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Using Facebook to enhance your fundraising efforts

Jeremy Kraut-Ordove, CFRE
Published:  03/03/2011

Originally published in the March 3, 2011 AHP Connect

"Our donors give us the ultimate compliment: they entrust us with their financial resources to carry out their philanthropic vision. They must trust us, and in some cases, Facebook is one tool we can use to engender that trust."

- Jeremy Kraut-Ordover, CFRE, Major Gift Officer Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation

It’s important to have a Facebook page for your organization that reflects a general update, not just fundraising pitches. People tire of those too quickly, so you should post informative, timely updates at least weekly. “Sharing” information on your own personal feed allows you as the development professional to reach your audience en masse, on your terms, but in the organization’s “voice." Here are a few ideas and tips for fundraisers using Facebook:

Setting Boundaries

First and foremost, you are a representative of your organization. To avoid “over sharing,” I highly suggest setting permissions for your donors. I do not suggest creating separate “professional” and “personal” Facebook pages—people catch on to that, and it reduces your integrity with donors. Remember, your donor is welcoming you into their life.

I allow my donors to see ONLY my posts, not those of any of my personal friends. Donors are not allowed to write on my “wall.” Donors can’t see photos that I’ve been “tagged” in either. However, I do let donors see my vacation photos....but then I’m an avid amateur photographer, and I edit anything overly personal out. If you are a frequent “status” updater, think about whether or not you want your donors to see your updates, and set your default permissions accordingly. There is a great article on setting Facebook permissions at ehow.com.

Sharing

Sharing news via your news feed is easy, and allows you to share updates about your organization with your friends and donors in one click. Your three-sentence introduction about why this is noteworthy in your mind will pique interest. It’s free. The ultimate balance is struck when your organizational updates are short and timely. I wouldn’t suggest more than two per month, unless there is something new and/or constantly changing.

Causes

If your organization doesn’t have an online giving portal, the Cause feature in Facebook, which is run through Network For Good, is a relatively quick way to fix that. At the holidays, I encourage people to make a gift to my hospital, but send them back to our giving page as a link rather than the Cause page—we have a higher net dollar yield that way. Encourage your donors to set birthday challenges for your organization—accept gifts through the Cause function for birthdays as opposed to gifts. Charities can find new donors this way.

Most of all, remember—Facebook is just one tool available to the modern fundraiser. Be smart and have fun—but most of all, be you—the person your donor knows in person. If you’re fun and bubbly in person, a serious Facebook presence will seem inauthentic. Our donors give us the ultimate compliment: they entrust us with their financial resources to carry out their philanthropic vision. They must trust us, and in some cases, Facebook is one tool to engender that trust. It’s also a fun way to give your friends and family that have no real understanding of fundraising a glimpse into what you do!

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Meet The Author

Jeremy Kraut-Ordove, CFRE
AHP Pacific Regional Communications Chair

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