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Social Media Fundraising: A Nonprofit Starter Guide

7 min read
August 04, 2023
Neon One Staff
Social media fundraising is a critical part of funding your cause. In this image, a person holds a tablet and prepares to donate to an organization.

Social media fundraising is a highly engaging opportunity to boost donations. Fifty-five percent of individuals who engage with an organization on social media wind up taking action, whether it’s by donating, seeking more information, or volunteering. It’s not a channel that most nonprofits can afford to ignore, but they don’t always have the resources to handle these important channels. If you are trying to establish a social media fundraising system, here are some things you need to know.

Finding the Right Balance in Social Media Fundraising 

One of the first mistakes  many nonprofits make when embarking on a social media fundraising strategy is focusing too heavily on “fundraising.” That sounds counterintuitive, right? But think of it this way: Individuals aren’t going to engage with your organization if they don’t feel a genuine connection to you. You need to provide content that builds relationships before you ask for donations. Specifically, you should follow the 80/20 rule.

Nonprofit social media marketing expert Julia Campbell is a fan of this rule. And it works! If most of your content adds value, it engages users with your page and builds a foundation that you can use to ask for support later. So, 80% of the content that you post should be value-add content. That might mean it’s entertaining, inspirational, educational, or uplifting. That lays the groundwork for a personal connection. The other 20% of your content can include appeals for donations, in-kind gifts, volunteers, or anything else you need.

Building a Personal Connection

There are tons of strategies out there for building a personal connection through your content on social media. Sharing behind-the-scenes views of your organization, reporting on the individuals, communities, or organizations you’ve helped, or holding contests, polls, and surveys are all good ways to build engagement. But one of the simplest ways is one that nonprofits often miss—engaging in conversations.

One of the huge benefits of social media fundraising for nonprofits is it removes a barrier between you and your supporters. They have an opportunity to speak directly to you. When someone posts or comments, respond to them. You don’t have to respond to every single comment—and it probably wouldn’t look genuine if you did. But when you find an insightful or particularly interesting comment, it’s a great opportunity to engage with that individual. Respond back and continue the conversation. Ask questions, seek opinions, and encourage your supporters to share their thoughts. 

Further, if you’ve been in the fundraising world for a while, you’ve probably heard something like “People donate to people.” It’s true! People like to support people more than they like to support organizations. While the people your donors support are usually your clients, having a personal relationship with the staff at your nonprofit is helpful, too. Social media gives you an avenue for building those relationships.

Social Media Platforms for Fundraising Success

There are so many social media fundraising platforms to choose from—but it’s impossible to use them all (unless you have a huge team). Most nonprofits are better served to focus on a few channels and build up their supporter base from there. Here are a few different platforms to consider, plus some information that will help you choose the right platform to meet your needs:

Platform FeaturesWho it’s best for

This is the most popular social networking platform for connecting and sharing content.
Just about all nonprofits

This platform focuses on video sharing. 
Nonprofits aiming to leverage the power of visual storytelling and share impactful videos

TikTok is a short-form video platform known for its viral trends, challenges, and creative content.
Nonprofits with a younger supporter base 

X (née Twitter) is the original microblogging program, allowing users to post concise text-based posts and real-time interactions.
Political or activism-focused nonprofits, though it’s accessible to all 

Pinterest is a visual discovery platform where users can find and save creative ideas.
Nonprofits with visually appealing content, such as art, design, or DIY projects

A photo and video sharing platform focused on visual storytelling.
This is similar to Facebook in that it’s typically good for most nonprofits 

Measuring the Success of Your Social Media Campaign 

The final step to any nonprofit fundraising strategy is improvement. Continuously review your results to see how you can create even stronger connections. There are a few different KPIs that you should keep track of during any social media fundraising campaign so you can stay on track.

KPIs for Social Media Fundraising Campaigns

Conversion Rate

Formula: (Number of Conversions / Number of Interactions) x 100
This tells you the percentage of social media users who take a desired action compared to the total number of users who interacted. 
Cost per Conversion

Formula: Total Ad Spend / Number of Conversions
This tells you the average cost to acquire a donation through your social media campaigns. This can help you control ad spending.
Engagement Rate

Formula: (Total Likes + Comments + Shares / Total Reach) x 100
Your engagement rate tells you how much activity your posts are seeing compared to their overall reach. A low engagement rate may mean that your content isn’t resonating. 
Click-Through Rate

Formula: (Number of Clicks / Number of Impressions) x 100
While you’ll usually hear your CTR referenced for email, your social media also has a click-through rate. This typically won’t be as high as your email CTR but can help you gauge how well specific posts are working.
Social Media Follower Growth Rate

Formula: ((New Followers – Old Followers) / Old Followers) x 100
This number will tell you how many new followers can be attributed to a specific campaign.
Cost per Engagement

Formula: Total Ad Spend / Total Engagements
This gives you the average cost incurred to generate engagement like likes, comments, or shares on social media. It’s another good benchmark for determining ad spending.
Social Media Referral Traffic

Formula: Number of Website Visits from social media
Social media referral traffic will tell you the number of website visits that originate from your social media platforms. Ideally, you’ll be able to break this down to specific posts to find the most engaging content you created.

These nonprofit fundraising KPIs will help you measure the success of your campaign as it’s going on. You can combine the social media KPIs available to you in each platform with the fundraising data in your CRM to get a feel for how your social media activities impact your fundraising. 

How Neon CRM Helps Your Fundraising Efforts 

Social media fundraising is now a staple of any nonprofit’s strategy. It allows you to create close personal connections with your constituents that will drive giving. However, it takes regular and consistent work. You need to constantly measure your engagement and your campaign success so you can improve, then track your fundraising to understand how your social media relationships impact your overall fundraising. That’s why a good CRM that helps you access your fundraising data is vital to any social media fundraising strategy.

Neon CRM can help you understand what campaigns inspire your audiences and motivate them to get involved. If your story-driven social media campaign results in many donations, you can use that information to plan future campaigns. If the donation form you created, especially for a social media fundraiser, processes many gifts, you’ll know your messaging is effective. Our tools and insights can guide you as you create even more engaging campaigns. To learn more, contact us for a demo.

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