The Essentials of Social Fundraising

The Essentials of Social Fundraising

May 11, 2020
28 minutes

Andrew Quan · Funraise | A world with social distancing is also a world of social fundraising.If you haven't noticed (ha!) the pandemic changed everything. We'll be distancing for the foreseeable future, we're both closer and farther from our loved ones than ever, and the world's economy is desperate for a #makeitwork moment. Here are the essentials you need to know about social fundraising, in a nutshell.


Start social fundraising, explain it to your team, or level up your strategies with this basics-to-bad-ass breakdown.

  • Use your network to expand your nonprofit's reach naturally
  • Amp up your current peer-to-peer strategies
  • Connect your campaign pages to social networks to your donor database
  • Meet your supporters where they spend their digital days
  • Celebrate with your supporters as they fundraise for you on their streams
  • Let your fundraisers lift the load, leveraging their connections to benefit your org

After the webinar, lock in a one-on-one follow-up with a social fundraising expert to talk pandemic response strategies, social donor conversion, exciting source tracking, or any other questions you need answered.

No matter how you spin it, the future of our nonprofitsphere includes social fundraising. Let's start now.


Andrew Quan Hi, my name's Andrew. I'm really excited to be sharing this webinar with you guys today. I am especially passionate about fundraising. I actually used to be a fundraiser myself at a nonprofit called Liberty In North Korea, managing recurring donations, peer to peer fundraising and individual donors but now Funraise I get to equip nonprofits with the online fundraising technology they need to succeed. But before we talk about fundraising, I want to talk about something a little more personal. I want to talk about socks. And you might be wondering what do socks have to do with fundraising? Well, we'll get to that in a second. But I'm the type of person who I wear my socks out until there are holes in them. And I'm not talking about small holes. I'm talking about like those big holes where you have more foot than sock. When you put it on, I think it's a bad habit. I picked up from my dad seeing him do the same thing when I was growing up. But it actually it's gotten to the point where my fiance, she yells at me when she sees me wear these socks and she tells me like, hey, just throw them away. Like, why are you still wearing those? They're not even socks anymore. And thanks to her, I've learned to let these old socks go. And the reason I bring up these socks is because I think a lot of times nonprofits, we treat our fundraising technology the way I treat my socks.

We make our fundraising technology work. It works for us. We can get by using it. But if we're honest with ourselves, there are holes in it. There are things we don't like about it. It's not ideal. There are certain inefficiencies we have to develop workarounds for. And my hope to you today is to bring the message that you don't have to hold on to old socks. You don't have to hold on to old fundraising technologies or strategies that aren't working for you. There are actually new strategies and technologies out there that can help your organization succeed. And here at Funraise, we believe technology should be an asset to your organization, not a liability. And we've seen how people can have dramatic success with fundraising for their missions when they have the right strategies and tools in place.

So I'm really excited to speak with you today because one of the strategies I want to talk with you about is Social Fundraising. And this is something I'm really passionate about because when I was a fundraiser, I was a one-person development team. I would not have been able to do my job and accomplish the goals that my organization wanted to reach. Without this strategy, social fundraising enables you to exponentially expand your organization's reach to donors and ultimately make a greater impact that you're trying to make. The things we're going to cover today, we're going to go through four basic sections. The first thing I wanted to discuss is what is Social Fundraising. The second thing is case studies, how others have done it. What people have done to succeed. The third thing we're gonna look at are common obstacles that people face when their Social Fundraising. And lastly, I want to leave you with some tangible takeaways of how you can get started with Social Fundraising. The first thing I want to ask ourselves is what is Social Fundraising? I think there are a lot of misconceptions around this idea. Oftentimes when people think about Social Fundraising, they think about social media, things like fundraising on Facebook or Instagram. And although those might be related to Social Fundraising, they're not necessarily what Social Fundraising is. And I think it's helpful for us to think about Social Fundraising, not in terms of social media, but thinking about social in terms of connections with people and leveraging relationships with people.

