Our guide to social media for fundraising campaigns
Social media is an indispensable tool for fundraisers. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, or Weibo, social media makes it easier to promote your cause and encourage donations from a large audience. And it works remarkably well – according to data from NP Source, 55% of people that interact with charities end up taking some sort of action, and 59% of these individuals then go on to donate.
With such a high conversion rate, charities simply cannot afford to overlook social media. Alongside contactless donation technology, it forms the backbone of any future-proof fundraising strategy. If you’re looking for inspiration, here is some information on what platform could be the best fit for your social media fundraising efforts, as well as some glowing examples that have caught our attention.
What social media channel should I use for my campaign?
When it comes to fundraising, the medium is just as important as the message. Not only does each platform have a range of unique features and benefits, but it’s important to choose a platform that is popular amongst your particular demographic. For instance, while Facebook has continued to thrive as the top social media juggernaut, there has been a noticeable spike in the number of older Facebook users over the last few years. In comparison, TikTok is the undisputed platform of choice for users aged 18-24, with over 100m monthly users. While you’ll want to take your time to weigh up the pros and cons of each platform, here’s a glimpse of what they can offer for your fundraising efforts.
As well as strengthening relationships with your existing followers, Facebook offers free tools for audience growth and increasing donations. These include a Donate button for your charity’s Facebook page, custom stickers for Facebook Stories and the option to run real-time fundraising drives on Facebook Live.
That said, the main benefit of Facebook for charities is the ability to leverage your network of followers for effective peer-to-peer fundraising. A great example of this is Facebook birthday fundraisers, which allow people to ask friends or loved ones for donations to their chosen cause instead of a birthday present. As of September 2019, over $1bn has been raised by birthday fundraisers (and in 2021, this number is likely to be much higher!).
Twitter has over 15.25m UK users who flock to the platform to engage in real-time conversations with not only their friends and peers but also some of the world’s most influential people. Twitter is often the place where news stories break and through the use of hashtags, trends can spread like wildfire. By keeping a close eye on trending Tweets, charities can see what particular causes and stories are sparking conversation and find new opportunities to promote their chosen cause.
Hashtags are without a doubt the defining feature of Twitter. For example, #CharityTuesday, which is used to spread awareness and encourage donations, has over 11.3k Tweets. Charities and nonprofits can also create unique hashtags to generate buzz around their campaigns. A fantastic example of this is Captain Tom’s landmark campaign to raise funds for the NHS, which used hashtags such as #IStandWithTom and #Tomorrowwillbeagoodday. As well as spreading awareness of Captain Tom’s efforts, these hashtags tapped into a nationwide sentiment of solidarity and hope.
As you probably know, Instagram is much more of a visual platform than Facebook or Twitter. Many charities have used this to their advantage, sharing content that inspires, informs and entertains. But as well as striking a chord with their audience with impactful photos and videos, charities can also use Instagram to the benefit of their ongoing fundraising.
A great example of this is running short fundraising drives on Instagram Stories. These only last for 24 hours, so there is a sense of urgency that prompts users to donate sooner rather than later. Instagram Stories offer an innovative ‘swipe-up’ feature that takes users directly to a web page where they can send donations or get more information about your charity. Furthermore, charities can live-stream their fundraising on Instagram Live, which also allows them to recognise individual fundraisers for their generosity.
We particularly recommend Instagram as a fundraising channel for charities with a strong visual identity, and would also like to point out that charities will receive 100% of any funds raised via Instagram.
Since its inception in 2017, TikTok’s skyrocketing popularity is showing no signs of slowing down. This app is particularly popular amongst young people, so charities looking to target this demographic are missing a trick if they aren’t investing in TikTok. At the heart of this brand’s ethos is positivity which can be seen in TikTok for Good, their dedicated page for charities and non-profits.
Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge a few years back? Challenges of this sort are hugely popular on TikTok, and therefore could be a fantastic way for your charity to spread awareness (not to mention increase donations). A great example of this is The United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD.) IFAD decided to launch the world’s largest dance challenge as a virtual petition to increase investment in sustainable agriculture for rural Africa. Over 33,000 videos were created for the #DanceForChange challenge, garnering a total of 88m views.
