Are you are trying to figure out the best way to tap into the fundraising power of Facebook? So was Project Healing Waters. In 2014, this nonprofit that’s dedicated to veterans’ rehabilitation through fly fishing wasn’t satisfied when they raised $255 on #GivingTuesday. They could see the potential of a giving day and wanted to raise more than ever before. And boy, did they! With carefully timed Facebook ads and content that engaged new and existing fans, Project Healing Waters raised more than $15,000 on #GivingTuesday 2015 and more than $20,000 for the duration of the campaign. I interviewed Daniel Morgan from Project Healing Waters to find out how they did it and how other organizations could benefit from their lessons learned.
Creating a #GivingTuesday Campaign Brand.
Daniel explained that for #GivingTuesday, he knew it was important for Project Healing Waters to broadcast what sets them apart from other organizations. This difference is encapsulated in the following statement: “They (Project Healing Waters) believes that helping disabled veterans is not a one-time event, it’s an ongoing process that has a journey of healing. Their work never stops. Their work is year round.”
To help spread this message, their graphic designer developed a main infographic and Daniel produced a series of complimentary graphics and social media posts with links back to their website and donation page. Having consistent branding provided visual cues to their supporters so that they know that each element was part of the organization’s #GivingTuesday campaign and when it was time to donate, they would know when and where to give!
Keeping the Message Consistent.
Project Healing Waters has program partners in all 50 states and Daniel knew it was important to have their help spreading the word about their big #GivingTuesday campaign. That’s why Daniel sent each partner a marketing kit. The kit, which included including branded images, campaign language, links to the website, FAQs, and branded Facebook cover photos, made it extremely easy for their partners to share consistent content with their stakeholders.
Developing Compelling Content.
Through Twitter and Facebook, Project Healing Waters disseminated a series of social media posts that activated their strong and dedicated community of supporters. They created a series of posts that linked to a specific webpage on their site explaining their #GivingTuesday campaign and how supporters could help them spread the word on December 1.
Each of the high-quality professional images showed their work in action: Veterans in the water fly fishing. You could see the positive emotions on the veterans’ faces. You could see that these programs were making a difference. The proof was in the photo. Daniel also used black and white photos to make the #GivingTuesday logo “pop.”
Strategically Purchasing Facebook Ads.
When it came to spending money on Facebook ads, Daniel was extremely strategic in executing paid campaigns. First, he targeted Facebook users whose online behavior told him that they had an interest in charitable giving to veterans’ organizations and an interest in fly fishing. He knew these people would be interested in Project Healing Waters. Daniel also knew that December 1 would be a busy day for nonprofits all trying to get in news feeds and that his dollars would go farther if he spent them in November. Two weeks before #GivingTuesday, he spent $30 and ran the following ad to this targeted audience to increase the organization’s Facebook fan base:
With this ad, Project Healing Waters acquired 621 new fans. Furthermore, Daniel knew that when new fans first like a Facebook page, that Page’s content tends to have a higher initial ranking in a fan’s newsfeed for a few weeks before Facebook’s algorithm replaces it in favor of new content (unless the user interacts with the Page’s content, then Facebook will continue serving that Page’s content). Using this logic, he knew new fans acquired the few weeks before #GivingTuesday would organically see his #GivingTuesday content. And since they were newer fans and more prone to charitable giving, he wouldn’t have to spend any more dollars getting #GivingTuesday content in front of these folks.
Then, when #GivingTuesday rolled around, Daniel boosted one Facebook post for $10 to get his “#GivingTuesday is here” Facebook post in front of more fans.
Analyzing the numbers
Project Healing Waters raised $15,000 on #GivingTuesday and saw more donations roll in the rest of the week. And through their thank-you posts on December 2 and 3, an additional $5,000+ was raised, which brought the #GivingTuesday campaign total over the $20,000 mark.
Daniel discovered that 32% of the traffic to their donation page came from social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). And of all the traffic from social media, 60% of the traffic came from Facebook.
He also mentioned that he saw more clicks on their Facebook’s “Donate Now” button than ever before. Because of this fact, he highly recommends you set one up your own Donate Now button on Facebook. (Download these instructions if you’re not sure how to set this up.)
And what about those new Facebook fans? Did they donate? Daniel said the organization saw a tremendous number of new donors from their Facebook campaign. Of those who donated to Project Healing Waters on #GivingTuesday, 60.2% were new donors!
Kudos to Daniel and Project Healing Waters for a strategic and successful Facebook campaign. His insights prove that you don’t need to have a large budget to make donor acquisition a reality through Facebook.