Are Facebook Fundraisers right for my organization?

Three different hands hold a smartphone with the Facebook logo on the screen

Since Facebook launched their fundraising feature for nonprofits in Canada late last year, I’ve been fielding a lot of questions from clients asking if Facebook Fundraisers are right for their cause.

I know, many of us are afraid of missing the boat when it comes to new fundraising opportunities.

Often, we’re under pressure from our boards and EDs/CEOs to try the latest and greatest, especially if these tactics are high profile (even five years later, any mention of the Ice Bucket Challenge still sends chills down my spine…)

As you ramp up your fundraising for 2019, how do Facebook Fundraisers – or any new tactic you might be considering – fit in with your overall fundraising plan?

This isn’t a question I can answer for you – however, here are some helpful questions to ask yourself any time you’re deciding whether to add a new tactic to your fundraising toolbox.

1. What are your fundraising priorities for 2019 – and beyond?

When I work with organizations to develop big picture fundraising strategy, I often recommend they focus on only 2 to 3 priorities in any given year. This doesn’t mean you stop what’s already working for you – but it does mean, if you’re serious about making progress towards a big goal, like growing your individual major gift program, that you focus your available resources on that goal.

If you aren’t already working with a documented fundraising strategy and plan (even a simple one) this is a great place to focus your resources before you begin layering in new tactics.

2. How does this tactic serve your overall fundraising strategy?

Facebook fundraising is just a tactic – and of course, the right tactics are an important part of achieving your fundraising goals.

But too often, fundraising programs are a collection of tactics that aren’t necessarily clearly connected to your overall fundraising priorities and desired outcomes.

Get clear on how your tactics serve your strategy – and as an added bonus, this can be a great way to make some decisions about what to stop doing, as well as what to start doing.

3. What’s the opportunity cost?

Everything you do in fundraising has an opportunity cost. Even if you’re just testing a new tactic, there’s something else you aren’t doing with that time instead.

Time is your most precious resource as a busy fundraiser – be conscious about how you spend it, and make sure all your investments (including time) are aligned with your priorities.

Let me be clear – none of this is to say don’t test, and don’t try new things! As an entrepreneurial fundraiser, I love innovation and new ideas.

Just be sure to ask yourself the right questions before you jump on board a new fundraising opportunity.

Emma Lewzey, CFRE is an award-winning fundraiser who has been helping great causes like yours build and grow successful fundraising programs since 1995. She’s the President-Elect of the world’s largest Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Chapter in Toronto, and the National Chair of AFP’s Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy. Contact Emma to book your free discovery session, and find out how you can work together to strategically focus your precious resources on the fundraising initiatives that truly work.

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