Let's think about what Social Fundraising is not. First, I think I'd like to clarify some misconceptions people have. The first thing is that Social Fundraising is not you doing fundraising things on social media. So people often think, oh, if I just take the copy off on my website or off of my email newsletter and put it out on Facebook, I'm doing Social Fundraising. That's not necessarily what I'm talking about. Another misconception is that Social Fundraising is just going to social media websites like Facebook or Instagram and asking people to donate. That's not what we mean when we talk about Social Fundraising, at least in this webinar today. And lastly, when people think about Social Fundraising, oftentimes they imagine having to fundraise on some sort of external donation platform and then having to transfer that donation data into their own organization's database line by line by line. And they just think about a lot of tedious manual data entry. That's not what I want us to think about when we think about Social Fundraising either. So let's talk about the flip side. What do I mean when I'm talking about Social Fundraising? So when I talk about Social Fundraising and what we're gonna be talking about today, we're talking about peer-to-peer fundraising. But it's streamlined and amped up. And I'll dig into that a little more right after this. But Social Fundraising is also letting your supporters take the lead as fundraisers in the streams and platforms that feel natural to them. So an aspect of Social Fundraising is equipping your supporters to become your advocates, allowing them to really run with your mission and fundraise for you. And the last thing I want to touch on about what Social Fundraising is, it's about bringing fundraising to your supporters where they're at, instead of asking them to come find you.

So let's dig into what I mean when I talk about it's peer-to-peer fundraising, but streamlined and amped up. You're probably pretty familiar with peer-to-peer fundraising. It's a strategy that I think a lot of nonprofits use up to this point. And oftentimes traditional peer-to-peer fundraising looks something like this. Right. So it looks like giving people the ability to create fundraising pages through your website. They log on, they create a page, and then they can ask their friends or family to come to their fundraising page and donate on their behalf to your organization. Where Social Fundraising takes this to the next level is by bringing this into the media streams where your supporters and their loved ones are already at. So it's a natural extension of traditional peer to peer fundraising. It takes peer to peer fundraising into streams like YouTube, Facebook, even Twitch, where people are at in their day to day lives and allowing them to take action to learn about you and to donate to you all without ever leaving those platforms. The big question for us to ask ourselves today is how do you help your supporters advance your cause and what is Social Fundraising have to do with that? My answer to that and our answer today is you can make it really easy with integrations. And integrations, make it easier for your supporters, your donors and your team.

Now, let me break that down for you a little bit. Integrations make it easier for your supporters because they can share about your cause on these social media streams that they visit every day with simply clicking one button. Social integrations make it easier for your donors, cause new people can discover you in these social media platforms that they're already in in their day to day lives and they can even take action and donate to you. All of that ever having to leave those platforms. And lastly, integrations make it easier for you and your team because integrations allow you to automatically import donor data from these different social media platforms that you'll fundraise through into your CRM when you're using Funraise.

So let's talk about some specific integrations and what these can look like for your organization. What are the most common ones that we see people succeeding with today is an integration with Facebook that Funraise offers. And so I'm sure many of you are pretty familiar with Facebook's peer-to-peer fundraising tool. We see a lot of people using it today. The only problem is that as an organization, you don't really have visibility over when people are creating fundraising pages for you, who those donors are. It's all very much spontaneous and it isn't really manageable from an organization standpoint.

The great thing about the current Facebook peer-to-peer fundraising is it's super user friendly. It's really easy for people to create fundraising pages. So an integration makes this work and makes it easier for both your supporters and their donors and also your staff and your team to make sure that your fundraising campaigns can ultimately have a much greater impact and have much more success than just Facebook's peer-to-peer fundraising solution alone. And what an integration with Facebook's peer-to-peer tool looks like is inviting people to come start fundraising pages through your website with the click of a button. They can sink their personal fundraising pages that they create with you to their Facebook as well. So this way, whether they're fundraising on Facebook, whether they're fundraising for your website, they can see accuracy on who's donating and how much they've raised overall and you as the organization can get complete visibility on who's fundraising for you, who's donating and how much they're fundraising. The really great thing about this and I think what I like to call one of the things about the secret sauce of this integration is that Facebook and other social media platforms, their algorithm points to, and services, stuff in their newsfeeds where more likely or more often when it points back to something on Facebook or on whatever social media platform you're on. So what this integration does that's really awesome is it allows your supporters to completely and independently just use their Facebook peer-to-peer page. If they're reposting that, that's much more likely to show up in their friend's and family's newsfeeds. But it still makes sure that user organization can get complete visibility on who those donors are and how much money is coming in. Even if it's coming in through Facebook.

