Nonprofit social fundraising

Everything you need to know

What is social fundraising?

Social fundraising is a critical concept to understand, but can also be a confusing and complicated one. The focus of this page is to explain all of the concepts around social fundraising for nonprofits. A fundraising campaign can include an annual donation request, a dinner or gala, a peer-to-peer campaign, an organized 5K, etc. Our goal is to have communicated the value and opportunity, core principles to follow, and some next steps in order to use the power of social fundraising to benefit your organization.

Social fundraising defined:

Social fundraising for nonprofits is getting people (supporters, donors, evangelists, fundraisers, etc.) to post to their personal social media networks about the actions that they take related to your cause.

Social fundraising evolution

Asking for money is historically a social thing. There is a certain level of familiarity and context-awareness required to make the action of giving a positive experience. Nonprofits know this well and are especially adept at it.

As you know, giving is rarely one-sided. A donation is really more of a conversation than a transaction, and as a result, nonprofits have traditionally used channels familiar to their audience at that moment — usually the more personal the better. Think collection boxes or even church alms. And a lot of organizations are still using events like dinners and galas as cornerstones of their fundraising program because of the in-person component.

However, these channels often have problems with scale and efficiency. What’s great though is human beings have shown that they’re quick to adapt and adopt new technologies that ease communication. Over time, direct mail, the telephone, and digital channels (such as websites and email) all became familiar enough to be used for donation requests.

These innovations were eagerly embraced by nonprofits because of their low cost and scalable nature. Donors, in turn, loved the fact that it was easy to get involved and help.

Naturally, social media quickly became another channel in which nonprofits could spread the word about their work and their need for support. Social media allowed nonprofits to spread awareness about their mission as well as ask for donations.

However, it was different than techniques in the past in two very big ways.

  1. 1 Individual users were quickly building their own networks of family and friends that now could easily and quickly be reached
  2. 2 Social media changed what was socially acceptable to push out to their personal networks in volume

Think about this…

Direct mail will get supporters to make a donation, but will it get them to write letters to 100 of their friends?

Phone calls work to get supporter donations, but will supporters then call 100 of their friends?

Email will drive donations, and is easier to share, but how likely is it that 100 emails will be sent out by supporters ? How many clicks is that?

Social media is another great way to get new donations, and with just one click, donors can share their donation with over 100 friends.

Social fundraising - a shift in nonprofit thinking

Social fundraising happens when supporters want to interact with a cause, make it their own, and show the world how they care and give back… all through their mobile device and social networks.

It’s a profound change in how people interact with nonprofits and it’s an essential part of evolving and modernizing how fundraising works.

Most nonprofits have added some form of technology to their fundraising arsenal. What began with in-person, direct mail, and telemarketing now most likely has the addition of email, online ads, and now social media.

The concept of social fundraising is a necessary shift in the way nonprofits behave in order to account for this new world of communication. Recognizing the importance and value that social fundraising brings to all of their initiatives is becoming imperative.

And, the fact that shares have a real power to result in a new donation from someone not already in the nonprofits audience is huge. However we can’t overlook what the ‘friend-to-friend referral’ nature of these shares adds to overall cause awareness as well which is often just as important to your nonprofit as a donation.

Many nonprofits are currently embracing this powerful shift in their fundraising. Now, more than ever, they aren’t just asking for a donation and leaving it at that. They are also empowering their community to share their story in their own words, which brings in new supporters — and new donors.

Nonprofits are now providing tools to supporters in order to launch individual (peer-to-peer) fundraising efforts, encouraging them to tell their story in their own way, and then watching them bring friends and family into the mix to give, support, and share.

The power of the crowd is real. When a supporter takes your story as part of their own, it resonates with their networks on a much more personal level, making it nearly impossible to ignore.

Social fundraising is going to create one of those next big spaces on the internet. The old paradigm for fundraising was, “I need help,” and an individual would give you money or send in a cheque.

But when you layer asking for help with social media, it turns one donor into hundreds, even thousands of donors sometimes. It turns one advocate for your cause into an evangelist; where they can talk about a cause and share it broadly.

We want nonprofits to leverage that. We want to make sure that, whether you are the biggest nonprofit or the smallest one, you have the information and ability to get into the social fundraising game.

