Facebook is a huge deal to us here at JG. It provides more than 20% of all our incoming traffic, which means thousands of people are using it to fundraise every day. And it’s getting bigger.
It’s a good time to share our knowledge of the platform as it is. So here’s a start.
All of these tips can be used *in conjunction with* our Facebook app, to help you raise as much as possible for your charity.
Also it’s worth noting, these tips are not Justgiving-specific per se, they’ll work with any fundraising app you use more or less, and we think Facebook can have a much bigger impact for charities than a few other folks. So spread this post, we’d love to see the results from it.
Before we start getting into detail, let’s get the most important part out of the way.
Fundraising is a story. You have to tell that story. Facebook is one of the simplest ways to tell that story, to a group of people who will be interested, interact and support you.
Think about that in relation to the next 10 points, and let’s begin:
1. Status Updates
Status updates are so easy. It’s the bread and butter of Facebook – telling your network what you’re up to.
Are you using status updates less these days? Are your friends? In my experience, people seem to be updating less and less (which could just mean I need some new friends). That means the overall noise levels are reducing. That’s a good thing, because as a fundraiser you should be posting an update fairly regularly, and it should *always* have your Justgiving page attached to it. Maybe you’ve had a big donation, or gone training, it could be anything. Tell us. We wanna know.
Update. Be rigorous and organised about it. Three times a week is acceptable. After all, you’ve got something to promote that can be a discussion point. It’s a surefire way to be omnipresent on your friend’s newsfeeds so there’s no possible way they *won’t* know what you’re up to.
Also, look out for opportunities to start conversations based on your friend’s status updates. Commenting on statuses has really taken off since Facebook launched it a few months ago.
Maybe enlist a couple of your closest friends to share your page URL on their status too. Remember how everyone donated their status for Barack Obama on election night? Maybe they’ll donate their status to you too. Make them fun, snappy and, if you can get away with it, cheeky.
Cheeky updates spur conversations, which in turn raise awareness in your network.
The golden rule is don’t just post the URL all on its own. Link-baiting alone is kind of annoying and we’ve all seen it (and they’re normally linking to ‘hilarious’ YouTube videos).
2. Dress Your Profile with Notes
New Facebook changed profiles loads. So much, in fact, that I think we’re all still getting used to it. The upside is certain things have been given much more prominence, which is great for people who escape the comfort of their newsfeeds and go profile-surfing.
Posting notes is an effective way of regularly sharing your page. The Facebook sharer can pull out the image from your page and the link, which is all you need. That’s what our app did more or less. So do it, and keep it fresh. If you upload a new photo to your Justgiving page, or edit your personal message, or hit a fundraising milestone, post it as a note.
3. Post Photos
The Facebook photo app is pretty cool. The one thing that really elevates it over other photo apps is the ability to tag people. Make sure you try and capture as much of your story on camera and regularly upload photos, tagging yourself and anyone else in them as necessary. Photos look MASSIVE on profiles now, so get snapping. Also, make sure your profile pic is suitably related to what you’re up to.
4. Do Video. Seriously.
The barrier to creating videos has lowered so much, there’s almost no excuse to not make a video of what you’re doing. Phones do video. My camera does video. I’m pretty sure the toaster will do video soon enough. Video is an extraordinarily powerful medium to get stories and concepts across to people quickly. You’ve got a few options with Facebook video:
- use the Facebook video app. This is great for short videos, especially if your friends are in it. It has the same tagging functionality as the Photos app, so can spread through newsfeeds effectively.
- use a dedicated video site like YouTube or Vimeo. Both YouTube and Vimeo have pretty awesome Facebook integration. If you’re already using them then make sure you share the videos in your newsfeed or you can use the dedicated applications.
Soph and I are going to make more JG videos too. We want to see yours.
If you’re actually doing an official event, like a marathon for example, then search for it and see if it’s listed on Facebook. If it is, add yourself to it.
If you’re doing your own thing and you want others to take part, then you can build your own event on Facebook and send it to your friends. Don’t build an event around just the *page* because, well, that’s a bit annoying.
6. Groups vs. Pages
You should definitely build a group. Invite everyone to it. Those who actually join are the ones who you can lean on a bit harder. Get some forum discussions going, don’t let it stagnate. The other good thing about Groups is they act as the bridge to other Facebookers who you might not be friends with. They can be a very powerful networking tool, especially around fundraising. We’ve seen some really interesting examples with campaigns aligning themselves around their Facebook group. Like with Wossy and that bus.
Just do a search for ‘justgiving’ on facebook and have a look through some of the groups. There are some great examples in there.
Just don’t throw a house party or anything. Things could get messy.
Also, I recommend Groups over Pages. Pages work much better if you’re a band or a famous person, since everyone becomes a ‘fan’. I don’t know about you, but most donors don’t like being referred to as your fans. Pages are good for broadcasting to people, but Facebook works best when you’re having a conversation about stuff and not just trumpeting to people without listening back.
7. Facebook Mail
The internal messaging system in Facebook is really, really powerful. It’s really good. It’s a lot more effective than standard email because it threads messages properly and integrates well with your registered email address too.
So this tip is an easy one. Use it.
Nine times out of ten it works better than your normal email software (especially if you’re saddled with Outlook or Hotmail, in particular. Or even worse, the dreaded Lotus Notes). It works great for group emails and even better for one-to-one comms.
Don’t underestimate the power of writing to people individually. It will yield much better results than sending the same message to everyone.
You can also dissect your friends into different groups and write a different message to each one. You could have a colleagues group, for example, that might be a bit more formal than the message you’d write to your bestest buds.
Think about how you would carve up your contacts based on how you know them and write some sample messaging. It could make hundreds of pounds worth of difference and keep people happy too. Plus you get to track it all from the comfort of your Facebook account. Win.
8. Network with your charity
Ah yes. The benefactor! Quite a few charities have an official (or sometimes unofficial) presence on Facebook. Find it. Connect with them. Share your tips and stories with the fundraising team so they can pass on the goodness to others.
9. Don’t forget to say thanks
Say thanks. A lot.
Wall-post a thankyou note when somebody sponsors you. It acts as a thanks AND a reminder to others in the newsfeed that they need to sponsor you because other people are. Double trouble.
When your activity is over don’t forget to thank people collectively and individually. Let them know in as much detail as you can how much of a difference everyone has made together through your activity. It’s the end of the story. Make sure it gets told.
10. A few other things to think about in no particular order
- think about the intensity of your facebook promotion. Try and find the balance of keeping it regular without becoming overbearing. Ask for feedback if you think you’re pushing it too much from a close friend.
- lots of other sites have very tight integration with Facebook. Justgiving doesn’t yet, but we’re figuring it out. Which of those sites can help spread your story? Is it worth using them? Do you use them already and haven’t set up the integration yet? Get. On. It.
- Have a long, hard look at your privacy settings. The more closed things are, the harder it is to get the message out beyond the inner circle of your friends.
- Structure your activity into three acts. Like a movie or a play. Beginning, middle and end. Always have the story at the heart of what you do. I know I’ve said that loads already, but it’s soooo important.
I think that covers it for now. The next step is for you guys to tell us what has worked in the comments. You can do that here or join 8,000 or so other lovelies on the Justgiving fan page.
Have a good December people. Don’t forget you can follow JG on Twitter too for more regular, bite-sized news.