And the greatest thing is that you can get that in real-time. The average Facebook user actually has about 238 friends. And so you can just imagine the impact that this can have on getting your campaign a lot more visibility. And once again, this makes it really easy for your supporters, friends and family members to discover you and take action and donate when they're on Facebook all the time, every day, as opposed to fundraising pages on your website that they might not ever click on or donate to because they're not normally visiting your website.

Alright, the next integration that I want to talk to you about is livestream fundraising. So as opposed to Facebook fundraising, that which a lot of people are familiar with, livestream fundraising is a different animal. And I think this is a really great testament to the fact that you don't have to necessarily be a master of social media to use Social Fundraising. You don't have to be a master or super knowledgeable about livestream fundraising to use it to benefit your cause. You just have to equip your supporters who are knowledgeable with the sort of fundraising and give them the tools to run with that they can succeed with, in fundraising for you. Lifestream fundraising basically takes the old-school concept of the telethon and brings it into the Internet age. For those of you who aren't familiar with livestream fundraising. Literally, if you go on to YouTube, you go onto Facebook Live, you go on to streaming websites like Twitch, right now you can watch people doing anything from like news and sports commentary to live podcasts to people doing like makeup tutorials, streaming themselves, playing video games. I've even seen people streaming like food, eating challenges or cooking shows, things like that. It's just like another way to consume media. It's like going on Netflix, hopping onto a TV channel.

But this is the way millions of people are consuming content on the Internet today. And what livestream fundraising integrations allow you to do, is allow you to equip your supporters to monetize their following on these different social media channels to support your organization. Just a couple of weeks ago, actually, I was on YouTube and I was watching a nonprofit, they help restore eagles' that I've been injured and are being rehabilitated, and I saw that a live stream video feed where you could see them giving medical attention to the eagles and the work that they were doing. So that was really awesome because it gave me an instant way to be involved to see their work and I could actually donate on the spot. So that's what livestreaming could look like for your organization. And I don't think I have to preach to you that we live in an age of video. There was a recent study that found that 815 of U.S. and Canadian NGOs believe that video is important to their marketing efforts and fundraising efforts. But less than 10% of U.S. and Canadian NGOs are actually using YouTube for their ads or fundraising efforts. And even more compelling study has shown that YouTube is actually the second most common search engine in the world. It's behind Google, but YouTube is owned by Google. So whenever you Google for something, YouTube search results actually show up in the top results. Another statistic that boggles my mind, actually, is that YouTube is the top social media platform for 73% of adults in the U.S. And there's actually even a study by Animoto that found that YouTube is the #1 search engine that drives purchasing behavior. So that means that people are going to YouTube, whether they're looking at product reviews for something or whether they're going to YouTube to learn more about a certain organization like yours. And they're making decisions about what they do with their money based on what they see on YouTube. So this is why livestream fundraising can be such an asset to your organization and any livestream fundraisers that you may be working with or having your network.

