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How to optimise your social media channels to receive donations

Over the last few weeks we have seen many events like conferences and fundraising activities are being postponed or even cancelled due to the Coronavirus. Tough times for patient organisations, as since we greatly rely on the donations and goodwill of people. However, there is a chance to use this wicked situation in your benefit. Use this COVID-19 emergency as an opportunity to optimise your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page to receive donations.

You don’t have to use costly advertisement like Google Adwords or paid promotions to attract donors. This article focuses on free ways to promote your fundraise effort. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use social media to promote your fundraising without having to pay a penny:

Facebook: add donate button

In Facebook (and Instagram since they can be linked) you can add a Donate button. If people want to select your organisation to host a a fundraiser for their birthday, you need to have installed Facebook Payments. To do so and add a donate button to your Facebook page, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that your Facebook Page is categorised as either a ‘Non-profit organisation’ or a ‘Charitable organisation’.
  2. Enrol your organisation in Facebook Payments to verify you are a not-for-profit organisation. These three things are needed to complete the application:
    1. A PDF copy or bank statement from the last three months.
    2. Name and date of birth of your organisation’s CEO or executive director.
    3. Your organisation’s tax ID number (EIN or VAT number) to verify your charitable tax exemption status.
  3. Once approved, add the Donate button to your page by editing the button in the ‘Edit your page’ section.
  4. Share the donation link to encourage followers to share fundraise efforts.

Applications usually take 2-3 weeks to be reviewed after you submitted your application, and you will receive a message once the application is approved. It’s important to note that Facebook does not take a percentage of the donation, so 100% of the donation goes straight to your organisation.

Twitter: pin your donation campaign

Twitter doesn’t have a donate option, and generally speaking the audience on Twitter is less engaged in fundraising efforts. But you can still rally for your fundraiser by pinning the message on top of your page. This way, this is the first message people see when they access your page.

  1. Publish a Tweet that consists of a strong call-to-action and a well-designed strong visual. This can be a picture with text or a small video.
  2. Compress the link to the external donation page using bit.ly or ow.ly. Post the link at the end of a Tweet, so it automatically creates a Twitter card showing a preview of that page link.
  3. After publishing, click on the top right to pin the message.

Instagram: add donate sticker to stories

Instagram is a great platform to reach young adults who are moving away from Facebook. Ephemeral content (posts that disappear after a certain time) makes it attractive for timely sharing of posts. Now that Instagram is part of Facebook, this opens up possibilities for fundraising on this platform.

  1. Switch to a business profile. This also opens up Instagram Analytics, to measure the impact of your efforts.
  2. Connect your Instagram to your Facebook page, which is set up to receive donations.
  3. When creating a story, add the ‘Donate’ sticker to enable fast and easy donation to your charity.
  4. Encourage your supporters to donate to your cause directly on Instagram.

Sharpen your communication skills

One part of successful donation is optimising your social media channels. Another part is the quality of the message itself. I’ve listed some general tips on how to create the best fundraise messages.

  1. Please don’t overdo hashtags. Facebook is no place for hashtags as they don’t seem to work well. Research has shown that Twitter messages with an average of three hashtags are scoring best. What I do in Instagram is to post up to 10 hashtags either on the bottom of the message or as a reaction to the post.
  2. Keep emoji’s to a minimum and if you use them, make sure they are relevant.
  3. Shorten links to a website using a link compressor engines bit.ly or ow.ly.
  4. Create your messages in a tone of voice fitting to the values of your brand. Do you want to sound friendly? Daring? Fierce?
  5. Learn what works and what not. Measure your impact using Facebook and Twitter analytics, and Instagram Insights.

And then there’s this …

If you have a website: make it as easy as possible for your audience to donate. Less time, less clicks, less fuzz. Next to optimising your social media accounts, make sure your website is designed to make the donation effort a smooth and short journey. Next to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there are many other social media platforms you can use to convey your donation effort message. It depends on the audience you’re trying to reach on what is the best channel.

Was this article of interest to you? Do you want to learn more about how to organise your social media efforts? We’re always happy to join a brainstorm! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know your thoughts.