How can I use social media to boost my fundraising?

Updated Apr 15, 2020

We live in an era where social media dictates how we interact. When it comes to fundraising, social media can also be a great tool for you to reach out to potential donors. 

When using social media, keep in mind that social media is often great for:

  • Building buzz. If donors hear about the campaign from multiple sources—like in person and on social media—they’ll likely perceive that the campaign is successful and will be more likely to donate.
  • Storytelling. Get the project story out there and see who reacts. Then, follow up with social media contacts and make a direct fundraising ask.
  • Thanking donors. Double impact! First, your donor will feel appreciated by your public expression of gratitude (provided that they have chosen to give publicly, not anonymously). Second, you’ll reach new networks of potential donors by tagging your donor in your thank you post.

But note that social media is NOT great for asking for donations. You can expect only about 0.5% of your social media followers to donate, so it’s best if you focus your time and energy on making direct asks. Be wary, too, of spending money to advertise on Facebook to get more folks to see your post and give. Unless you spend a sizable amount of money and spend time customizing a sophisticated online campaign, it likely isn’t worth it.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of fundraising on social media

  • Stick with sharing your story. This is still just as vital on social media as it is for in-person asks, so make sure you are telling a full story. There are ways to bring people in, share anecdotes from people in the community that are connected to the project, share your why, share what you are doing so people can invest in your project. Here's an example:
  • Try new mediums. Add photos or make a video to help people connect with the project. Posts on social media that have media connect to them, such as photo or video, are more often seen and clicked on, so be sure to put your best foot forward.

  • Make a plan. Although think you are reaching everyone you are friends with or everyone that has liked your organization’s page, the reality is you're not. Due to many of the algorithms built into different platforms, you are actually only reaching about 10% of your audience. One way you can get more reach is posting consistently. The best way to ensure this is by building out an editorial calendar and planning out templates for your post. Shoot for about 20% of your posts containing direct asks.

  • Pick your main outlet. There are so many platforms to choose from, and that can be hard to manage. We suggest picking one or two platforms as the main place you share your campaign and tailor your asks to these platforms and the connections you have on each. This will create consistency for your donors.

  • Make it easy to share. Because sharing is easy, social media is great for getting the word out! Share posts or links to your campaign to generate calls to action. Make it even more interactive by creating a hashtag. This way when people share, you can track it and thank them, or interact with their networks. Here's an example:

  • Publicly thank your donors. Thanking is important, and donors are more likely to reshare your post if you recognize them. They can then share your post and invite their network to give.
Previous Article My campaign is part of a matching-funds program. How can I leverage the match for more donations?
Next Article I'm hosting a fundraiser for my campaign. What is the best way to collect donations in-person?