve hit your fundraising goal, it’s harder to motivate people to pitch in. “Oh, look, Steve was asking for $1,000, and he’s already at $1,200. He doesn’t need me anymore.” You don’t want people to fall off like that so set a higher goal. So, as your campaign is going on, encourage your fundraisers, people that are running these, to increase their amount.

So someone said, “Is it better to have a lower or higher goal?” Yes, definitely better to have a higher goal. You don’t want to be shooting for something like $20,000 if you think you can only raise $200. That’s ridiculous. So you want to make sure you keep it a little closer to the ground, but just out of reach. And so it does allow for flexibility on the end date up until the day . . . I tend to repeat things and so I want to reiterate them. A lot of people forget these points. You can move the end date up until the last day, then you have to start from scratch. So don’t let that happen. And, of course, you can increase your goal.

So, case study, Robin, a good friend of mine. She’s on the board of, you know, TurnOut, the organization I was just talking about where we ran this big campaign back in the spring. And she was a perfect example of someone who kept raising her fundraising goal. She was worried about this. She was doing so well. The first time she ever ran one of these, it only made $50. And I said, “No. You need to invite all of your friends and then post it to your fundraiser. Don’t post it your wall.” And she said, “Okay, let’s try this,” and she raised, like, $2,500. And so she totally blew past any other Facebook fundraiser she had ever had. And then so she kept increasing her goal and that helped her keep increasing how much she was raising. She was sort of addicted to it. It was amazing. So she ran a really, really good campaign.

All right, tip five, post daily. Donations come in within a few hours of a post. I think I read somewhere, and Steven can tell me whether I’m wrong or not, but, like, I think I read somewhere that if a tweet on Twitter isn’t retweeted within 10 minutes, it’ll never be heard from again. So the way that a feed works is that if people are looking at a feed in a very specific moment of time and Facebook has not unlike that. So, when you post, it enters people’s feeds, and then after a day or two, it’s gone. So you need to constantly keep your fundraiser in front of people. It may feel annoying, it may feel on unnatural, but I’m telling you, again, you got a professional here that does this all the time, trust me, post every single day. Post multiple times.

They’re just notifications that people get. No one is going to be annoyed or bothered. They might be eagerly waiting for your campaign to end because that’s all they’re seeing for 30 days. But I’m telling you, if you post on Monday morning, and then Tuesday morning, and then Wednesday morning, you are going to get more gifts coming in. Donations come in within a few hours of a post because people saw it. If you’re not asking, they’re not giving. Any fundraiser knows this. The number one reason why people give is because they were asked.

So one thing I encourage people to do is to create sample posts. So, if you get writer’s block, or you run out of things to say about the nonprofit because you’re posting every day, if you’re going to have 10 or 20 people running these campaigns, these fundraisers for your organization, create sample posts.

I’m working with an organization right now called MOASH in Michigan, the Michigan Organization for Adolescent Sexual Health in Michigan. I think we have some of those folks on the call today. And one of the things we do every 10 or 15 days is send out a list of sample posts. And they’re all very similar. So some of the posts are things like, “Hey, everyone, I’m raising money for a great cause. If everyone gave me $5, that would help.” And they’re pretty generic, and you can save them for any organization. But putting out 10, 20, or 30, sample posts with links, and images, and videos, and things to keep things visual, that’s really, really important. When you create sample posts, it shows people that there’s a lot of different ways to keep posting every day. It just makes it a lot easier. It makes it visual, and it makes it fun.

And then you want your asks to be concrete, “Hey, everyone, I’m trying to raise $2,000 by Saturday. I need everyone in my friend group to give $10, and I’ll get to this goal and then all of us can pay for this new thing that the charity wants.” The more concrete, the more likely you are to raise money. But posting daily is really, really essential. Let’s see here, ask a lot. So you want to be asking for people for money all the time. Again, for some people who aren’t used to fundraising, this might feel like a lot of asking. But, I’m telling you, it’s exactly what works on this platform when you got people who know each other talking to people who they know.

If you post on Monday and wait until Friday, you might as well wait forever. Just like I said earlier, if you just post and wait for everyone to sort of give to your campaign, if you just post once, it’s just not going to work because people’s feed sort of disappear. And if they’re not looking on Monday because they’re busy, or Tuesday because they’re busy, then they need to constantly be seeing it from you. So post all the time. As a general rule, I say post once a day. Some folks do post multiple times a day, or if you have to miss a day then post again, but just keep posting.

