Facebook is the world's biggest social media service and it's where more than a billion people primarily connect with friends, get information and be in the social loop. Aside from its traditional services, the company is increasingly branching out into other areas such as classified ads (Marketplace), local business marketing (Professional Services), nonprofit donations and even money services.
In line with this expansion, Facebook is hoping to build a viable and sustainable community that ordinary people can turn to for financial support. With the rollout of Personal Fundraisers in the next few weeks, the social media site is counting on its reach and popularity to help individuals raise money and create fundraising causes for themselves.
Soon, it won't be just nonprofit or charity organizations that can do fundraisers, even individuals can raise money too. Think of it as Facebook's version of GoFundMe.
To get a leg up when the program rolls out, assuming you are really in need, here are tips that can help you start your first Personal Fundraiser and increase your chances of success.
1. Make your campaign stand out
First impressions count and it will give your campaign a better chance of getting shared. To get people to rally around your cause and truly empathize with your plight, use actual, personal photos or videos of the individuals involved in the funding campaign. Avoid using stock graphics and text. Make it look as professional as possible and use the clearest and best photos you can find.
Additionally, create noteworthy but accurate titles for your cause. Assuming you have a real need, avoid generic titles like "My sister needs help!" or "My cat requires surgery!" Make them personal, unique, truthful and authentic (don't go around scamming people, please).
Titles like "Join My Sister Mary's Fight Against Alzheimer's" or "My Beloved Morgan Is Fighting For His Life But You Can Save Him" may earn you more clicks, shares and donations than generic cookie-cutter statements.
Make sure you put your cause in the right category too. Facebook's Personal Fundraisers are currently classified into six different categories:
- Education (tuition, books or classroom supplies)
- Medical (medical procedures, treatments or injuries)
- Pet Medical (veterinary procedures, treatments or injuries)
- Crisis Relief (public crises or natural disasters)
- Personal Emergency (house fire, theft or car accident, etc.)
- Funeral and Loss (such as burial expenses or living costs after losing a loved one)
Assigning your fundraiser to the right category will increase your chances of attracting the right people to donate. It will give you a wider visibility to people who are looking for a particular cause to help out with.
2. Set up your payment account
Currently, Facebook's fundraising tools are still set for nonprofit organizations and charities but we expect this to change once Personal Fundraisers roll out.
Facebook claims that the people can donate to a cause in a few clicks without leaving Facebook itself. Money transactions are usually routed through Facebook Payments so make sure you set up up a payment method in your profile or on the Page that's linked to your cause.
Needless to say, always verify that you have the correct banking information on your Facebook Payments account. You don't want all those kind donations to go to waste, or even worse, routed to the wrong account.
To read Facebook's FAQ about Fundraisers and Donations, click here.
3. Share, Share, Share
As mentioned earlier, Facebook has a massive user base and its reach is vast and wide. If your cause is truly something that's worthwhile, then reaching out to this humongous network will be a vital key to a successful campaign.
Initially, you may start sharing your fundraiser via your own Facebook Timeline and tap into your own network of friends by inviting them to view it. Eventually, as social media sites go, as long as your post is public, there's a good possibility it will be reshared and reshared again, reaching other people that are not in your immediate circle.
Who knows? If your fundraiser has a solid reason that monumentally touches the masses, it may even go viral.
So don't be afraid to share often (and share other people's causes too) to keep your fundraiser's visibility high. But as with everything else, know your limits. Be careful of the dangers of oversharing or risk being labeled as spammy or desperate.
Also, try expanding your reach even further by sharing your Facebook Fundraiser link to your friends through email messages, texts and other social media sites like Twitter and Instagram. Again, modesty and authenticity are vital so communicate accordingly.
4. Keep your donors and followers in the loop
There's nothing more disheartening than "hit and run" fundraisers who seem to disappear after cashing out on a campaign. Or fundraisers who never communicate nor update their pages with a cause's status.
To engage your donors and make them feel that your campaign is going somewhere (hopefully enticing more donors along the way), keep them in the loop with timely progress reports, status updates or even the most basic of chit-chats. This will foster goodwill, camaraderie and most of all, reinforce the authenticity of your cause.
Additionally, even after a campaign ends, keep updating your donors and followers with the results. Successfully raised funds for a pet's surgery? Post pictures and videos of the pet to show that he or she is alive and well. Started a campaign for textbooks? Show your donors the newly acquired scholarly library and maybe even post your post-semester grades. Communication and transparency will go a long way, going beyond the campaign itself.
5. Don't forget to say Thank You!
Never, ever be an ingrate! Make sure you address each individual donor with a personalized thank you note to show your sincerest appreciation. If possible, mention their real name and craft a unique heartfelt message for each supporter. Keep in mind that each donor has laid their trust in you and parted with their earnings to serve your goals. It's important to show them how valuable their support is to you.
To summarize, keep these five words to heart when you start your next Facebook Personal Fundraiser campaign - Authenticity, Transparency, Modesty, Communication and Gratitude.
This is not a foolproof guide by any means but these five words will lay a great foundation for a successful campaign.
Facebook Personal Fundraiser Guide:
Facebook Personal Fundraisers will roll out soon. Here's a video to help get you started:
How to create a Facebook Personal Fundraiser:
Once the feature is made available to you, a "Fundraisers" section will appear on your personal profile.
1.To create a Personal Fundraiser, go to the Fundraiser section, click "Create Fundraiser" then select the Facebook profile you are raising money for.
2. Next, pick a category and describe your cause by adding relevant photos and text.
3. You can then share this new Personal Fundraiser to your News Feed and invite your friends to view it.
4. People can then donate instantly right on Facebook. Your friends can also easily share your Fundraiser on their Facebook feeds.