Let's look at some case studies about organizations that are killing it in the Social Fundraising game today. The really interesting thing is that this is such like a relatively new practice. There's not a lot of widespread studies that have been done about this, but we have some really compelling case studies and successes that we're seeing with the organizations that Funraise works with. And one of those is Dressember. They are an organization that fights human trafficking. Typically, they are fundraising only in the month of December. And their method is that they tell their supporters, hey, for the whole month of December, every day wear a dress or a suit and tell when people ask you, hey, why are you wearing that? You can say, I'm fundraising to fight human trafficking. Go to my Dressember page and donate to them here. They're doing great work. And so last year was actually the first time Dressember implemented a social fundraising integration, specifically Funraise's, Facebook fundraising integration. And they found that out of the 4,805 people who signed up to fundraise for them, about 32%, that's nearly 1/3 of those fundraisers, opted in to create a Facebook sync fundraiser. So it literally means that for the first time they ever adopted this technology, 1/3 of their fundraisers chose to click a button that said yes. Sync my peer-to-peer page to Facebook. And through those Facebook fundraising pages, they raised $340,000 through those Facebook pages alone. So that's $340,000 that might have never come in if Dressember did not give their fundraisers the ability to share and create to Facebook fundraising pages with a click of a button. So Dressember a huge organization. Some people might look at this case study and say, oh my gosh, I don't have 4,000 people fundraising for me in the first place. How can I see success like that? I've even seen this strategy work with smaller organizations.

There's also a nonprofit organization Funraise works with called One Tale at a Time and they basically work rescuing dogs from kill shelters. They had a fundraiser last Giving Tuesday, they only had 100 people sign up for it to be fundraisers. So it's a smaller scale. But 69% of those fundraisers opted in to creating a Facebook synced fundraising page. And I think that just goes to show how this was also their first time utilizing this technology that goes to show how much of a demand there is for it and how easy it is for people to actually use it. And so through those people who created Facebook synched fundraising pages, there is $27,000 through those Facebook pages alone. That's an average of about $391 per Facebook page. That once again might have never come into that organization if they didn't give their supporters the ability to sync these pages with the click of a button. The last thing I wanted to point out, another organization that was absolutely killing it with the social fundraising game is Barbells for Boobs. They're an organization that is fighting breast cancer through their Funraise synced Facebook fundraisers, they raised $33,000. And we had this quote to share from their COO, I mean, that just goes to show it's a personal testimony about how it was easy, not just for their supporters, but it was also easy for their team. And it made the fundraising campaign overall more of a success than ever before.

If you're feeling skeptical about your organization's ability to use social fundraising, if it just sounds really great, but you're thinking, oh, I don't know if this would work for us. I mean, we're not that tech-savvy or we don't really have a big social media following. These are the things I want to discuss next. And I want to encourage you that it is possible for you to achieve similar success as the nonprofits. We just looked at the evolution of Social Fundraising and where that plays into fundraising in general. The way I kind of see, at least the trend is going, is that Social Fundraising is kind of becoming the next step in the evolution of simply online fundraising. When online fundraising came about, I think a lot of fundraisers were uncertain about how to use it. They were uncertain if it would work for their organizations. Today, you can't even imagine a nonprofit existing without the ability to accept donations online. And I think in the next couple of years, we're going to see Social Fundraising become the new norm. So I want to encourage you that whatever obstacles that you're thinking you may encounter, they're worth figuring out their worth working through, because this is what's going to help your organization succeed in the coming years.

So let's talk about some really practical obstacles people tend to face. One of them is feeling like I don't really have a big social following or I can't use livestreaming cause I don't really know any broadcasters. My encouragement to you is to start with a proven platform like Facebook or YouTube, even if you don't have a large social following. You have to start somewhere as long as you make this technology available to your supporter base. As we saw in Dressember, they had 1/3 of an opt in rate, One Tail at a Time had a 69% opt in rate. People out there hungry to use this technology to support their favorite nonprofits. Even if you have a small following, you will see success if you start making it available and getting the word out to your donors that this is possible for them to do for you. I think another obstacle people often face with Social Fundraising is the fact that they don't get meaningful donor data. And I would say in the past, before social integrations, this was definitely an issue. If you were fundraising through Facebook, you would not get information about your donors, if any, until perhaps even 2-3 months later. But social integrations allow you to centralize donation information and be able to respond in an appropriate, timely fashion to new donors and even to your fundraisers who are doing the great work of fundraising for you. Ultimately, helping you cultivate relationships for the longer term, not just get an immediate revenue boost as well.

