Facebook is a huge deal to us hear at The Forever Friends Appeal. We know that many of you use it to fundraise every day so we’ve put together a list of our top ten tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of online sponsorship – we recommend using JustGiving.
1. Status Updates
Status updates are so easy. They are the bread and butter of Facebook – telling your network what you’re up to.
As a fundraiser you should be posting an update fairly regularly, and it should *always* have your Justgiving page attached to it. Maybe you’ve had a big donation, or gone for a particularly hardcore training session – it could be anything. Tell us. We want to know.
Update. Be rigorous and organised about it. Three times a week is acceptable. After all, you’ve got something to promote that can be a discussion point and it’s a surefire way to be omnipresent on your friend’s newsfeeds so there’s no possible way they *won’t* know what you’re up to. You should also look out for opportunities to start conversations based on your friend’s status updates and enlist some friends to share your page URL on their status too. Remember how everyone donated their status for Barack Obama on election night? Maybe they’ll donate their status to you too. Make your updates fun, snappy and as cheeky as you can get away with. Cheeky updates spur conversations, which in turn raise awareness in your network.
The golden rule is don’t just post the URL all on its own. Link-baiting alone is kind of annoying and we’ve all seen it in action (usually linking to ‘hilarious’ YouTube videos that everyone’s already watched).
2. Dress Your Profile with Notes
Posting notes is an effective way of regularly sharing your page. If you upload a new photo to your Justgiving page, edit your personal message, or hit a fundraising milestone, post it as a note.
3. Post Photos
Make sure you try and capture as much of your story on camera as possible and regularly upload photos, tagging yourself and anyone else in them as necessary. Photos look MASSIVE on profiles now, so get snapping. Also, make sure your profile pic and cover photo are both suitably related to what you’re up to – that way your friends will be continuously reminded that you are brilliant and they should sponsor you.
4. Do Video. Seriously.
The barriers to creating videos have lowered so much, there’s literally no excuse to not to upload a clip about what you’re doing. Phones do video. My camera does video. I’m pretty sure the toaster will do video soon enough. Video is an extraordinarily powerful medium to get stories and concepts across to people quickly. You’ve got a few options with Facebook video:
– use the Facebook video app. This is great for short videos, especially if your friends are in it. It has the same tagging functionality as the Photos app, so can spread through newsfeeds effectively.
– use a dedicated video site like YouTube or Vimeo. Both YouTube and Vimeo have pretty awesome Facebook integration. If you’re already using them then make sure you share the videos in your newsfeed or you can use the dedicated applications.
If you’re actually doing an official event, like a marathon for example, then search for it and see if it’s listed on Facebook. If it is, add yourself to it. If you’re doing your own thing and you want others to take part, then you can build your own event on Facebook and send it to your friends. Don’t build an event around just the *page* because, well, that’s a bit annoying.
6. Groups vs. Pages
You should definitely build a group. Invite everyone to it. Those who actually join are the ones who you can lean on a bit harder. Get some forum discussions going, don’t let it stagnate. The other good thing about Groups is they act as the bridge to other Facebookers who you might not be friends with. They can be a very powerful networking tool, especially around fundraising. We’ve seen some really interesting examples with campaigns aligning themselves around their Facebook group. Like with Wossy and that bus.
Do a search for ‘justgiving’ on facebook and have a look through some of the groups. There are some really great examples in there. Just don’t throw a house party or anything. Things could get messy…
We also recommend Groups over Pages. Pages work much better if you’re a band or a famous person, since everyone becomes a ‘fan’. We don’t know about you, but most donors probably won’t like being referred to as your fans. Pages are good for broadcasting to people, but Facebook works best when you’re having a conversation about stuff and not just trumpeting to people without listening back.
7. Facebook Mail
The internal messaging system in Facebook is really, really powerful. It’s a lot more effective than standard email because it threads messages properly and integrates well with your registered email address too.
So this tip is an easy one. Use it.
Nine times out of ten it works better than your normal email software (particularly if you’re saddled with Outlook or Hotmail or – worse still – the dreaded Lotus Notes). It works great for group emails and even better for one-to-one comms. Don’t underestimate the power of writing to people individually. It will yield much better results than sending the same message to everyone.
You can also dissect your friends into different groups and write a different message to each one. You could have a colleagues group, for example, that might be a bit more formal than the messages you’d write to your bestest buds.
Think about how you would carve up your contacts based on how you know them and write some sample messaging. It could make hundreds of pounds worth of difference and keep people happy too. Plus you get to track it all from the comfort of your Facebook account. Win.
8. Network with your charity
Ah yes. The benefactor! Quite a few charities have an official (or sometimes unofficial) presence on Facebook. Find it. Connect with them. Share your tips and stories with the fundraising team so they can pass on the goodness to others.
9. Don’t forget to say thanks
Say thanks. A lot.
Wall-post a thankyou note when somebody sponsors you. It acts as a thanks AND a reminder to others in the newsfeed that they need to sponsor you because other people are. Double trouble.
When your activity is over don’t forget to thank people collectively and individually. Let them know in as much detail as you can how much of a difference everyone has made together through your activity. It’s the end of the story. Make sure it gets told.
10. A few other things to think about in no particular order
– think about the intensity of your facebook promotion. Try and find the balance of keeping it regular without becoming overbearing. Ask for feedback if you think you’re pushing it too much from a close friend.
– lots of other sites have very tight integration with Facebook. Which of those sites can help spread your story? Is it worth using them? Do you use them already and haven’t set up the integration yet? Get. On. It.
– Have a long, hard look at your privacy settings. The more closed things are, the harder it is to get the message out beyond the inner circle of your friends.
– Structure your activity into three acts. Like a movie or a play. Beginning, middle and end. Always have the story at the heart of what you do. we know we’ve said that loads already, but it’s soooo important.
Hopefully that should give you some ideas for now.