How to Get People to Donate on Social Media

How to Get People to Donate on Social Media

Gnosis Media Group

A recent customer commented that she wanted to understand what type of verbiage she should use on her social channels to motivate followers to give to her charity. Although you need to have realistic expectations of the effectiveness of social media for revenue generation, there are some definite tactics that can increase your chances of getting donations on social — as well as some definite social media faux pas you’ll want to avoid.

Social Media Followers Are Typically Top of Funnel

The thing to keep in mind about social media marketing is that social traffic represents people way up top of the revenue generation funnel. This means social viewers are often people with the least amount of awareness or interest in a product initially. Think about how you use social media. For example, are you typically on Facebook to give money or to look at cat pics or your friend’s wedding video?

People tend to be on social to consume news, connect with friends, play games — i.e., recreational, relaxation activities. In marketing terms, we say that these people “higher up in the sales funnel”, meaning that they are generally not in spend mode. Combine this fact with the fact that social media resists commercialization, and social selling can be a tough nut to crack.

Social Is All About Community and Conversation

The fact that social media followers are top of funnel changes the dynamics of how you need to communicate and “sell” your nonprofit to these followers. Your messages can’t merely be “please donate to my cause”; they can't be purely promotional. You must start conversations, build buzz and generate interest.

On social, you have to allow transactions to arise organically out of natural conversations. Use Facebook Messenger and Twitter DMs, for example, to start conversations with prospective donors. This will be much more effective than merely posting an advertisement on your Facebook company page and hoping people will see and respond to it.

Basically, on social you must first build an engaged, loyal community of followers around your brand. Only then can you maximize the amount of funds your organization raises on social media. Your community is what will produce the brand evangelists who will not only support you but will tell others, share your content and amplify your reach to more relevant, interested audiences.

After some time of community building, you lead these high funnel followers past the “know, like and trust” phases. Then you’re in a better position to ask for donations.

What’s the Best Type of Content for Social?

For best results, you must have sexy, provocative content. As we just mentioned, you can't go in for the sale right away.

Creating the kind of content that performs well on social takes time and a lot of thought. The content cannot be sales speak. Make use of down to earth, genuine storytelling, and be sure to sound less like a sales pitch. If you are going to make a call to action, first ask for a response that requires a low level of commitment: like signing up for a newsletter or listening to a podcast, as opposed to asking for money out of the gate.

You need to make social followers feel good first before asking them for money. They need to feel that you actually care about them and are there to serve them. Serve your followers by feeding them the quality content they like to consume, and they will in turn serve you by supporting your cause.

Scheduling Social Posts to Achieve Effective Frequency

We wrote a blog post that outlined some tips for using social media to promote your nonprofits. To boost engagement on social, you need repetition of content. In marketing, there is a principle called effective frequency. It basically says that a person needs to see your message or call to action multiple times in order for that message to have the optimum effect on the viewer.

One way to foster effective frequency with your social media followers is to schedule social media posts to go out each week. If you have a Facebook or Twitter page, you can easily use free tools like IFTTT, Buffer or the free version of HootSuite to schedule a recurring post about your fundraiser.

Maximizing Social Reach

In addition, you can use free tools like Thunderclap to help spread your message on social media far and wide. Thunderclap is a platform that lets individuals and companies rally people together to spread a message.

Write a social post on Thuderclap that includes your call to action (e.g., "Text ARTIST to 77948 to donate to the Art Academy of Delaware"). Then, get a minimum number of backers that you decide to support your Thunderclap campaign. When you reach your minimum number of backers, Thunderclap will post your promotion on all of their social profiles, at the same day and time, automatically. This can greatly amplify your message, allowing you to reach audiences you wouldn’t normally be able to reach on your own.

Using Facebook Groups

Another tactic for getting donations on social is to post in relevant Facebook groups to get relevant eyes on your fundraisder. You can drive good traffic to your website by following these steps:

  1. Identify and join Facebook Groups where members would seem interested in your charity

  2. Write a blog post on your site that answers a question these members have or provides useful information for them

  3. Include your text to donate call to action somewhere in the post

  4. Post the blog on your company Facebook page

... and now here's the important step ...

    5. Share the post from your Facebook page into the groups you've selected

Facebook makes this sharing process super easy. They now offer you the ability to post any post into any group of which you are a member:

To share a post from your Facebook page into a group, click the "Share" link below the post. Then, select "Share to a group" from the options in the dropdown menu.

To share a post from your Facebook page into a group, click the "Share" link below the post. Then, select "Share to a group" from the options in the dropdown menu.

Social Media Remarketing

Another way to produce effective frequency is through the use of remarketing. Remarketing is basically showing ad advertisement only to people who have already visited your website or engaged with your nonprofit in some way.

So, for example, with remarketing, you could show your ad to people who visited your donation checkout page but didn’t complete a donation. Or, you could show your ad to people who contacted you for more information but did not ever follow up. As you can see by the nature of these visitors, they have a much higher probability of becoming donors because they’ve already engaged with your organization on some level.

An example of a remarketing ad we are running. When people visit our website, and then come to Facebook, they are shown a video ad that includes a demo to our product (Text DONATE to 77948 to try the demo).

An example of a remarketing ad we are running. When people visit our website, and then come to Facebook, they are shown a video ad that includes a demo to our product (Text DONATE to 77948 to try the demo).

Remarketing also works on a very small budget. Because you’re only showing your ad to a small subset of all possibly interested people, remarketing is usually very cheap. Furthermore, the traffic is usually better because these are people who have already shown interest in your nonprofit as opposed to random people on social who happen to fit some targeting criteria.

We prefer Facebook for remarketing, as we’ve had the best success on that platform. But Twitter and LinkedIn also have remarketing capabilities. We recommend remarketing where your audience is. Facebook also owns Instagram, so you get the bonus of remarketing on Instagram by running a Facebook ad as well.

Video content works very well in conjunction with remarketing, we’ve found. For example, we run a remarketing ad on Facebook that displays only to people who have previously visited our website. The ad is just a post with an embedded YouTube video that shows me explaining how our text to donate product works. At the end of the video, there is a call to action that asks people to try our demo. This ad is effective because it is only shown to people who have already been on our website and who are already familiar with our product.

We’ve found that Facebook remarketing is one of the cheapest ways to generate decent engagement for our product on social.

Our Premium Plans Include Social Media Marketing

With our Smart or Pro Plan, we do social media marketing for you. If you order one of these plans, we will post social media content about your organization on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram business pages. We have close to 6,000 followers on these channels combined. By posting your fundraiser on our social channels, we can exponentially increase your reach. We take some of the guesswork out of social marketing so you can focus on what you do best: running your nonprofit.

Eric Bryant, May 18, 2019