Rob Solomon, GoFundMe CEO

Fundraising on social is not social fundraising

One of the biggest misconceptions of social fundraising is that it simply means to be active on social media using your nonprofit account.

When you solicit donations via posts on your nonprofit’s social account, we call that fundraising on social. However, the larger opportunity of social fundraising is when you actually get your supporters to spread the word on your behalf on their own social channels.

It’s all about WHO is doing the sharing.

Fundraising on social

You - a nonprofit

Organic: a limited section of your current followers

Paid: potentially new supporters

Donations from existing supporters

Updating existing supporters on your cause

Social fundraising

Your supporters

Your supporters network - typically not within reach

New donations from new supporters

New awareness reach

Think about it in terms of an upcoming campaign. You reach out to your supporters via the normal marketing channels: social media, email, direct mail, a telegram, pony express, etc. Those efforts direct the supporter to take action on your campaign page.

In comes social fundraising. When you add social fundraising, it adds a continual drip of activity back to your campaign page.

Adding social fundraising doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel or change your event all together, but rather, if you layer social fundraising on top of what you’re already doing, you have the power to increase your reach, spread awareness, and raise more money for your organization.

The value of social fundraising

There’s a bit of a misunderstanding out there that shares don’t have any value. However, tremendous value actually can be created for your organization when your supporters share their actions.

So while this notion might require a bit of a mindset shift, if you can think holistically about your organization, shares will have the power to provide real value to your fundraising programs, marketing programs, mission awareness programs, recruitment programs, and more.

Social media shares create value in three ways

  1. 1 Increasing reach
  2. 2 Spreading awareness
  3. 3 Driving new donations

Increasing charity reach

Your supporters have personal networks that would be difficult to reach on your own. Let’s state the obvious

  1. You don’t have access to your community’s friends.
  2. Growing your supporter list is expensive and hard. Think about if you were going to grow your list by 10,000 supporters.

How many more dinners, races, events would you have to run? How many direct mail pieces or emails you would you need to send? Or how much would you have to spend on Facebook ads or other digital and print advertising to grow your list. Does your organization have the bandwidth or budget to do any or all of these?

With each Facebook user on average having 150 friends or so, that means it only takes sixty six Facebook shares from current supporters to reach 10,000 new people.

Spreading cause awareness

Sharing spreads awareness about your mission that is so critical to your organization’s success. What can more social shares potentially bring you?

  • Increased issue awareness - for those organizations who need to let the world know a problem exists
  • Awareness of your nonprofit - connecting your organization’s work with people who may need your help or want to learn more
  • New donors - from grassroots to high wealth, everyone has a social media presence
  • New volunteers
  • New peer-to-peer fundraisers
  • New grantors
  • New corporate partners

Driving new donations

Sharing drives new donations because often a supporter can’t give monetarily at a given moment, but they could still lend their voice and share. And when donors share their donation, about 20% of the time it results in a new donation.

Let’s look at some numbers. The average donation generated per type of share:

Layering nonprofit social fundraising

There's no reason to rethink your current events and campaigns, or spend additional marketing dollars. Social fundraising can be layered onto everything you’re already doing. Think about what happens if you get 300 donors to give $50 each and they all share after they donate. At $15 a share it’s another $4,500 to your campaign - with no new events, advertising or messaging required by the nonprofit. Adding social fundraising to your campaign just helped it raise 15% more.

It’s not just supporters sharing post-donation that drives all of the social fundraising value either. Campaign page visitors (driving $13) and campaign organizers (driving $45) also bring in a considerable amount of social fundraising donations as well.

Sharing on social media is a valuable tool and on average, over 50% of a campaign’s donation volume received as a direct result of social media sharing comes from donor and visitor shares, while the rest is generated by the campaign organizer’s share. So, said another way, that means that, combined, more than 50% of donations given to a campaign resulting from a share come from someone other than the campaign organizer.

There are significant funding opportunities for nonprofits that employ social fundraising. On average, getting a donor, supporter, or visitor to share a campaign results in a donation of $13 or greater.

1 in 5 donors are compelled to share a nonprofit campaign on social media following their donation. This should be recognized as a programmatic way to increase overall campaign donations and, at the same time, amplify the awareness of the campaign and of the nonprofit‘s mission.

