publication date: Dec 4, 2012
author/source: Claire Kerr
If you feel Facebook has been a tough nut to crack
for fundraising, you're not alone! Many studies have pointed out that as a
single channel, social media has not been a top performer for donations.
Feeling discouraged? Don't be! There's one big
exception to these experiences - peer-to-peer (or "crowdsourced") campaigns.
In situations where organizations ask individual
supporters to raise money from friends and family for a cause they care about, the
data shows that social media does impact fundraising success.
We explored two case studies illustrating the impact
of Facebook on solicited donations in our Association
of Fundraising Professionals
Congress 2012 session "Beyond
the Buzz Words: Social & Mobile Fundraising
Here's a fuller examination of those examples from
our upcoming Social Fundraising
, soon to be published on Artez.com
We could see the rise of Facebook as an important
trend for charities and nonprofits simply by looking at traffic patterns across
our own software system. With over 20 million unique visitors a year clicking on
donation and fundraising pages belonging to hundreds of charities on our
platform, we have access to a lot of data.
After direct and search referral, Facebook is the
top referrer to our donation forms. Currently, 14% of traffic is coming from
Facebook. Seems unusual? Don't take our word for it! If you are diving into
your organization's own metrics, you are probably seeing similar patterns.
Charitable organizations typically face two big
questions when exploring the use of Facebook for social fundraising campaigns.
How does Facebook affect our donors?
How does Facebook affect people fundraising for our cause?
Our large-scale audit of the impact of Facebook on
charitable fundraising set out to answer these questions.
study #1: Impact of Facebook on solicited donations
We examined a sample group of 645,400 individual
donations in 135 peer-to-peer campaigns across North America in 2012. These
events included runs, walks, cycle-a-thons, climbs, hosted parties and
challenge campaigns. All events had over 100 registrants who were asked to
reach out to friends and family for donations.
In these campaigns, we discovered that 15-18% of the donations were directly
referred from Facebook. The insight is clear: Your organization's
supporters are already using Facebook to ask for donations, and donors are
responding to those requests.
The highest percentage of Facebook-referred
donations we saw in a campaign was 33%. Campaigns with an associated
registration fee, a "minimum to fundraise" requirement, or events that included
team fundraising all topped the list for high percentage of Facebook-referred
pledges. It seems that registrants who are highly motivated to bring in
donations are more likely to make solicitation requests through Facebook.
Wondering about Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and
other networks? In peer-to-peer campaigns, Facebook appears to be the social
network of choice. We found that 90% of all visitors referred by a social
networking platform came from Facebook. Approximately 5% came from Twitter, and
the remaining amount of traffic was divided between other social networks.
study #2: Impact of Facebook on participants
In this study, we wanted to learn how the "social
login" trend affects fundraising success in peer-to-peer campaigns.
Social login allows your supporters to use their
existing social media credentials to register, donate, purchase, comment or login
on a website.
For instance, websites like Pinterest.com
allow you to use your Facebook user name and password to sign in. The benefit
for users is considerable; you don't need to remember yet another user name and
For this data set, we looked at campaigns on our
platform that offered event registrants the ability to log in and log out of
their fundraising accounts with Facebook.
The data pool included 25 national events across
Canada and the United States. There were over 60,000 participants in total,
generating over $5.7 million in solicited donations. Each campaign had over 100
registrants who used Facebook to connect their accounts.
In these campaigns, an average of 16% of fundraisers
chose to use social login through Facebook to register and then later log back
into their accounts. The highest percentage of "Facebook fundraisers" we saw in
an event was 27%.
To understand more about these participants, we
compared the fundraising success of "Facebook fundraisers" to those who did not
connect with Facebook (choosing instead to use a user name and password to log
The group of participants who connected with
Facebook raised on average 40% more than those who used
traditional registration. That's a significant lift!
Do people who like social login happen to have
richer friends? Not at all. We found that "Facebook fundraisers" brought in 30% more individual pledges than the
Do social login tools make it easier for people to
fundraise for your cause, or are your most passionate participants also big
fans of social media? Either insight is useful when planning your next
To learn more about what we discovered from our
fundraising data, connect with us on Facebook
to be notified about our upcoming Social
Fundraising Whitepaper. Claire Kerr has worked for organizations in the economic
development, education, and fundraising sectors. As Director of Digital
Philanthropy at Artez Interactive, Claire works
with Canadian and international charities as they fundraise through web, social
and mobile channels.