Fundraising trends for 2016: Social media advertising


Welcome to another entry in our series about the biggest fundraising trends we'll see more of in the coming year. Last month we dove into online video and livestreaming. Today we're talking about social advertising and the growing use of paid or promoted posts on commercial networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn!

Social helps you stay on target

2015 was the year we realized we no longer have to make a case for the effectiveness of paid social media advertising. So many organizations are discovering that promoted posts or tweets allow them to efficiently target their typical online donor. Charities and nonprofits can go beyond age, gender or location to find supporters by interest, behavior, and a wealth of other unique characteristics.

If you are a nonprofit professional thinking about getting started with social ads in 2016, remember that you have so many powerful ways to reach your ideal online supporters! You can target a powerful call-to-action to your existing supporters using information from your own CRM, or focus on acquiring new donors and volunteers. If you have multiple “donor personas”, social advertising is a fast and inexpensive way to help you reach different audiences in the same campaign.

Your colleagues are experimenting - are you?

Many nonprofits are surprised to hear how many organizations similar to their own are already using paid social ads. It’s important for fundraising leaders in 2016 to expect professional use of social media to go beyond engagement and donor stewardship.

Social advertising techniques are now more sophisticated than a well-worn “Donate Now” call-to-action. Nonprofit professionals are using social platforms to test content for direct mail, collect email addresses, spread petitions, and recruit new fundraisers rather than individual donors!

This last method is especially powerful for peer-to-peer or event-based fundraising campaigns. We recently heard about a continuing education student who applied what she learned about Facebook advertising in a Digital Fundraising class to an existing “a-thon” event at her organization.

Her words speak for themselves: “We had huge success with the Facebook ads over the weekend, 50 registrations and 236 donations to date. My Director of Development was very impressed. She has set up a time for me to explain the program to all of our other divisions.”

When the cost of experimentation is so low that you can test Facebook ads for as little as $5 a day, there’s no excuse not to use these tactics to drive conversion towards your goals.

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