How to Boost Event Fundraising with Facebook | npENGAGE

How to Boost Event Fundraising with Facebook

By on Jul 21, 2009


First a little background…A few months ago Nick Rongione, Blackbaud’s Product Marketing Manager, and I challenged ourselves to find the EASIEST way for event fundraising customers to leverage Facebook for peer to peer fundraising. Initially, our (at least my) thinking was stifled because we perceived Facebook as a destination, albeit a cutting edge and highly interactive destination, but only a destination like nearly all other websites. The typical approach to leverage destinations is to get a piece of real estate, hopefully a piece with a lot of traffic, and drive the traffic to accomplish your goals.

The challenge with the real estate based approach is that is difficult to get real estate in Facebook for your event participants! This requires building Facebook applications, which in turn requires technical expertise, application approval, and an ever changing Facebook API. Additionally, FreeCause, Blackbaud’s “go to” Facebook partner has a very feature rich Facebook application to build real estate for event participants. If you have significant Facebook ambitions I highly recommend checking them out.

The “ah-HA!” moment came to us when we realized that for peer to peer fundraising, Facebook isn’t a destination, it is simply a communication channel.   Facebook is the same as sending an email, making a phone call, sending a text, or sending snail mail. It is just another way for your event participants to connect with people they want to cultivate and solicit.

What is FeedRaiser?

Enter FeedRaiser, quite possibly the simplest Facebook application to ever exist. Functionally, FeedRaiser accomplishes a single goal:

FeedRaiser allows event participants to send messages to their friends and families in Facebook and it appends a URL back to the participant’s personal page.

Why is FeedRaiser Going to raise more money for your event?

Simplicity is the key:

1. FeedRaiser should take no more than 60 seconds to activate for your event. You need to click 1 checkbox within Participant HQ Settings then click “Update your Event.” That is correct! You can integrate your Thon event with Facebook in 2 clicks. What are you waiting for? Go do it!
2. Once activated, Facebook will appear in your participants Personal Fundraising HQ under the eMail tab. Participants can easily install FeedRaiser into their Facebook page, then send status updates that their friends in Facebook will receive. All the status updates they send will contain a link back to their personal page.
3. FeedRaiser changes the game from requiring you to obtain Facebook real estate to empowering communications between your participants and their friends in Facebook.

Things to keep in mind when activating FeedRaiser (or Twitter)

  1. “Knowing is half the battle…”- When you activate FeedRaiser (or Twitter) in your event make sure to send an email to all your event participants letting them know that Facebook and Twitter are now available as communication channels to support their online fundraising efforts.
  2. Lead the way- Setup a Twitter account or a Facebook page for your event and try to get your event participants to follow you or fan you. Provide updates about the event, event logistics, and tips/reminders on fundraising best practices. You don’t need to spend hours here, but you should provide ways to facilitate ongoing conversation with event participants.
  3. Leverage team captains & Superstars- You know which teams and participants are really committed because they are the ones raising the most money consistently year after year If you don’t know, PLEASE go run People: All Participants and People: All Teams reports! If you can spare the time, reach out to each of these people individually and let them know about the Twitter and Facebook integration.

Your Turn…

Have any questions or difficulties getting up and running or other ideas that you have used to be successful in rolling out Facebook and Twitter to your participants? Leave a comment so Blackbaud can help or so you can help others…


Frank Barry, formerly worked at Blackbaud helping nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+

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