Social Media Fundraising for Nonprofits: Your Complete Campaign Guide

February 13, 2023
8 minutes
Three social media posts sit on a bright rainbow-colored background with a donate button and emojis floating around them. The top post has an image of happy children.

It's 2022, friends. Or... 2023? Ayyyyy, forget it... whatever year it is, by this time in our social media journey, we know that social media is a vital tool for any growing nonprofit. Still, many of the most savvy nonprofiteers struggle to leverage social media in their nonprofit fundraising toolkits. (It's not just you.)

Through digital storytelling, virtual support networks, community conversation, active engagement, and meaningful education, nonprofiteers can use social media to foster community around social causes and raise funds for worthy nonprofits. And we've got the scoop on how you can quickly connect social media to your already-scheduled fundraising campaigns.✨

Oooh, but before we start, fabulous fundraiser, let's take some of the stress off. This is not a stem-to-stern social media strategy; this is just how to plan and execute one campaign. Baby steps.

Your Complete Giving Guide for Starter-to-Savvy Social Media Fundraisers

In the last ten years, the digital landscape of nonprofit fundraising has advanced at the speed of light (or fiber optic internet). One thing's for sure: there are more humans—and fundraisers—online now than ever before.

Data projects that the number of social media users around the world will reach 5 billion by 2024—over 63% of the global population. So, it's time to level up your social game... and we can help.

Let's get started!

How Digital Trends Impact Online Giving 📈

Okay, fundraisers. Let's get digital, shall we?

In the last ten years, social media and technology's affect on nonprofit impact and overall philanthropy has changed the fundraising game. As modern fundraisers, we're working in an ever-changing digital landscape that is as impacted by online trends as it is by world news. When we recognize the vital role that social media plays in advancing social good, we can use our digital devices as generosity generators—and raise damn good funds.

Throughout this guide, we'll take you step-by-step through the process of developing a simple social media campaign—whether you want your social campaign to stand alone or support your already-calendared campaigns. The idea is to grow your giving potential without burning yourself out.

But before we get started, let's break down the top digital trends from the last few years and learn how to leverage them in your giving campaign.

Gettin' Trendy: Social media trends for nonprofits

Here's what's #trending now:

📈 The Creator Economy: Digital influencers and content creators are the new frontier of the growing social media economy. Partner with hyper-relevant creators or influencers whose work intersects with your nonprofit to boost your year-end social campaign engagement and generate new donors.

📈 Paid Social Media: Paid advertising on social media isn't going anywhere. Leverage targeted ads to segment your audience of potential donors, or to get the word out about a big fundraising event.

📈 Video Content: Video is everything, everywhere, all at once. Get eyes on your reels to boost donations for your cause.

📈 Transparency and Authenticity: Internet culture values integrity in the digital presence of brands, personalities, and nonprofits. Don't be afraid to be genuine online and don't overthink your campaign content. BeReal, stay real.

📈 E-Commerce is E-verywhere: Social media commerce, to be more specific. Take our money, algorithm! While you're at it, take your donors directly to your Funraise donation page through your Instagram linkinbio or an external Twitter link. It's that easy.

📈 Get Engaged: Community engagement is paramount to any social media campaign. Use social platforms to build and interact with community—you'll create a new infrastructure of donors and develop a reliable network of support. So get engaged! (You don't even need a ring).

Now that we know what's #trending, let's put these trends to good use and customize your social media giving campaign.

Building a Simple Social Media Fundraising Campaign 📲

Funraise's minimalist, no-frills approach to social fundraising consists of developing a simple (but impactful) social media content campaign.

While it may be tempting to launch a robust campaign with all the bells and whistles, you've probably already done that once or twice (hello, Giving Tuesday), and your regular donors and supporters are already on board. Let's not reinvent the wheel, but call in the classics: who, what, when, where, why, and how.

🏁 Why: Your Main Objective

First, you must determine your 'Why', aka, why you want to raise funds (see: purpose). This could be as easy as referencing your mission statement, but we recommend getting even more specific and linking your social media appeal to a specific program or service that has an emotional tie.

📲 What: A Simple Social Media Campaign

While we would never shun a thoughtful peer-to-peer campaign, our goal is to help you raise the funds (not your stress levels) with simple social media automations and creative content.