In addition, these sharing behaviors as optimizable, meaning that, with scale of data and in-depth multi-variant platform testing, they can be improved and made more valuable to the modern nonprofit.

How and why social fundraising works

When your supporters share with their own personal network, the message will have more reach, more validity, and more effectiveness than your message alone.

The power of the crowd is real. When a passionate supporter embraces a nonprofit’s story as part of their own, it resonates with their networks on a much more personal level, making it nearly impossible to ignore. Why do posts by your supporters work so well? Because your supporter’s megaphone is larger and louder than yours.

When your supporters post and share on behalf of your nonprofit, it helps to spread awareness and drive new donations because of the following factors:

#1

Reach

#2

Trust

#3

Storytelling

#4

Authenticity

Nonprofit Reach

When your supporters share your story or campaign, it gets delivered to the personal network they’ve built. The average person has 155 friends on Facebook. So a single share has a 155x multiplier on the number of people it can reach. Most importantly, these are all people you don’t have direct access to and probably couldn’t reach even if you tried.

Charity Trust

Sharing builds trust. When a supporter shares the reason they support your cause in a uniquely personal way, their family and friends trust them. When they talk about your cause, it puts you in the best possible light for getting new supporters.

Think about restaurants. When you’re looking for a bite to eat in a new place, how do you choose? Recommendations from friends? Peer reviews from online sites? The power of personal recommendations works just as well for nonprofits as it does for retail, hotels, and restaurants.

Cause Storytelling

Personal connections create incredible stories - when your passionate supporters tell your message through their own personal experiences, it’s incredibly compelling to their networks. It’s the personal connection that makes the story so compelling to a supporter’s network of friends and family. You care about the people you know, and what they care about.

Try a mindset shift. In order to pave the way for successful storytelling, try to let go of the controls a little and allow your brand story to be told with some freedom, based on the personal connection each supporter has with it.

Fundraising Authenticity

People would rather hear from a person versus a brand. Which of these two posts feels more authentic and would get you to think about buying the boots?

Why is Steve’s more compelling? The interest and motive behind a post from a brand versus a post from a person are distinctly different. A brand needs to reach out because they need to ‘sell more.’ A person doesn’t need to reach out, rather they’re compelled to reach out to share their knowledge and experience.

Mobile and social media changes

With the emergence of social media, it’s now so natural and easy to share. Social media empowers your supporters to take action in a way that actually feels right to them and they can now share with the world in a way that’s personal to the supporter.

WIth the door-to-door or phone techniques of the past, the big draw was the personal connection and spreading of awareness. These techniques are now transformed by the inherent social nature of social media which still allows for direct interaction and personal conversations.

However with social media, the efficiency and effectiveness of these conversations is heightened. Now, it’s so much easier for your supporters to share your story with their friends and family in a personal way that resonates with their followers. It’s authentic, simple, and trusted.

When your nonprofit incorporates social fundraising into your fundraising strategy, you’re allowing your story to be told through the lens of your supporters. They make it a part of their personal narrative allowing for an effective way to raise awareness, gain more donations, and spread your message.

Driven by mobile adoption

A large and increasing portion of social fundraising traffic on GoFundMe (our parent company) occurred on mobile devices. In 2017, 79% of traffic was on a mobile device, an 11% relative increase compared to 2015. Our observation of traffic shifting to mobile is consistent with the tech industry observation in general, according to KPCB’s Internet Trends report in 2017.

In 2017, the proportion of donations occurring on a mobile device was 62%, compared to 38% made on desktop. When compared to visits, desktop traffic has a better donation conversion rate. Donation conversion is defined as the percent of visitors to a fundraiser page who go on the donate to the campaign. While desktop traffic is a much smaller portion of traffic than mobile, desktop donors are more likely to make a donation. Similar to our observations of conversion rates, the ecommerce industry also observes that the conversion rate on mobile browsers is about half of the conversion rates of desktop, as reported in Criteo’s State of the Mobile Commerce report in 2016.

