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Beyond Birthday Fundraisers: Ways to Use Social Fundraising

Posted Mar 28, 2022 05:34 PM
If you search on Google for the term "Facebook fundraising" in 2022, you might still see developments from 2017 (such as Facebook (Meta) releasing “birthday fundraisers”) as some of the top trending topics.

But did the forward progression of social fundraising tools really stop in 2017? Not quite. In fact, there are a variety of little-known ways that you can use social fundraising, setting your nonprofit ahead of the digital curve as we enter a new realm of virtual, hybrid, and in-person fundraising.

We’re going to cover the following ways that you can use social fundraising beyond birthday fundraisers:

  • Challenges on Facebook
  • Conversational Messaging
  • Community-Building

360MatchPro’s compilation of fundraising statistics notes, “18% of donors who give online report that social media is the channel that most inspires them to give… Of the donors who are inspired to give by social media outreach, 56% of them say Facebook has the biggest impact on them.”

This tells us one thing: social fundraising has real promise as a tool to increase donations...and you should be using it to its fullest potential!

Challenges on Facebook

With Challenges on Facebook, you can make the most of hybrid fundraising and raise additional funds for your nonprofit while you’re at it.

Challenges on Facebook are an additive peer-to-peer fundraising method that takes place using tools already built into the social network.

During the Challenge, participants complete a specified task (often having to do with physical fitness or personal improvement), join together in a Facebook group to chat with one another for the duration, and raise P2P funds from their friend list using a Facebook fundraiser. The Challenge lasts for a set period of time, such as a few weeks or a month.

To host a Facebook Challenge, take the following steps:

  • Choose a task for participants to complete and the duration that the campaign will last.
  • Create a Facebook group for participants to join and provide any educational materials that would be helpful, such as a how-to guide to starting a fundraiser.
  • Use Facebook Ads to spread the word about the campaign, directing prospective participants to join the group if interested.
  • When participants have joined the group and started their fundraisers, you should share encouragement, discussion prompts, and more to drive them across the finish line.

Challenges require little effort on behalf of your nonprofit to plan and run. You can easily host them alongside your main fundraising campaigns without a major investment.

Plus, it’s easy for participants to join in the Challenge, as many likely have access to Facebook already. The group aspect of these campaigns means that while it’s a hybrid fundraiser, it’s not a solitary experience— participants enjoy a sense of community from start to finish.

Conversational Messaging

While raising funds is a crucial part of any fundraising strategy, the genuine relationships that you build with supporters are the foundation that this strategy stands upon. Luckily, while you can use social fundraising to raise money, you can also use it to cultivate your relationships with each individual supporter who interacts with you on the platform.

This is done through conversational messaging, or one-on-one conversations between a supporter and a representative of your nonprofit. On Facebook, this can take place through Messenger.

Before you can begin having these conversations, you first need supporters to connect with your nonprofit on Messenger. Begin by thanking all individuals who publicly support your nonprofit on the platform— for example, posting a thank-you comment on the fundraisers that a supporter starts. In that comment, invite them to chat with your nonprofit on Messenger. Check out this GoodUnited guide to thanking supporters on Facebook for templates that you can use to both thank supporters and open the door for future communication.

Once a supporter has connected with you in Messenger, you can share:

  • Encouragement to help them reach their fundraising goals and gratitude for their efforts after the fact.
  • Fundraising tips and best practices to give their P2P effort the best chance of success.
  • Additional fundraising, volunteer, and advocacy opportunities that align with the supporter’s interests.
  • A link to educational resources on your nonprofit’s website.
  • Questions and surveys to learn more about who your supporter is and how they’d like to engage in the future.

As your nonprofit’s social support base grows, it can become impossible to hold meaningful conversations with each and every supporter. If this task seems outside of the capacity of your current team, you can partner with a social fundraising solutions provider. There are now solutions that create custom, automated conversational messaging sequences tailored to the needs of your nonprofit and supporters alike.


In the transition to predominantly virtual fundraising, one of the biggest criticisms was the loss of community. When fundraiser participants walked side-by-side in a walk-a-thon, dug their hands in the dirt of a volunteer garden initiative, or visited your nonprofit’s headquarters for a tour, they experienced the movement and momentum of your mission firsthand and bonded with peers who had similar interests. This is challenging to replicate through a computer screen, but not impossible.

Let’s think back to the Facebook groups we discussed in the Challenge section of this guide. Facebook groups have a plethora of applications for nonprofit community building. For example, consider creating Facebook groups for:

  • Fundraiser and event participants
  • Volunteers
  • Advocates
  • Donors

Once you’ve created your groups, the next step is to get supporters to join them. You can use paid Facebook Ads to spread the word, targeted to specific segments of your social audience. Or, you can include links on social media announcements, direct mailings, or even within your email newsletter.

So for example, let’s say you created a group for volunteers. Once supporters join that group, you can share an explainer about volunteer grants, a schedule of upcoming volunteer hours and opportunities, and first-look opportunities to sign up for events and other experiences.

The goal is to join supporters with similar interests together so they can bond over their shared interests and explore resources that align with them. The effect of this is increased momentum— rather than one person supporting your nonprofit as an island, they’re doing so with hundreds of new friends.