Today, we’re sharing a great example of a charity using Facebook to support and promote their London Marathon runners. On PDSA’s brilliant Flora London Marathon Facebook page runners can get involved in discussions with each other, share tips and post photos and videos. They also have a section on their marathon runners on their own website.
This is a really great example of using Facebook to build a community around people raising money for their charity, and is something that any charity can do. They’ve even sent their runners a help doc to help them promote their fundraising efforts on Facebook: PDSA Facebook advice
As well as that, you can see our top tips in The 10 best ways to use facebook to fundraise – Justgiving edition…
It was really nice of Lizzy from PDSA to answer some questions for us and share her experiences of using Facebook…
1) What made you use Facebook in this way? Was it to help people fundraise or to give them a central social space to communicate?
We wanted to do both of these things. By creating a social space to communicate we have opened up a support network which will in turn encourage our runners to set their fundraising goals higher and reach a wider audience with their cause.
2) How did you go about encouraging your runners to use YouTube? Did you send instructions to them in a fundraising pack?
As this was our first time we went out to some of our runners and filmed them. Next year we will be able to show other runners how to do this and how this will benefit them.
3) Do you monitor the message board at all?
Yes, we monitor everyday and reply to messages, add discussions etc. We have a few key editors of the page so it is always being looked after.
The page benefits us by providing an online community, not just for our PDSA runners, but for their friends and others who are thinking about running the marathon. We are ultimately reaching a much wider audience than if this was just on our website.
Potential runners and supporters can see for themselves the support we give our runners and how they are preparing for the marathon in addition to how they are raising funds for their targets. This has been particularly useful when recruiting own place runners. Information is always current as we keep the site interactive and we can see at a glance the profile of traffic using the page e.g. age range and gender.
5) How much effort and time does this require a weekly basis? Would you say that it was worth it? Why?
After initial set up it takes as much time as using a regular Facebook page. You will get out of it what you put in so I would say definitely worth it. Through our runners and fans friends we are reaching the nth person with our message.
6) Is there any reason why you’re not encouraging your runners to use our Facebook application?
This is the next step of our Facebook training for our runners. It’s info we will be sending to all our runners in their next enewsletter.
7) Do you have any words of wisdom for other charities in terms of using Facebook for the first time?
I would say that charities who have a Facebook page for an event like this must remain open and flexible when thinking of content for the page. React to what the users are using the page for by being part of the conversation. Make sure you are always supporter led. This is primarily a support network for your runners as well as a marketing tool so listen to your runners and supporters and act accordingly.
Thanks to Lizzy for taking the time to answer our questions. Keep up the good work!