Let’s use the dreaded Sunday report of your screen time for the benefit of society! The average person checks Facebook 14 times a day, and if you aren’t a boomer you’re probably checking other forms of social media just as much if not more. 70% of people (ALL PEOPLE!) engage with Facebook on a daily basis. Clearly it is where the people like to hang out, and just like all the creepy targeted advertising you might be seeing on social media, it is time to leverage your networks to help you raise money for your charity!
It’s clear that social media can be leveraged to connect with potential donors and educate your audience on your cause. In 2021 my parents and I raised $21K for Team JDRF for the NYC Marathon. Almost doubled our fundraising commitment and employed many of the strategies mentioned below as part of our networks. Some rule of engagement to get you started then we will dive into specific approaches based on your social media platform:
Tell your story and make it authentic to you
People love a journey with videos, pictures or heartfelt stories on why the cause is person. By making it true to your own personality (silly, serious, fit ‘n fun, etc.) people will be able to connect authentically with you and recognize the passion you have for the cause. Your friends and family also want to help you achieve a goal, so by making your story and goal known you will receive much more in support both financially and emotionally. You can let people know how their money will be spent and what an impact they will have by donating.
Take stock of your networks and post where they are
The average person has 250 followers on Twitter and 338 friends on Facebook. That is potentially 500+ sets of eyes on your fundraising effort! Take stock of what networks you’re the most active on and that can connect to your audience. Think about cross over of many networks as well to keep your promotion simple. Instagram will automatically post to facebook, and you can pull in videos on Youtube to Twitter or Facebook as well. There are lots of options to keep it easy while still casting a wide net of viewership.
Also consider who is most likely to donate to you and pay attention to the platforms they use. Are they 40+ years old? Hit up facebook. Are they 20-30? Hit Instagram. Go where your audience is. If none of your friends use TikTok then it is mostly a waste of time to post there. Strangers on the internet won’t be donating to your cause anytime soon, but your Aunt Mary certainly will if she sees you posting on Facebook. Always keep in mind that it’s not just about where YOU are, it’s where your potential donors are.
Use hashtags (for Team JDRF that looked like #JDRF #T1D #nycmarathon #runner) and create your own unique hashtags to allow people to see the entirety of your journey, like #allierunsamarathon to have continued engagement among your friends and family. Hashtags also help you engage people who have similar interests.
Create a clear ask every time with Link in Bio
Did you know that 42% of donors don’t give on their first visit to a fundraising page? These messages will act as gentle reminder for those who have yet to make a donation. LinkTree is an awesome and free resource to include in your bio in any platform. You can see mine here. Rather than hoping someone google’s the right phrase to go to your fundraising page, keep it simple and include a link in your social media bio that takes them directly to your fundraising page. Have a relatable message each time you post with a clear request and be sure to share the link to your fundraising page.
Here are my best practices on leveraging your social media networks:
While I personally dread logging into Facebook, 93% of social donations were made on Facebook this year. Facebook can be used not only for updating your network on training progress or progress towards your fundraising goal, but it is also an effective platform for people to make donations to. Many charities make it easy to link your fundraising portal to Facebook’s fundraising page, which in turn makes it one less website for people to go to in order to make a donation. Don’t sleep on Facebook, you will get the vast majority of your donations here.
Instagram is best for education and updates of your progress. Each time I’d go out for a run (3-4x per week) I would shoot a short 1min video on topics related to Type 1 Diabetes. What it is, current technologies, the community and advocacy, you name it. I’d then post these to my Instagram stories and people would learn more about Type 1. Very few people would follow the link in my bio to go donate, but a large part of raising money for charity is also raising awareness for it in the world. Use this platform as a way to educate the lay people on your cause.
Youtube is great. I used it as a repository of all my fundraising videos. You can see them here and know that there is no way your videos would be any more sweaty or unprofessional than mine 😊 I used Youtube as my repository and connector social media. Any videos I made were housed there and linked out to my other networks as well as to my fundraising page. My fundraising page had a video at the very top which people could watch and connect with on a personal level.
Go where the money is, yall. The dumbest stuff is posted on Linkedin these days, that asking for money to support a cause you care about is probably a highlight of a connection’s newsfeed. I posted two videos/stories on Linkedin and got a surprisingly strong response from my coworkers that I keep separate from my personal social media networks. I made the videos “professional” in that I was wearing makeup and the message was more formal, however I let my audience know what Type 1 is, why it is important to me and then made the ask to donate. All within 1-1.5min. You can see those two videos here and here if you need inspiration for a professional-ish post.
Neighbors are people too! Using Nextdoor as a way to “earn” fundraising money is an effective use of the platform. You can offer dog walking, mowing and other neighborhood services in exchange for a donation and more likely than not you will get a big tip with your neighbors knowing it is for a good cause.
There is nothing like email to make it to your “To Do” list. I don’t take things seriously unless they are emailed to me, so think about your friends and family that are close to you and email them a copy of your story, a link to your fundraising page and an ask for donations. This gives your loved ones a firm to do item by having it in their inboxes.
If email is a to do list, snail mail is a MUST do list. People rarely get mail that isn’t junk these days, so liven up their actual mailbox with a letter about your cause, the impact they could have and the ask for donations. This is particularly great if you have an older community you’re targeting like grandparents or non-tech savvy folks.
You know those people that went to Harvard because they bring it up the first time, they talk to literally anyone on earth? Channel some of that obnoxious energy for the betterment of the planet! If people ask you what you’re up to over the weekend you can mention a fundraising event or training run you’re doing. By putting it out there in the universe you would be surprised by people’s support by conveying the passion in person.
Any other ways you have leveraged your social media to raise funds for charity? The more the merrier, I’d love to hear about it!
Check out related posts:
Why Running on a Marathon Charity Team is the Best Decision You Will Ever Make
30+ Ways to Raise Money as a Charity Runner
New York City Marathon 2021 Race Recap
What to Bring to the Start Line of the New York City Marathon
4 replies on “How to Leverage Social Media for Fundraising”
Great post. I’ve always been so nervous about running charity because of the fundraising aspect.
I was too! My backup was using work bonuses to pay for it, but it is a daunting number to look at when signing up