*This is a guest post from our friends at GoodUnited.
Data is a powerful tool to elevate your fundraising, whether you leverage it to prioritize data-proven fundraising efforts or analyze key metrics to continue improving your strategy going forward.
But, how does data play into peer-to-peer social media fundraising—a fundraising method that’s generally criticized for the lack of data provided?
At GoodUnited, we work with nonprofit organizations at the intersection of data science and human judgment to raise relationships with supporters on Facebook. During the clear fundraising disruptions of 2020, we were able to put a few innovative, data-driven social fundraising strategies to the test.
In this guide, we’re going to cover those findings through the following points:
- Defining Peer-to-Peer Social Fundraising
- 3 Tips to Elevate Your P2P Social Strategy
- Understand the data available to you.
- Use Facebook challenges to grow your social audience.
- Use conversational messaging to raise your relationships.
- Wrapping Up: Embrace automation as your audience grows.
Before we discuss the data-driven tips for social fundraising, let’s make sure we’re all building from the same foundational understanding of the practice.
Defining Peer-to-Peer Social
Peer-to-peer social fundraising describes any peer-to-peer fundraising efforts that take place using tools built directly into social media networks. A few examples include:
- Facebook’s fundraising tools, including gifts made through the Donate button on individuals’ profiles and posts, birthday fundraisers, or even fundraising challenges (more on these later).
- TikTok’s fundraising tools, which include donation stickers and fundraising links on users’ profiles.
- Instagram’s fundraising tools, which essentially include a donation sticker on stories.
On each of these platforms, these tools are leveraged by individual users to raise funds from their peers, with those donations directed to the nonprofit of the individual’s choice. That’s the peer-to-peer portion of P2P social fundraising.
For the purposes of this guide, we’re going to narrow in on one platform— Facebook’s fundraising tools. Not only is Facebook the pioneer of social media-based fundraising, but the platform’s tools have also facilitated over $2 billion in donations since launching in 2013.
One of the most prominent criticisms of Facebook fundraising— and social media-based fundraising overall— is the lack of donor data that these platforms provide for organizations. This is largely due to the privacy policies that users agree to when joining the platforms. Unlike your online donation page, Facebook can’t provide you with in-depth information about each and every user who starts a fundraiser and each donor who gives to one.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use P2P social fundraising in your development strategy, however. It just means that you need to work smarter— not harder— with a strategic approach to Facebook fundraising. Let’s walk through three tips to help you do just that— some, proven to work by data, and others, designed to help you collect data to continue enhancing your efforts.
3 Data-Driven Tips to Elevate Your P2P Social Strategy
Understand the data available to you.
Just because Facebook can’t provide all of the information you’d like, there is some data that you can access about your fundraising efforts on this platform. Our first tip is to collect the data that’s easily available and convert that data into a format that you can analyze. This will help you gain insight into what the information means.
Facebook provides data about your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts via the Daily Transaction Report and the Payout Report. The latter essentially describes how much revenue your organization has generated on the platform— so, it’s not necessarily useful when it comes to analyzing your efforts.
However, the Daily Transaction Report provides a plethora of data, including:
- Donors’ first and last name and, if your donors choose to share it, email addresses
- Title of fundraisers created on your behalf (e.g. “Anna’s Birthday Fundraiser”)
- Location on Facebook where donations were made (e.g. a Donate button on a fundraiser, a Donate button on your Facebook page, a birthday fundraiser)
- Name of users who started campaigns
- Net payout amount for that period
- Superfluous information, such as donation transaction ID numbers
Before you can use this information to fuel your efforts, you’ll need to convert the spreadsheet from CSV to a more useful format. This is done by importing the file into your spreadsheet software of choice, whether Excel, Google Sheets, or another platform. You can even import this information into your nonprofit CRM to examine it in light of your overall fundraising strategy.
While this information is limited, you can use it to make initial improvements to your social fundraising strategy. For example, you can send follow-up emails to donors who opted-in to share their email addresses. Or, you can discover which aspects of Facebook fundraising are most impactful with your audience. You can then market this opportunity more widely— such as with targeted ads to supporters who have upcoming birthdays— to increase participation.
Use Facebook Challenges to grow your P2P social audience.