You can also time your posts. I tend to post right before the morning drive and the evening drive. So I try to get something into people’s feeds before 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern time or before 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. Pacific time. And then, you can also do that in the evening. Like, between 5:00 and 7:00 is a great time when people start checking Facebook again. They do it on their lunch hour. They do it at certain times during the day. So you want to post them . . . you don’t want to be dropping all your posts at midnight because there is a risk that they get lost sort of in the morning shuffle.

So you can also tag people. You can tag folks who you know have tons of friends. If your friends don’t mind that, you’re going to get a much bigger audience. So if I write a post saying, “Hey, everyone, I really care about this organization around bullying prevention,” and you tag your mom, and you tag your dad, “Hey, I challenge you to give to the campaign also.” Now, all of a sudden, it’s on their wall, and their friends see that their kid is raising money for something. So these are all different ways that you can use the campaign to reach more people and get more money.

Tip number six, create urgency and energy. Remember, these are campaigns. A fundraiser that is being run has a neat beginning time . . . Actually, I’m going to like see the notes here. These are campaigns. They have a clear start date, a clear finish date, and they have a goal. These are like little campaigns. So you need it to be high energy. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. That’s the whole peer-to-peer and peer pressure part of fundraising.

So these are all little campaigns. So urgency and energy are essential. Even if you’re not anywhere near your goal, keep people focused on the prize. Anyone who’s ever run for office, any candidate you’ve ever seen who’s ever run for office, they need to be the CEO. I call it the Chief of Enthusiasm and Optimism. So, if you’re running a fundraiser, or you’re running a batch of fundraisers all at once, you need to be the CEO for that campaign, the Chief of Enthusiasm and Optimism. Keep everyone focused on the prize. It is infectious when the person who’s running them all is putting out happy, wonderful updates about all the progress that’s being made. Of course, if your campaign isn’t making much progress at all, there’s some other things you need to fix. But, in general, you want to keep things positive, urgency and energy.

Tips for awesome fundraisers. Tip number six. So these are some sample posts from a fundraiser I did. I think these are from June of this year with TurnOut. So on the left, you can see some of my sample posts right around urgency and energy. “In less than a week, I have already hit half of my goal. Help me get over the line, friends.” “I have passed the halfway mark. I still need my friends, loved ones, and community members to pitch in if you can, blah, blah, blah.” On the top right, this is one that I just posted today for MOASH, that organization I told you about in Michigan. So, “Friends, I’m helping an awesome organization raise money. I’m one of 25 folks working to raise $25,000 in 25 days. Can you pitch in $5, $50, or $500? This organization keeps young people healthy.” These are just examples of making things urgent, energetic, and concrete. So these are just some examples of some of the posts you can put out there for your organization when you’re writing sample posts. You can steal any of these if you want.

Tip number seven, giving days like Giving Tuesday may have more energy and possible matches. So many folks know that the Gates Foundation and Facebook partner up every year around Giving Tuesday every year so far since 2016 to match money. I know some charities on the West Coast get passed over because a lot of the groups on the East Coast are raising money earlier in the day, and they’re getting this much money and many organizations miss out. But I’ve been with a number of charities that have actually gotten this money, so I do believe it’s worth it. If you can go up live first thing in the morning on Giving Tuesday, there might be another match again this year.

So there are different giving days throughout the year. The LGBTQ community has, like, Give Out Day in May, and Giving Tuesday is for everyone. There might be holidays, anniversaries, or recognition of something that happened 25 years ago. Any, like, key day that matters to your base, and your members, and your board, and your followers, these are all really great opportunities to spend a focused day trying to get everyone to post five, six, seven times. And, if you can get someone to put in a match, someone to say, “Any money that’s raised on this big important day, I’m going to match it up to $5,000,” so if you can find a donor willing to put in money for a high-performing campaign, or he’ll put in $5,000, or she’ll put in $5,000 if you hit 400 donors or something like that, you can actually raise more money.

So giving days are a great way to concentrate the energy. So the group I’m working with right now, we deliberately did a 30-day campaign around Giving Tuesday so that we can really excite people. We are way ahead of our goal already. I think we set out to raise $20,000 or $25,000 in a month, and in just a week, we’ve already raised $13,000. So, once again, every single time we run one of these campaigns, we make a lot of money for that nonprofit very fast with no strings attached. There’s no restrictions on this money at all.