Mobile, driven by social fundraising, will increasingly be where nonprofits need to engage their donors, fundraisers, and supporters. The move to mobile web, coupled with the engagement challenges faced by modern nonprofits, calls for a focus on mobile as a primary platform, or at least include mobile in the portfolio of platforms for those nonprofits that currently focus on offline donations or desktop-only donations. In addition, we see the accelerating adoption and integration of mobile-device-friendly payments as a major step to improving mobile donation conversion

How supporters can #GoBeyondTheDonation

When most people think of fundraising, they think of the end result being a donation — a monetary contribution to their nonprofit. But what if the end result of successful fundraising was more holistic and had much more impact on your cause and the multiple goals you’re trying to tackle everyday? When you incorporate social fundraising into your mix, you can go beyond the donation and crush all of your goals, from monetary to awareness and beyond.

There are five main actions supporters can take to interact with your cause. And your organization should be trying to get them to share each of them with their own network of friends and family.

  1. Visiting campaign pages
  2. Making a donation
  3. Buying a ticket or registering for an event
  4. Having a personal experience with your nonprofit
  5. Starting their own campaign on the nonprofits behalf

Visiting a fundraising campaign page

Although not everyone who lands on your campaign page will donate, they all should have the opportunity to share what they learned, what they did, or how they connected to your cause. You put forth the effort to get them to your latest campaign. If, for whatever reason they can’t give at the moment, they could still be providing value to your organization by sharing that campaign out via social media.

Just because someone isn’t able to donate at that particular moment, it doesn’t mean there isn’t value in sharing what about your cause resonates with them with their own network. Remember the average amount of new donations brought in from a visitor’s share is $13.

Donating to your nonprofit

People love to spread the word about a donation that they just made. Not only does it show their personal networks that they’re altruistic, but it also shows the world what they believe in.

And, often the sharing of a donation results in new donations. $15 in new donations per donor share to be specific.

Buying a ticket or registering for a charity event

You’ve got an event coming up. People are buying tickets and registering. There’s really no reason why they shouldn’t have the opportunity to share with their personal network about the awesome event they’re gearing up to attend.

Attendees inherently like to go to these things with family and friends, so this gives them an opportunity to not only recruit additional people to attend, but it also gives them a reason to share with the world what they care about and what they stand for.

A memorable experience with your nonprofit

A patient saved by the research of a nonprofit, an animal that received a forever home, a granddaughter of someone affected by a disease, a volunteer trying to make their streets safer, a Mom fighting on behalf of their child.

Whatever the reason, these are amazing stories to be told. And though they have a common thread, they are all unique. Empower your supporters to be brand ambassadors and share their personal connection with your cause. It’s the most powerful form of authentic advertising and the audience it is reaching resonates with the message in a more personal and compelling way due to their connection with the person posting.

Creating their own peer-to-peer fundraising campaign

The most valuable of all the shares is when a peer-to-peer fundraiser, who created a campaign on your behalf, shares their campaign with their personal network.

When a passionate supporter creates their own campaign, they’re saying louder than ever what they care about. By taking the time to create a campaign on your behalf and then sharing it with the world in order to get donations and create awareness, your supporter is taking a profound action.

Who uses social fundraising?

GoFundMe donors span several generations and tend to be younger than the average nonprofit donor. Millennials and Gen X were well represented, making up nearly 50% of donors equally divided among the two generations. Additionally, 11% of donors are between the ages of 18 and 25, indicating that Gen Z is also active in donating to campaigns.

Social fundraising donors tend to be grassroots.

GoFundMe donors, unlike donors to traditional nonprofit organizations, tend to make smaller donations. In 2017, over 68% of donations were just $50 or less. GoFundMe donors are mainly grassroot participants, i.e. the middle income tier and the lower income tier of the population. The median annual household income of GoFundMe donors in the United States is just over $61,000, slightly higher than the national median household income of $59,000. 84% of donations came from middle class households, or those making between $40,000 and $120,000 per year.

Furthermore, contrary to some nonprofits fundraising efforts focusing on a small number of high net worth induals, GoFundMe’s community suggests that there may be significant funding opportunities in encouraging smaller donations by a larger amount of supporters.

We notice variation when investigating the relationship between donor income and campaign categories. Donations to certified charity fundraisers and charitable causes tend to come from donors in wealthier areas, with median household incomes above $64k. This is 7% higher than donors to memorial fundraisers, who have a median household income of just over $59k.