That's why we've made it easy for you to follow this 3-post messaging structure to craft a giving campaign that you can use in conjunction with current campaigns or to ramp up your social media momentum separately from your "official" fundraising campaigns, like an annual fundraiser, a year-end campaign, or the lead up to a giving day. The least you'll need is these 3 posts, spaced a few days apart. For a longer campaign, use the three key posts to anchor your campaign's beginning, middle, and end, and sprinkle additional campaign-focused posts throughout.

Follow the template below to draft simple social media campaign messaging that works wonders across platforms.

1st Post: President's Message + Campaign Launch

Kick off your campaign with a meaningful message from your nonprofit leadership, announcing the social media giving initiative.

➡️ This post should include:

  • Message of gratitude from the president/CEO/ED
  • Purpose and impact statements to announce the importance of your social media campaign
  • Call to donate with link to your Funraise campaign page

2nd Post: Program Spotlight/Story

This is where you remind your community of the vital work that your nonprofit is doing—and show them how their donation will ensure that your services will continue to make a direct impact.

57% of internet users who watch a video about a nonprofit will make a donation. Therefore, campaigns using engaging media (photos and videos) will bolster your conversion rate.

➡️ This post should include:

  • Long-form video, reel, and/or photo carousel to highlight a program or personal story from a recipient of your services
  • Call to donate with link to your Funraise campaign page

3rd Post: Last Appeal + Benefits Shout Out

Close out the campaign with a strong final appeal and message of gratitude to your donors—and be sure that they turn off their phones for the night with your nonprofit top-of-mind.

➡️ This post should include:

  • Reminder of purpose and impact statements
  • Mention any additional benefits to them—donation matching, tax benefits, membership perks, or swag
  • Call to donate with link to your Funraise campaign page (ofc)

A template to remember 💙

"Did you know that {Nonprofit} is giving back to the community and ensuring every family can enjoy hot meals during the cold days through our Heck Yeah! Meals Program?

This program will (1) ensure no family goes hungry this winter season via donated goods from our constituents, (2) raise awareness of the food scarcity issues in rural areas, and (3) boost confidence and hope in children who rely on meal services.

You can help us make an impact—donate now! {link here}"

To get the biggest bang for your buck, make sure you know who you're appealing to.

💙 Who: Your community, of course!

Social media is a treasure trove of brand new and already-established donors who are excited to support your nonprofit.

Has your social media manager been asking you to try targeted ads? Well, they should be! Run ads to your social media giving campaign so you can reach a new audience of donors with an already-vested interest in your nonprofit's mission. For more broad appeal, target folks interested in advocacy and charitable giving. A small ad campaign can make a big difference in reaching new donors and spreading the word about your mission.

A Note on Community Engagement: Once you've found your audience, be intentional about your interactions with them. Intentional and supportive community is vital to any nonprofit; your online community should be as strong and well-nourished as your IRL supporters.

ProTips for connecting with your audience:

🏆  Does community engagement overwhelm you? Start simple and target (3) platforms that you plan to actively engage with throughout your giving campaign, and prioritize that engagement.

🏆  Give the people what they want.Whenever possible, comment full responses to community members who interact with you on social media. This will help the algorithm and boost overall connection with your digital donors.

🏆  Sharing is caring. Here's a friendly reminder that sharing and engagement is valuable social currency for your nonprofit. Ask donors who've recently donated (like Giving Tuesday donors) to share your giving campaign on social media. This is a free way for your supporters to continue making meaningful impact for your cause—and it provides value to your campaign.

📆 When: Any Time of Year

It's time for the logistics, friends. When, where, and how are we making this campaign happen?

Answer: The best part about social media fundraising is that it's an effective fundraising strategy sure to be successful any time of year. Here's a timeline for distributing your social media appeals at peak giving-impulse moments throughout the month.

Simple Social Media Campaign Timeline:

Campaign launch: Post President's Message + Campaign Launch

Campaign midpoint: Post Program Spotlight/Story

Last day of the campaign: Post Last Appeal + Benefits Shout Out

📍Where: The interwebs!

Remember that every social platform (and the folks who inhabit them) is different. Tailor your media messaging to appeal to the platform you're posting on and the audience that already exists there.