Some cases here for matches. You can see the red arrows are pointing to certain words here. So on the left, Jack, who is with TurnOut [inaudible 00:39:07] helping in the spring, “Thanks to a matching grant from a generous donor, all gifts up to $99 have a 1:1 match, and everything $100 and above has a 2:1 match.” And that donor ended up just putting . . . even though we didn’t hit the full amount that donor offered to put into, he put it at the end anyway because he was just so excited that the organization did such a good job.

And on the right-hand side, you can see some other posts from me on a campaign fundraiser I was running, you know, “We’re going to find 25 people in 2017 who are willing to do a Facebook fundraiser for us online. We raised over 20,000 in 10 weeks. If you want to run one, let me know. Super simple.” Me basically, part of that that I’m talking about there is the gate match that we got, part of that 20,000 was the gate match. And then below that, you can see just another sample posts about the Gates Foundation. So this is from January of 2017 when I was at the Tyler Clementi Foundation, so. So examples of how to talk about matches.

So, tip eight, we’re now at the final tip, so make this a primary way for volunteers to get involved. When I was at the Tyler Clementi Foundation, we thought this was so powerful. People were starting to run these fundraisers for us all over the country. Now, tons of charities are having people just start these on their birthdays, but anyone can run them anytime. So what we did at that organization, we actually created a major banner on our website. So when you go to the get involved page, the first thing that greets you isn’t just volunteering or donating, it’s “Will you run a Facebook fundraiser for our organization? Here are the six steps for setting up your campaign. Go to this link. Do this, do this, and you’re off and running.” So we actually had a dedicated page on our website to recruit everyone to run fundraisers for us, and it became a steady year-long stream of new money that was coming in.

This is really powerful as a standard onboarding option. Any new volunteer, any new board member, any person who comes into your sphere, you can hand them a one pager that says, “This is how you run a Facebook fundraiser for us, please consider doing it.” If a fraction of the people that you hand that to raise your money, you can make thousands of dollars during the year. It’s also a really great option for people who aren’t nearby. If you run a small organization like that organization, RAICES, which is down at the border in Texas or California that was raising money for the immigrant families at the border, they’re mostly a local organization that people all over the country wanted to be raising money for them. So Facebook fundraisers are a way for people to be running these all over the country or even further outside of the country for this charity.

So if you have fans or people that aren’t geographically nearby to you, and they can’t physically drive down or get down to your office to volunteer, they should run a Facebook fundraiser. So it’s a great opportunity for folks who aren’t nearby, or those who have mobility challenges, or whatever running these things, or to check way to bring in money.

So here’s how to pull reports. At the end of the campaign, you’re going to want a list of all the people that gave money, how much they gave, whose campaign they gave to, whose fundraiser they gave to, what was the exact date. And so here’s just a little . . . I pulled this from the organization we’re working with . . . I’m working with this month, MOASH, so Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health. They work in comprehensive sex education in the State of Michigan, a cause that I really care a lot about. So you can see, these are different steps, one through five.

Let’s see, step one is when you’re on the actual Facebook page, you have to be an admin to see this. If you’re an admin for the Facebook page, you can see there’s this list of options at the top, and there’s probably one that says more. And then, if you go to step two, when you click on the More button, you will then see Publishing Tools, so the orange arrow is pointing right at Publishing Tools. And if you jump over to the right, step three, you’ll then see Donation Settings. It’s a little convoluted. They should make this a lot easier but the Donation Settings button. Then after that, you go to step four, a Donation Settings window pops up, and then you’ll click on Download Donation Reports. And then step five, you can pull a multi-day transaction report, from the beginning of the campaign to the end of the campaign. It spits it out as a CSV, basically Excel file, and you’ll have all of this data.

Now, the single, most frustrating thing about Facebook fundraisers is that you don’t get the emails for your donors. There’s a lot of reasons why Facebook does this. They haven’t really explained themselves. But I’m pretty sure I understand why they don’t want folks going off the platform to raise money from these people. So, in a way, not getting the emails of your donors is sort of like you can just . . . instead of, like, stressing over, “How do I get these people to give a second time? How do we get them folded into our renewal?”