According to 360MatchPro’s fundraising statistics, 56% of donors who are inspired to give to a nonprofit by social media note that Facebook is the most impactful network for that inspiration. Further, 40% of donors give through Facebook fundraising tools.
The audience is available on Facebook, and it’s up to you to find the right way to engage them directly through the platform. We recommend using Facebook Challenges for this task.
Facebook Challenges are quick, one-off fundraisers during which participants complete a task for a set period of time while raising funds on Facebook.
A perfect example would be a month-long steps challenge during which participants are asked to walk 10k steps a day and raise peer-to-peer funds while doing so. Participants create a fundraiser using Facebook’s tools and join a Facebook group (created by your nonprofit) dedicated to the challenge. In this group, participants can connect with other users, share tips and updates, and experience the community for the duration of the challenge.
These events are a powerful way to acquire new supporters on Facebook, as they have a low barrier to entry and can be advertised to users using targeted Facebook ads. At GoodUnited, we were able to test these challenges during 2020— a time when many organizations that relied on P2P fundraising were struggling to raise funds— with the American Cancer Society (ACS).
By the end of this fundraising period, these events generated:
- 443,078 leads for ACS with an average $3.12 cost per lead.
- 61,000 fundraisers conducted, with an average $22.41 cost to acquire each participant (compared to the industry average of $600 cost to acquire for traditional P2P registrants).
- 23,000 donations in one single day of fundraising, which broke Facebook’s record for the most money raised by a single organization in one day.
For more information about this process, explore the full American Cancer Society case study here.
Not only is this strategy data-proven, but engaging with supporters through challenges can help you collect data to further refine your strategies. For example, within groups, you can monitor the conversations around your challenge and mission and discover what works/what doesn’t for challenge participants when it comes to raising funds. You can then use that information to continue refining your challenge strategy as you move forward.
Use conversational messaging to raise your relationships with supporters.
While Facebook Challenges are a great tool to acquire new P2P social supporters, conversational messaging is the tool to cultivate relationships with your supporters over time.
Conversational messaging refers to one-on-one conversations with your nonprofit’s supporters via Facebook Messenger.
The process is fairly straightforward. Once a user creates a fundraiser on behalf of your nonprofit, you post a thank-you message directly on their fundraising page. Within that message, you invite them to connect with your nonprofit via Facebook Messenger. Within Messenger, you then speak with each individual supporter in a unique conversation.
Through our research at GoodUnited, we’ve found conversational messaging:
- Connects nonprofits with new supporters. In fact, we’ve seen that up to 90% of the people with whom a nonprofit interacts on Facebook Messenger are new to the cause or organization.
- Has high engagement metrics. We’ve found that communications sent via Messenger have a 94% open rate and 60% click-through rate, so it’s highly likely that your supporters will open, read, and engage with these messages.
Not only does conversational messaging empower you to connect with supporters where they’re already engaging with your nonprofit, but it empowers you to:
- Learn more about each individual supporter. With surveys and one-off questions, you can collect more data about your individual social supporters than Facebook could provide you. This includes contact information, why they’re fundraising, if they’re going to stay involved (and how), and more.
- Continue communicating with supporters long after their campaigns end. For example, you can check in on supporters who conducted a birthday fundraiser ahead of their next birthday, to remind them of the opportunity to host a fundraiser and create the same (or greater) impact as the year before.
And, you can gather valuable data about these interactions, such as the percentage of supporters who opt-in to messaging, who give their contact information, and who respond to each communication. You can then use this information to continue refining your conversational messaging process going forward.
Wrapping Up: Embrace automation as your audience grows.
As your nonprofit grows, you’ll find that many popular methods of donor cultivation aren’t scalable. For example, sending handwritten letters or even messaging each Facebook supporter by hand.
However, if you embrace communications automation— specifically when it comes to Facebook Messenger— you can continue growing your relationships and learning about your supporters at scale.
We’d also love to hear what P2P solutions and strategies have worked for you!
CEO of GoodUnited
Nick is the Founder and CEO of GoodUnited, a venture backed Software as a Service (SaaS) startup that helps nonprofits like Wounded Warrior Project, American Cancer Society, World Wildlife Fund create 1:1 relationships with their donors through the combination of data science and human judgement delivered in conversational messaging platforms.