Another obstacle people often face is they think about like how social media trends change so fast. Like it's funny, so I'm 29, I was a counselor at a youth summer camp a couple of years ago, and at the end of it I wanted to add all of my boys in my cabin on Facebook so I could stay in contact. And they all looked at me like I was an alien and they were like, eww, you're like so old. Who uses Facebook anymore? It's all about Snapchat now. And I was like, what, I don't even have a Snapchat. Nowadays, people aren't even using Snapchat. People are on Instagram live. People are on Tik Tok. The point I am trying to make is that you'll never keep up with social media trends. You're right. They always change too fast. But the point about Social Fundraising is that you don't have to be the expert on these social media platforms. Your supporters are already experts. You just have to give them the tools they know how to use to fundraise for you on the social media platforms. And this is what it's all about. This is where it all comes down to empowering your supporters, giving them the tools to run with to fundraise for you. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to become an expert on these tools or you have to put in a lot more work into fundraising. It's simply making the tools available and creating compelling cases for your supporters to become your advocates. The other obstacle actually wanted to share that's a more recent development that I've heard from a lot of people is that people often feel like, oh, my donor base is too old to engage in Social Fundraising or younger donor bases who are on social media, they don't really donate because they might not have stable jobs or careers. They might not have a lot of money to give. What's interesting is that the average age of a Facebook user is actually between the ages of 40-45. So I think there's a common misconception that people have people think that baby boomers, older generations aren't on Facebook or other social media platforms. But think about the statistic I cited earlier. YouTube is a top search engine for 73% of U.S. adults. The average age of Facebook users, like I said, is 40-45 years old. So if you think that this is only a strategy that will work with younger donors, I'm happy to inform you that. No, it will actually work with older donors as well. And older donors are on these social media platforms that you can fundraise on with integrations as well. So I think you'll definitely see success there.

Next things I wanted to run through and this is the last section of our webinar are some very practical tips on what you can do to get started with Social Fundraising. So I'm going to break it down into something you could do this week, something you could do this month, and then thinking the bigger picture, something you can do this quarter. So this week. Choose a platform for your Social Fundraising efforts. So we recommend starting with something like Facebook. People are already familiar with the idea of fundraising on Facebook. It's a trusted name out there and a lot of people already have it. But either way, whether it's Facebook or something else this week, just brainstorm and think about where would you want to start Social Fundraising? My step B of this first step is to also think about and check with your current CRM provider. Do they have integrations that allow you to do social fundraising if they don't? That's definitely up Funraise's alley. That's something we're happy to help with. But those are the two things that you can actually get started on this week.

Thinking about this month, once you figure out where do you want to do social fundraising and how are you going to do it? You can think about putting together a plan to alert your supporter base to let them know that Social Fundraising is possible and an option for them to be involved with you. So whether that looks like launching it with a specific campaign, perhaps Giving Tuesday, maybe you're having a gala, you want to launch it for an anniversary of a certain program. Or maybe you want to launch it as an ongoing way for people to get involved, like donate your birthday type campaign or something like that. This month, you can come up with a plan of how you want to get the word out to your supporter base about Social Fundraising, how they can be involved and the option for them to fundraise for you in that method.

In the bigger picture, you want to start thinking about what are you going to do this quarter? Start thinking about the follow-up process. People are going to sign up to start fundraising for you through Social Fundraising. You need to have a strategy for how do you make sure fundraisers feel thanked and acknowledged. How do you bring in new donors into the fold? Make sure that they're educated about what the donation has done and why you're so grateful for it. So whether that looks like creating email nurture streams for new donors or creating a team to reach out to top fundraisers to personally connect with them and thank them for their involvement. You should be coming up with a follow-up strategy to connect with your supporters and your new donors as well.

And that's all I have for you today. Thanks for tuning in! We have a ton of resources on our website. We're constantly updating our resources with anything from advice on livestreaming to Facebook fundraising, how to effectively manage your board. So look at on our website for more resources. We love to help you out. But once again, thanks for tuning in and happy fundraising!

Thanks for listening to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit. This podcast is brought to you by your friends at Funraise. Nonprofit fundraising software, built by nonprofit people. If you'd like to continue the conversation, find me on LinkedIn or email me at And don't forget to get your next episode the second it hits the internet. Go to and sign up for email notifications today. See you next time!