The best social media fundraising campaigns
There are several reasons why we selected the following charity social media campaigns. While some were able to spread their message through ‘viral’ content, others understood that at the heart of social media lies a sense of community and thus utilised peer groups and influential figures to share their cause and mission. Here are some standout examples of successful social media charity campaigns, with some key takeaways for your own fundraising efforts.
The National Trust
The social media team at The National Trust, the UK’s leading cultural heritage charity, are known to raise both funds and eyebrows through their online antics. They regularly use humour to create viral-worthy content that engages potential donors whilst drawing attention to their cause. In 2016, for instance, they used April Fool’s Day as an opportunity to dupe Facebook users into thinking they had moved the Avebury Stones, the world’s largest prehistoric monument. In the short video, rangers are shown moving what appears to be one of the stones in the back of a trailer, so that the ancient monument fits with British Summer Time. According to reactions on Facebook, some still genuinely believe this happens every year.
The Key Point – Humour (done well) can give your fundraising campaign a fighting chance of going viral. Just make sure it’s in line with your message and isn’t going to cause offence.
Movember is a pioneer of using social media for fundraising, and it hasn’t stopped innovating since it started in 2003. In its most recent campaign, Movember teamed up with TikTok to raise awareness around men’s health issues. Using the hashtag #movember, content creators made moustache-related TikToks. Attempts included Nicole Scherzinger sharing some questionable mo-related facts and GymShark’s furry-lipped team jiggling on treadmills. To date, the campaign has gathered over 826 million views on the platform.
Get creative this Movember. Show us your Mo, give us a moustache fact, or tell us what Movember means to you.
The Key Point – Depending on the objectives of your social media campaign, focusing on one particular channel can be beneficial. Make sure you’re aware of the strengths, weaknesses, and demographics of each platform.
The Natural History Museum
Given the huge challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, many charities have turned to virtual fundraising events. Among the most interesting is the Natural History Museum’s ‘Virtual Race for Nature’. It encourages participants to raise money by tracing out the shape of an animal using apps like Strava or Map My Run. Once runners have completed their laps, they can share on social media and prompt yet more donations from family and friends. For those that raise over a certain amount, the Museum awards anything from a medal to memberships and exclusive access to events.
The Key Point – Sports and physical activities are great at encouraging engagement and raising awareness of your cause through shareable content.
Clooney Foundation for Justice
Established by human rights lawyer Amal and her actor husband, George, the Clooney Foundation for Justice aims to support those that have been targeted by oppressive and corrupt legal systems. While not every charity is fortunate enough to have the express backing of two world-renowned founders, the Clooney Foundation has demonstrated just how effective celebrity endorsements can be in social media fundraising campaigns. Last year, the couple launched a competition to spend a day with them at their home in Lake Como, Italy. Using the online fundraising platform, Omaze, as well as all social media channels, the foundation released a video of George announcing the competition; in just 47 days, it managed to collect over $100 million.
The Key Point – Where possible, leverage celebrity patrons and influencers in order to increase reach on social media.
World Wild Fund for Nature
The WWF runs multiple high-profile social media campaigns each year to raise awareness of the human impact on the natural world. To help it achieve this aim, it regularly utilises current trends to convey a particular message. Last year, for instance, it used the #10yearchallenge to draw attention to the issue of deforestation. Going viral on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, the #10yearchallenge involved users posting two photos of themselves 10 years apart to show how much or little they’ve changed over the past decade. Putting a more serious spin on this social media craze, WWF posted satellite images showing the impact of deforestation over the last 10 years on a particular area. To date, the post has generated over 22 thousand shares on Facebook alone, and has led to multiple other environmental organisations following suit with their versions.
The Key Point – Stay up-to-date with the latest campaigns or challenges to go viral, and (if appropriate) use them creatively to convey a message and raise awareness of your cause.
If you’re interested in boosting your fundraising efforts through data and technology, get in touch with GoodBox. We make contactless tap to donate technology that help charities move with the times and away from physical cash, plus our in-house creative team can work with your cause to generate mass engagement.
So far, we’ve helped organisations like The Church of England and The National History Museum boost their donation revenue to fund their causes. If you’re interested in finding out more, please get in contact today or download a pricing brochure.