ProTip for making netizens stand up and listen:

Play into the strengths of each platform while molding these messaging templates to fit your fundraising objectives. Share your video appeals in Instagram reels or TikToks, and turn your written appeals into short, action-oriented messages on Twitter and Facebook. Unleash the power of media on Instagram and get creative with engaging photo content. Using trending sounds or hashtags is another great way to get noticed by new donors and grow your social accounts all year long.

⚙️ How: Automation, automation, automation

To make social media fundraising a breeze, we're gonna let you in on a little not-so-secret—social media automation. Scheduling your posts in advance with a simple social automation tool like HubSpot will be your saving grace as you navigate the day-to-day posting rush. That's because all you'll need is a day or two to draft your messages, design your graphics, and schedule your posts. Boom. You've got yourself a campaign.

Then you can go about your business and check your analytics at strategic times to engage with community, drive donor excitement, and review the status of your social campaign.

ProTip for making your campaign run smooth as buttah:

Integrate your fundraising platform with your donor CRM and your social media marketing platform to segment your audiences, create lists, and build out your campaign.

💙 ARG: Always Remember Gratitude

Yep, ARG isn't always about frustration. Once you've closed out your campaign, make sure to thank your community for your support during the campaign and throughout the year—and share the success of your campaign in a social post. Get your donors (new and old!) excited for the impact of their donation. Heck yeah!

3 Nonprofits Doing the Damn Thing 🏆

Okay, now that we've given you the tools, let's show you some examples. Get ready to meet some awesome nonprofits already leveling up the social media fundraising game 💯 Take notes, friends.

The Innocence Project is taking a stand against wrongful convictions and unjust incarceration through legal exoneration, strategic litigation, community support post-release, and legislative reform to prevent wrongful conviction.

Why They're Winning Social Media:

  • Compelling infographics and images on Instagram
  • Stellar community engagement on Twitter
  • Partnerships with digital thought leaders to host meaningful conversations
  • Call to action in every post
  • Linkinbio that directs to Funraise campaign donation page

Liberty in North Korea is shining a spotlight on the people of North Korea with engaging media and advocacy campaigns that tell the stories of those living under the North Korean government. In addition to their advocacy work, Liberty in North Korea takes direct action to protect North Korean civilians through refugee rescue and resettlement efforts.

Why They're Winning Social Media:

  • Riveting use of video and multimedia
  • Strategic social media storytelling across platforms
  • Unique campaign hashtags
  • Use of highlights to organize content on Instagram
  • Informative infographics
  • Linkinbio that directs to Funraise peer-to-peer fundraising pages

Encircle knows that LGBTQ+ youth face unique barriers when trying to survive and thrive. They bridge that gap by providing LGBTQ+ youth and young adults with life-saving and affirming resources like affordable therapy access, diverse daily programming, and safe space drop-in centers.

Why They're Winning Social Media:

  • Social media = a safe space for community
  • Playful use of color on their feed
  • Strong community engagement
  • Lots of reels and video content
  • Use of pinned posts on Instagram
  • Linkinbio that directs to Funraise campaign page to donate

A Funding Awesome Checklist to Maximize Your Media Campaign ✅

We know what you're thinking, fundraising friend—it can't possibly be that simple to develop a social media fundraising campaign. We're here to tell you, oh, yes it is! Not everything needs to be difficult. Sometimes taking a no-frills approach is just what the doctor ordered.

When you're building out your campaign, remember our pro-tips and copy-paste this checklist to your notes app 💙

✅ Consider the impact of digital trends and implement them when you can.

✅ Stick to your purpose—remember your online elevator pitch and the purpose of your nonprofit.

Establish and target your audience of donors.

✅ Leverage recent donors and community partners for digital engagement and content sharing.

Remember, compelling multimedia drives emotional appeal. Start filming those short-form videos.

Get creative in tailoring your posts to the purpose of and audience on each social platform.

✅ Always link to your Funraise campaign page on every post (and add in your linkinbio).

✅ Encourage your nonprofit staff and board to share your campaign on their personal social media pages.

✅ Automate your posts using a social media marketing platform like HubSpot to remove the guess work.

Track the success of your campaign through analytics.

✅ Increase donation revenue by encouraging matching gifts whenever applicable.

✅ Community engagement is a valuable currency—use it to elevate your campaign.

Got it all? Great! We're ready to see your savvy (and simple) social media giving campaigns—please tag us!

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