Just imagine that when you run Facebook fundraisers, these people are never coming back. Every single time you run one, maybe once a year, or you get 10 new people every year, just assume they’re always fresh new people that really don’t have a lot of strings attached to the money that they’re giving. So you’re not going to get the email addresses, but you also don’t really have to cultivate them that much more.

Of course, you can try to get them into your organization’s Facebook page, but it’s going to be really difficult to get their emails. Of course, you can ask every person running a Facebook fundraiser to round up the email addresses for all the people that donated, but it’s a giant hassle. So it’s one of the big problems with the Facebook fundraiser campaign.

So that is that. So now, I think Steve is going to drop in some links for everyone. So, for the Facebook fundraiser tools, I have four different links for you here today. There are different things that I give away for free that can help your nonprofit, and so one of them is my Board Fundraising Worksheet. So Steven is going to drop that in, which is a powerful tool that nonprofits use. It’s my highest performing tool. I give it away for free. It’s a tool for boards to use to write down exactly how they’re going to raise money throughout the year. It’s a great tool for executive directors and boards.

I also have a tool called 44 Ways to Skyrocket Your Nonprofit Email List. If you’re interested in this webinar, you probably care about growing your email list. That’s a free tool, 44 different ways to do that. Below that is creating a unique value proposition for your nonprofit. I didn’t see anything online at all that was a good tool for how to write a unique value proposition statement for a nonprofit so I created my own. You can grab that with that link. And then also, the free Facebook fundraiser webinar.

So the thing we just did on this webinar, I give this away for free also on my own course page. So, if you go to my course page and sign up for my webinar, it’s shorter than this. It’s only like $15, same basic tips. But if you sign up there, you will get my instruction guide, and that is a PDF download that you’ll get with the exact step-by-step methodology to producing a Facebook fundraiser, and the step-by-step methodology for creating a campaign for all of these different people to be doing it.

So all of those are free resources for you. That’ll get you signed up to get more tips and stuff like that for my company. But if you want the instruction guide on how to do this so you can just tell all your followers, and donors, and volunteers to set these up, grab that from the instruction guide on the free Facebook fundraiser link.

So that’s all I have. I have one more page here just to show you the other stuff that my organization does, my company does. Lots of work with executive directors and board, coaching, training, consulting, lots of things like that. And I have a YouTube channel. I’d love you all to subscribe too. Find me on Twitter. I don’t tweet a lot, but I’m there. And then you can go to my website. You can schedule a consult if you want to chat with me, or you can email me. But those are all the ways to get in touch with me, and all the different things I do. So I think now I’m going to hand it off to Steven, who I think we’ll going to handle the Q&A.

Steven: Yeah. But first, that was awesome, Sean. Thank you. Thank you so much. Wow, that was chock full of stuff. Great advice and lots of things that people can do right away. So thank you. Thank you. I love what you said about not worrying too much about getting the donor information because, yeah, that’s true. You don’t. And I see people pulling their hair out about, you know, trying to track the people down. So thank you for that. We’ve got some great questions here, I know you answered a few along the way. But Giving Tuesday, Sean, a lot of people were asking about Giving Tuesday, especially when you talked about getting that kind of timeframe for your campaign.

We’re recording this on November 21st. We got Giving Tuesday in just under two weeks. When should people start? Should they start on Giving Tuesday? Should it be in the middle of the campaign, the end of the campaign? Like, what do you recommend today as we’re recording this year in 2019?

Sean: If you’re an individual and you kind of know how to run one of these campaigns, I would go up at least two to three days before Giving Tuesday, maybe even five days before. If you don’t know what you’re doing, and you’re going to be practicing throughout this whole process, or you’re going to be trying to get 5, 10, 20 other people to be running these, I would go up at least seven days. There are lots of little wrinkles and snags that people hit, someone’s accidentally forgot to invite other people, someone is doing it on their phone, and they’re doing it wrong. All sorts of problems can happen if you don’t understand the technology, or you are sloppy with it. So you want to give yourself a couple of days to sort of practice, and mess up, and whatever. So I would get started immediately. Again, these take two minutes to set up, and if you want to round up five people, it takes them all two minutes to set them up.