While certified charity donors tend to come from wealthier areas compared to other categories, most donors are still low income or middle class, with nearly 23% making less than $50,000 per year. In 2017, 92% of donors to certified charity social fundraising campaigns on GoFundMe were from middle class households.

Based on the income distribution of the large number of donors engaged in social fundraising, nonprofit organizations should consider diversifying their funding sources to include programs designed to solicit smaller, grassroots donations in volume.

And, while on average donors who give to nonprofit social fundraising campaigns do have a slightly higher median income, they are solidly in the middle class. Nonprofit organizations have an opportunity to compliment their high-wealth donor initiatives with programs directed at engaging this group.

How nonprofits can get started

These days, more than ever, it’s vital to craft your supporter’s journey and experience with your cause based on how people actually behave. With different goals and missions, your messaging should be unique in order to encourage each supporter to share in a way that resonates with them. How do you get the most out of social fundraising?

There are 6 main strategies that help to get the most out of every interaction with your supporters and grow your social fundraising:

  1. Great timing
  2. Ease of use
  3. Optimization
  4. Spread the knowledge
  5. Leverage the data
  6. Invest in social fundraising

Great Timing

When your supporters are taking an action with your cause, whether it’s donating, starting a fundraiser, learning more about your mission, etc., they’re in the right mindset to do even more.

Capitalize on this timing and ask them to share their donation, fundraiser, or recent experience while they’re mindful of it.

Its got to be easy to use

In a world where everything is at our fingertips, complexity can be a real drawback. That’s why sharing has got to be easy. A frictionless, one-click experience that easily allows supporters to reach out to their network is a must.

Additionally, a deep-integration with social platforms is necessary to create that seamless experience on both mobile and desktop that we’re all used to.

Optimization

Like with anything online, finding the optimal experience for conversion is a critical part of success. We’re talking button colors, sizes, placements, multi-variant testing, etc.

These are the details that are thoughtfully designed and highly tested to be ideal for the way humans actually think and behave.

Spread the Knowledge

You probably get a lot of requests like, “What else can I do to help you? I want to give more than money. What is a good way to manage that?”

You’re basically a social fundraising expert by now… so that means you know the real value of a share. The bigger question is, does your community?

When you incorporate this narrative into everything you do, your supporters will catch on and understand that there’s so much more they can do for your cause.

Leverage the data

Data is paramount to growing your nonprofit. Why? Because data offers valuable insights into your community.

And this community is not just one big entity that reacts to your cause in the same manner. They’re diverse and have many different reasons why they are connected to your cause and what makes them tick.

When you can take your data and leverage it to talk to your community in ways that actually speak directly to them and their connection with your nonprofit, you have a much better opportunity to grow and create even more impact.

Invest in social fundraising

Investment is somewhat of a taboo word in the nonprofit world, where overhead is scrutinized and budgets can be erratic. But, deciding to invest in social fundraising is a critical decision for today’s modern nonprofit.

Organizations need to move beyond cardboard checks and door-to-door solicitations. The world we’re living in can change at your fingertips, and supporters are ready to pounce at a new solution, if given the chance.

When you embrace social fundraising, you’re investing in a tool that will expand your network, foster true growth, gain more awareness, and raise more money. And that kind of investment is a no-brainer.

The power of the crowd is real. And for those nonprofits who are embracing social fundraising, we know that they’ll be successful in staying relevant and continuing to not only grow, but make real impact in the world.

Social fundraising is a proven, powerful force that can help take both your fundraising and awareness goals to the next level. So whether you’re hosting a gala, an event, a 5K, or even a dinner, adding social fundraising into the mix will help your nonprofit grow in so many ways.

And that’s exactly why we built CrowdRise by GoFundMe. With a heavy emphasis on the best social sharing tools and functionality, our platform was designed to help the modern nonprofit layer social fundraising onto everything they’re doing.

