Facebook Fundraising Challenges

Facebook Challenge fundraising is taking the peer-to-peer fundraising world by storm. Here we look at whether Facebook Challenges might be the right fit for your organisation (they’re not for everyone). Read on and discover how to set your organisation up for success in the world of Facebook fundraising.

Facebook Challenge Fundraiser - example of Facebook Ad with Fundraising participant tying their shoelace

Facebook Giving Tools have been around for a while now, launching in the US, UK and Europe in the early stages and 2018 saw the rollout to Australia and New Zealand.  Whilst some markets saw amazing results in the early stages of launch, the general consensus in Australia and New Zealand was one of underwhelm based on overall results – they just didn’t take off.

Not only was user adoption low, the incentives for charities to focus on Facebook fundraisers were also low due – we’ll go into the reasons why later and outline how some of these disincentives have changed.

This slow start for Facebook Fundraisers is about to change.

What Is a Facebook Challenge Fundraiser?

In short, Facebook Challenges represent an easy, fast way for charities to get started with building their fundraising income from Facebook. 

A challenge is easy to create because it’s usually a simply physical challenge, for example walking 10km a day in May, or doing 100 squats a day for a month. Check out these examples of the types of challenges we’re seeing:

The common theme spanning the above examples is just how simple they are, there hasn’t been a major investment in a new peer-to-peer fundraising campaign approach, there certainly hasn’t been a huge investment in creative (some charities do a low-fi photoshoot showing fundraisers participating in their branded t-shirts/hats) and the ideas are easily replicated.

When you’ve come up with the idea for your challenge you need to do the following:

  1. Fill in the gaps that Facebook has with donor management – Facebook doesn’t give charities access to fundraiser or donor detail by default, this has put many a charity off using Facebook fundraisers. To help fill this gap you’ll need an external tool, Give Panel is one such example – these tools enable you to connect with your fundraisers, build relationships, thank them for their efforts and most importantly drive more fundraising outcomes at scale!
  2. Create a Facebook Group – this is a key part of driving sign-ups and participation in your challenge. All of your new participants should be funnelled through your Facebook group (more on this later).
  3. Create a hook – this is your Challenge name and description combined with information on the IMPACT fundraisers can have by raising money. It’s worth remembering that the Facebook Challenge approach is about the challenge and NOT your cause, your messaging and focus should follow this doctrine. The ideal look is very specific and clear, for example run 3km a day in May.
  4. Get some photos/videos to use as part of your Facebook Challenge ads – you’ll need ads – and to post in your group and use in potential follow-up emails.
  5. Resource it well – your Facebook Group will need proactive management for the duration of your campaign (and even for a short time afterwards).  You should allow 2-4 hours per day for this!
  6. Plan to engage – you’ll need to make sure your communicating to your fundraisers throughout the campaign – plan for both group and email communication and where possible pick up the phone and talk to people!
  7. Reporting – make sure you’ve got the right reporting in place.  You’ll need to understand your key performance indicators to ensure a good outcome.  For example what’s your allowable cost per lead, what percentage of fundraisers recruited can you expect to activate and what’s your resulting cost per active fundraiser and so on..

Examples of Facebook Challenge Fundraiser Results

Bone Cancer Research raised more than GBP500k from 3,000 active fundraisers as part of a Challenge they ran in 2021. Find out more about this example in the video below:

Here’s a quick summary from GivePanel on results achieved from Facebook Challenges:

  • The average Facebook Challenge on GivePanel raises over $350k (£250k / €290k)
  • More than 84 Facebook Challenges have raised over $100,000
  • 64% all Facebook Challenges have raised over $100,000
  • The top 20 Facebook Challenges have raised an average of $1.16m (£819k / €951k)
  • The top 10 Facebook Challenges have raised an average of $1.56m (£1.1m / €1.28m)
  • The top Challenge raised $2.87m!

It’s worth noting that these results are based mainly on UK & US charity results – although we can’t see any reason why similar results couldn’t be achieved in other countries!