The time-consuming part is inviting their friends and then they just post once a day. So because we still have two weeks, I would say everyone should have something up by three to five days beforehand. Again, your fundraiser is going to make money no matter what if you follow the tips in this webinar, but it’s really especially helpful on Giving Tuesday to have this already up and running so that people can see that you’re already making money, and they’re going to want to be a part of something big on Giving Tuesday.

Steven: That makes sense. I assume most people will start on Giving Tuesday so that they kind of get ahead of the crowd. That makes a lot of sense. Okay, what about December 31st? Allison here was asking your thoughts on maybe doing these things on New Year’s Eve. I assume she’s perhaps alluding to the fact that that’s a pretty big day of giving, even since the tax law changed. It’s still quite a spike in giving. So it is there any thought or is it a good idea? Do you think of maybe running that campaign? What do you think?

Sean: December is a huge month for giving. I think certainly the plurality of gifts throughout the year, if not the majority for some charities, happen in the month of December. For me, it’s not about December 31st, it’s about the month of December. So I would have this up and running like December 2nd to January 2nd. I would just run a 30-day campaign during the entire month of December. Some people are, like, in the holiday spirit. Some people are traveling on the 31st, “I’m going to be out of the country at the end of the year, so I won’t be giving to people’s fundraisers.” So some people are just traveling for the holiday, or they’re distracted on the 31st. I would run a campaign during the entire month of December, or for the last two weeks of the month, or whatever you want to do.

There’s no wrong time of year. Again, there are anniversaries, or dates, or key things on the calendar like end of the school year, the beginning of the school year. There’s all sorts of reasons to run these. And your charity, your organization can experiment at different times of year with different people on Facebook to see when you get the most traction. So I think a December 31st strategy makes sense. But I would really encourage you to do the entire month of December.

Steven: Okay. It makes sense to me. Speaking of the people that you want to corral to do these fundraisers for you, any tips on who to ask? Should you ask friends and family, or loyal donors, loyal volunteers, board members? Like, who are those people that maybe you should reach out to that could go out and do their own fundraisers?

Sean: If you feel comfortable asking your staff . . . like as an executive director, I try not to ask my own staff to raise money. But if you’re the kind of organization and you have the kind of relationships, I would start with your staff. There’s no one more motivated than your staff. If you have staff, I would definitely say, “Hey, you’re not required to. We pay you here, but if you’re interested in running one of these, this is how you do it.” That’s how I would really do that. But first, I would start with your staff. They are the most invested. They’re the most interested in seeing this be successful. And then I would go to your board, into your volunteers. Absolutely. And then I would ask your own personal network.

I think it’s really powerful to give this tool to board members. Board members are frequently like, “I don’t know how to raise money. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t want to ask my friends.” They’re constantly struggling with trying to hit the amount that they’re supposed to fundraise. So Facebook fundraisers have been the thing that for a lot of boards this is finally the thing that got them because they thought it was fun, they could be part of a larger team goal. So those are the people I would do.

And then like Tyler Clementi Foundation did when I was there, you can have like . . . they don’t have it there anymore, but you can have like a page on your website when anyone arrives at your site. It could be a giant, like, get involved, help us raise money among your friend group button so anyone coming to your website could all of a sudden be scooped up into this process. We did see people decide to just do that because they were digital natives, or they were young, or they really, from a distance, wanted to participate in some way. So definitely start with your own people inside the organization, and then branch out to like your friends, and family, and neighbors, or whoever.

And then another way to do this is to look at the most engaged people on Facebook. Look at the people that are commenting the most on Facebook, sharing, engaging with your content. It makes sense if you have 30 people during the year who are liking five or more things per month on your Facebook page. Those are people that are really engaged. So I would reach out to them and say, “Hey, you’re really active with our nonprofit. Would you mind running one of these campaigns for us?” And I promise you, a lot of them are going to say yes.

Steven: I love that. That’s such a good way to get your supporters engaged. And I’m curious what you think about this, Sean, but my thought has always been, you know, going back to the fact that you don’t get the donor information and it’s hard to cultivate. It seems like the fundraiser is way more important to cultivate than those people that give 5 or 10 bucks to their campaign. Like, would you agree with that that the primary appreciation and attention should go to those people that raise money for you?