Social Amp™ is changing the face of online giving

Our Social Amp™ feature is baked into our platform to create the best possible share experience for your supporters, fundraisers, and donors. Going beyond the traditional marketing of both Facebook or Twitter, the Social Amp™ optimization strategically prompts your donors to share their donation, along with your mission, with their own personal networks. It combines the ‘who’ (your supporter), the ‘what’ (their support of your organization) and the ‘why’ (their passion for your mission) allowing for an easy way for them to not only tell the world about your cause but to generate new donations and awareness.

Social Amp™ is a highly optimized social sharing experience that guides your supporters at strategic points during their experience on CrowdRise. This means that campaign organizers, donors who are supporting your cause, and visitors who are simply learning more about your cause will be encouraged to share at different moments during their journey. It's built into the core of all of our products and features across the platform and affects everyone interacting with your CrowdRise campaign.

How Social Amp™ works for nonprofits

Our Social Amp™ optimization has best in class suggestive software and powerful data showing the impact and broadcast levels of donor sharing. The Social Amp™ feature also has highly optimized campaign pages, perfectly timed emails that promote sharing, and donor prompts that empower your supporters to amplify their social shares by reaching out and sharing your campaigns with their network. And, since the relationship between a cause organizer and a supporter is one to many, this amplification is super important. For example, Social Amp™ optimization creates the greatest potential for your supporter to share their experience because for every campaign organizer, there are hundreds or even thousands of supporters that can spread the word on their social networks.

Social Amp™ is proven to increase donations as well as cause awareness and donations and the benefits trickle down to your donors and supporters too. It allows for a better, more personal and stronger connection to your cause. They are motivated to incorporate your mission more fully into their own narrative by sharing.

And, we’ve got the stats to prove it. And...they’re kind of impressive. Three times more donations are raised by donors who share on social media. Social Amp™ optimization really amplifies those numbers and through extensive testing, GoFundMe discovered that Social Amp™ optimization increased social shares of campaigns by over 20%. That’s a 20% increase in donation volume and awareness. We also discovered that, on average, 1 in every 5 shares on social media results in a new donation.

And remember, Social Amp™ optimization is completely built into the platform framework, so your donors and supporters automatically get the most optimized social fundraising experience in the world. It runs in the background behind your campaign, gently nudging your supporters to share and giving them the best possible experience promoting your cause.

3 reasons to try social fundraising

Everyone has similar goals and issues. You’ve probably got a campaign coming up (maybe a little too fast.) You’ve got pressure to raise way more than last year. You’re trying to raise awareness and gain new supporters. Whatever the case, now is probably the best time to try out social fundraising for yourself to see just how powerful it can be.

How can you make it happen? Here are three things you can test out for your next campaign.

  1. Allow for peer-to-peer fundraising
  2. Have a social sharing flow that’s optimized around your campaign story and your campaign supporter actions especially during the donation flow
  3. Communicate to your supporters that when they share and lend their voice it provides a real and tangible value to your organization

This isn’t changing what you’re already doing and scrapping your original plans. This is layering on these strategies to enhance your campaign. We’re basically asking the question, ‘why not incorporate social fundraising?’ And from our point of view, if you’re leaving social fundraising out of your fundraising strategy, then you’re leaving donation money on the table.

When your supporters are encouraged to share, as well as donate and fundraise, you’re opening up a whole world of possibilities fueled by social fundraising.

Social Fundraising FAQ

We always get so many incredible questions on social fundraising so we wanted to make sure we took some time to share the answers with you.

Here we go…

Q: What are some best practices for getting your community to engage with social fundraising?

A: Great questions. First off, you have to make sure you actually have the ability to activate sharing within your community of supporters. Are your donors being asked to share at critical moments? What about a way for them to engage in peer-to-peer fundraising? At that point you can ask them to share in their own words the connection to your cause with their network of family and friends. Then your supporters can ask their network to give, share, or even fundraise alongside them.

We always hear from nonprofits that their supporters want to do more and are asking to do more, but they just don’t know how or what to do. That’s why when you encourage them to share on social or raise money instead or in addition to donating, that action can go a long way. Additionally, share with them the value their network holds and how fundraising and sharing have such an incredible impact. Sometimes more so than just giving a donation. Make sure they know there is real value to them lending their voice to the cause.

Q: What are the "right tools" to do social fundraising?

