Facebook for Fundraising Done Right

A recent Africa-focused charity just completed a Facebook campaign that should serve as the blueprint for how to run a successful online campaign. Childfund International ran a contest that increased the transparency of its operation, energized donors and supporters, drove up social network activity, and – perhaps most important – created online ambassadors for their mission.

In short, Childfund ran a campaign that allowed its Facebook fans a vote to send one of five finalists to Africa to witness firsthand the work being done there. The winner was David Levis – a California school teacher and Childfund sponsor since 1999 (info from this Chronicle of Philanthropy article). This online voting and recognition campaign is a brilliant way to engage and use your Facebook fans in your overall communication, stewardshop, and acquisition strategies. Here’s why…

A Window into Your Organization

Online media is a great way to pull back the shades and open your organization up to supporters and donors. Videos, photos, blog posts, and other digital media can deliver news and information about your org quickly and effectively. This helps your constituents feel more connected to your mission. The following quotes from the Chronicle story show just how effective this campaign was at opening a window for Childfund’s supporters to peer through:

“The nicest thing about it was to really see how the system worked,” Mr. Levis says. “It seems like this small, little amount of money focusing on one child, and the reality of how they have it set up is so much bigger than that.”

While Mr. Levis traveled the country, he shared his experiences through blog posts and Facebook messages to “bring all of the other sponsors, in a sense, with us.”

It’s Authentic

Here are Mr. Levis’ words on the communication he sent back while in Africa:

The trip was to “put as much communication out there as much as possible to tell the stories as real and impassioned as possible each and every time.”

There’s nothing over the top or fake about a donor telling the story of an organization in their own words. Childfund also sprang for a well-produced video to help tell that story, but the entire time the voice was Mr. Levis. Being and feeling “real” is priceless in modern communications – having a donor tell the story in their words contributes to that feeling of realness.

Creating Online Ambassadors

The success of your online efforts depend, more than any other single factor, upon the size and enthusiasm of your volunteer online ambassadors. This is the army of people who support you and are vocal about their support of your organization both online and off. The Childfund Facebook campaign created an ambassador out of Mr. Levis…

Mr. Levis said his family hadn’t been public about its charitable donations in the past, but the trip gave him a chance to talk about ChildFund with his friends, family, students, and others.

Since he returned from the trip, five of his friends have signed up to sponsor needy children…

Consider your fans and followers in social media. If even 5 percent of them brought another five supporters into your organization, what would that do to your donor acquisition numbers? Maybe that’s why we keep  hearing so much about the potential of online when it comes to acquiring new donors.

For more information on how an online strategy can boost your fundraising programs, visit BWF.com.

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