Sean: Yeah. So a lot of charities are having people just start these campaigns on their birthday because they’re prompted to by Facebook to start a fundraiser on their birthday. And they just pick a charity. All of a sudden, you’ve got a bunch of these running. So, in some ways, those are easy because they’re all two-week $200 fundraisers. That’s the default that Facebook gives people is usually a two-week fundraiser, or a one-week fundraiser for $200. So tracking those people down is not difficult because they’re just sort of happening, and you can just always look at your fundraiser page of your wall. But, yeah, I think the most energy is in peer-to-peer fundraising, it’s rounding up the people who are actually going to do the fundraising and then training them.

So, in the instructions that you give to people that you recruit, it should be very clear about the eight tips that I’ve shared with you today. I actually have a video whenever a nonprofit hires me to run one of these campaigns like MOASH. I’m working with MOASH right now. There’s 25 different people raising money all in one month. I created a little training video that goes over all of the tips I just gave you in eight minutes. And it’s a little training video I just give to everyone. So they watch it right before activating their campaign, and they know exactly what to do. So it is I think most of the energy that does need to be spent on the recruiting the people who are going to run these, and I would have a batch of people that you have run them in the spring and a batch of people you have run them in the fall.

Steven: Right. It’s the idea that they don’t get, you know, burnt out on. Is that kind of the thought there?

Sean: That they don’t get burned out and that they don’t burn out or cannibalize their supporters, their friends.

Steven: That makes sense. Yeah, now that I think of it, I do see . . .

Sean: They didn’t have to ask everyone once [a year 00:55:49] . . .

Steven: Yeah. I’ve seen fundraisers where it’s like the same person, like, once a month same cause, and it’s like, “I already gave to that,” you know. Okay. That makes sense. Cool. Well, we’re almost at 3:00. I know there’s a lot of questions in here we haven’t gotten to. A lot of folks are asking about the resources. Don’t worry, I’ll get those to all you folks. We’ll send you the recording, the slides, all those, templates and ebooks and one pagers that Sean has offered. We will get those to you for sure, the video he mentioned. Any parting advice, Sean? What’s maybe something folks could do today? What’s the number one thing you think they should do as soon as they close this webinar?

Sean: I would just say don’t let the controversy around Facebook . . . people are like, “Oh, they’ve got privacy challenges,” or, “Oh.” Just don’t let all that get in the way of you raising beaucoup bucks for your charity. I’m so bullish on Facebook right now in terms of fundraiser because it is like unrestricted money. It’s fast. There’s no fees. Facebook doesn’t charge any fees on their end at all. There’s a tiny transaction fee, but Facebook doesn’t charge any fees for a lot of reasons. This is just a slam dunk for nonprofits to get like $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 in a month fast with no strings attached. So push aside the emotional and political stuff about this platform, and go out there and just start activating people to raise your money because it really is simple once you get started.

Steven: And now, they’ve got the tools to do it. So thanks, Sean. This is really awesome, a really great advice. I love listening to this and hanging out with you. Thanks for doing this for us.

Sean: Thanks for having me.

Steven: Yeah. Well, we are going to get all this good stuff in your hands, folks. So don’t worry, we’ll give you the recording, the slides. All those resources from Sean, I’m going to email that to you here before I leave for the day, I promise I’ll get it to you. So be on the lookout for that. It’ll be an email from me. Sean is going to email you too and have some goodies for you. But, follow him, check out his website. There’s lots of awesome resources on there. You know, follow him on Twitter and everything. He doesn’t tweet that much, but I think it’ll still be worth the follow.

So this is cool. But we got a great session coming up here in a couple weeks. We’re taking the next week off for Thanksgiving here in the States. I’m going to take a week off. I hope you guys don’t mind. But my buddy, Sophie Penney is going to join us two Thursdays from now. We’re going to talk about generational giving, kind of the differences between all the generations, how they give, what those differences and habits are. So be on the lookout for that. I think you’ll be able to perhaps put some of those concepts into use before the year end. So be on the lookout for the invite for that in a couple of weeks. We got lots of other webinars scheduled throughout early 2020 already. So check out our webinar page. We’d love to see you on another session here coming up.

So we’ll call it a day there. Like I said, look for an email from me with all the resources. I’ll get that to you today. And hopefully, we’ll see you again in a couple of weeks for our next session. So have a good rest of your Thursday. Have a great Thanksgiving if you’re celebrating here in the States, and then we will hopefully talk to you again soon. Bye now.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.