A: When it comes to social fundraising ‘tools,’ what we’re really talking is the platform or features you’re using as a part of your campaign or campaigns. Is your campaign optimized for conversions, social shares, and peer-to-peer fundraising? Make sure to research the platform you are considering in order to have a successful social fundraising initiative.

Q: We get a lot of requests like "What else can I do to help you”? What do you suggest to manage those questions?

A: Kind of an awesome problem to have, right? First off, social fundraising is a huge opportunity for these types of supporters. Let your supporters know that when they, in their own words, share with their network your mission, their action, etc., it adds an incredible amount of value. There’s more than one way to share too. Supporters can share an action, like the fact that they just gave to your cause. They can share their love and support for your cause and your story. They can also share the personal connection that drove them to your cause.

You can also ask your supporters who are wanting to do more to start their own fundraisers and help you create a strong peer-to-peer program. Let them know they’ll be the catalysts of more awareness and funds through their sharing of personal fundraising pages.

Q: How is social fundraising different from sharing your CrowdRise campaign page on your Facebook wall?

A: It all comes down to WHO is sharing your campaign page. When you share your own CrowdRise page, you’re posting on social media and reaching your same audience as normal. However, when your supporters share, that is social fundraising. You are potentially reaching a brand new audience every single time a new supporter shares that they gave to, are fundraising for, or even that they are into your cause.

Q: I’ve heard that email has a higher conversion rate (success at getting donations) than social media sharing. So why would you do social fundraising versus sending out personalized emails?

A: Social fundraising isn’t something that you do rather than something else (in this case, emails,) but rather it’s a tactic you should be using in addition to sending out personalized emails.

It’s a layering effect where you use different techniques and channels to get different results with the hopes of a more holistic approach to your strategy. So definitely don’t stop sending emails and promoting your campaign and cause on social media. But, then also add social fundraising to go one step further and have your supporters use their voices to expand into a potentially new audience that might not already be aware of your cause.

Q: Platforms, like CrowdRise, that are big into social fundraising, are they best for only social fundraising campaigns or specific events? Or, can they also work for ongoing fundraising?

A: The CrowdRise platform allows you to do all-in-one fundraising (and add-in social fundraising to everything). You can layer in effective social fundraising to your "general donation" pages, seasonal campaigns, and even walks, galas, and any other type of event you can think of.

Q: Do you have any tips to encourage people to share posts on social media?

A: Great question. First of all, we really recommend that you make sure your supporters focus on their own connection with your cause and their personal narrative. When they share their own story it’ll resonate more authentically with their friends and family causing more awareness and producing more donations.

Q: With so many fundraising platforms out there, which one is the cheapest? Why pick one that costs more when we’re on a small budget?

A: At CrowdRise, we offer a few levels of service because we know there are nonprofits of all shapes and sizes out there. We enable our social fundraising features at all levels because our focus has always been to make the platform the very best for nonprofits. If you’re on a “free” platform, make sure it is helping you get more donations and is also fully optimized for social fundraising. The old adage, “you get what you pay for” does ring true in this case though and you may find that there are certain features that are worth paying for. Features that can help you gain more donations in other ways, or even help make your overall operation more efficient, in turn, bringing you more donations and supporters.

Q: What's list size makes social fundraising actually worthwhile?

A: When you think about social fundraising, it isn’t about a large database or a large list that makes it effective. It's about getting the current supporters that you have and who already love you, whether that’s 10 or 10,000, to share with their personal networks. And remember, each and every share provides value and can easily lead to more donations.

Q: Isn’t social fundraising a full-time job?

A: The great thing about social fundraising is that you give it over to your supporters to run with. Their voice, their connections, and their ability to share has tremendous value. It’s almost as if they become a part of the team and, when motivated, can be impactful to your donation and awareness goals.

Q: What’s different about Facebook ads versus social fundraising on CrowdRise?

A: When you advertise on Facebook, it’s really just another marketing channel. And, if that's working for you, definitely continue doing it. When you add social fundraising to your current (and future) campaigns, that’s completely different.

When your loyal supporters, donors, and fundraisers share your campaign page with their social networks, it resonates in a way that is much more effective to those family and friends. People listen and tend to give to their family and friends. This inherently strengthens awareness of your mission, and increases monetary support.

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