Pros and Cons of Facebook Fundraisers

Facebook fundraisers have several limitations which have limited their appeal to many non-profits. First the not-so-good bits:

  1. Lack of data – the charity doesn’t by default get visibility of the Fundraiser or Donor contact details.  This makes it difficult to measure and evaluate success and most importantly you can’t reach out to offer your dedicated fundraisers support or to thank them for their effort. Thankfully solutions like Give Panel have stepped in to fill the gap.
  2. Facebook users only – you’ve probably figured by now that only Facebook users can set up and contribute to Facebook fundraisers.  Although, despite recent stalls in growth, Facebook is still a hugely popular platform connecting a massive number of potential supporters.
  3. Lack of control over who fundraises – unlike peer-to-peer platforms where you can easily summarise and view all fundraising activity on the platform (and reach out if people are potentially misrepresenting your charity or the work you do) the lack of management tools in Facebook makes this an unnecessarily time consuming tasks.  Again, this is where third party software tools come in.

Now the good bits:

  1. Reduced friction – when people donate via a Facebook fundraiser we’re keeping them within the Facebook ecosystem, we’re not asking them to click out of Facebook and view a website that may or may not work well on their device.  All they see is a simple pop-up form within Facebook that confirms their donation amount and payment details – and viola, they’re done!
  2. No fees – Facebook dropped transaction processing and admin fees for fundraisers for accredited non-profit organisations back in 2017. Prior to this there used to be a 5% admin and processing fee (similar to what you see on many peer 2 peer platforms).
  3. Fundraising API – allows you to connect to Facebook using your platform of choice to exchange data with your external fundraising pages. More info here.
  4. Formula for success – Facebook Challenges are a formula proven by lots of different non-profit organisations to achieve successful outcomes using Facebook Fundraisers.  There’s nothing more that fundraisers crave than a guaranteed outcome (think of all those fixed CPA deals from other channels).  Whilst Facebook Challenges are far from a guaranteed success, recent results data suggests your chances of getting a successful fundraiser off the ground are strong if you plan and execute well!

Are Facebook Challenges the right fit for your cause?

Facebook Challenges aren’t for everybody, it’s worth asking yourself some of the questions below before deciding whether to press ahead with Facebook Challenges.  It doesn’t matter if some of the answers below are “no” – you just need to make sure you’re planning in advance so that you maximise your chances of success:

  1. Are your potential participants personally affected by your cause?

    We’ve seen NGOs find it much harder to generate results from Facebook Challenges, this follows conventional peer2peer fundraising wisdom whereby causes who have participants who are personally affected by the issue at hand are much more motivated to get on and fundraise.  Our advice for countering this if you’re an NGO would be to have a programme of clear, structured communications when people sign-up to your fundraiser – make it fun and use it as an opportunity to emphasise the very real impact they can have on the lives of others by getting started with fundraising.
  2. Do you have a strong brand?

    Those organisations with a known, trusted brand will tend to see accelerated results. That said we’ve seen up and coming charities with relatively unheard of brands drive some really strong results.
  3. Do you have a community fundraising team and experience within your charity? 

    This is really important, you don’t actually need a dedicated community fundraising team as such, however, you definitely need to plan resourcing to manage your Facebook Fundraising Group and respond.  You can expect this to take between 2-4 hours per day when the campaign is live.

    In some cases it can also help to have somebody who’s ready to pick up the phone and say a big thank you to registered fundraisers and give them a few words of encouragement to raise even more. 
  4. Are you prepared to work at it to get the results?

    As you’ve probably gathered from the above, Facebook Challenges are definitely not a passive revenue stream. You still need to plan carefully and execute well in order to fully deliver on the potential.  Partnering with Digital Ninjas can help take away some of the strain, especially when it comes to fundraiser acquisition and general campaign strategy/planning. 

Want more information on Facebook Challenge Fundraisers?

The Ninjas are ready and waiting to help you with your Facebook fundraiser questions, get in touch today.

    Jon Dawson, CEO of Digital Ninjas
    Jonathan will get back to you soon

    Is there an Always On Approach to Facebook Fundraisers?

    There certainly is.   

    Facebook Fundraisers don’t need to take the shape of “just” a Facebook Challenge – although they’re working so well, why wouldn’t you give it a go?!

    Some of the “always-on” approaches we’ve seen work well using Facebook Fundraisers include:

    1. Birthday fundraising – this concept was first put to market by Charity Water many years ago using a traditional peer 2 peer fundraising website model.  Facebook fundraisers make asking people to do good on your birthday really easy – the trick is to ask your supporters in the right way and at the right time.
    2. In memory fundraisers – this form of fundraising is starting to grow in popularity on Facebook.  It can be a really nice way for your supporters to honour a close friend, family member or somebody else that is close to their heart. 
    3. Ad hoc events – whilst people running ad-hoc community fundraising events may still want to set up a landing page using a fundraising platform they could drive even more donations by doing both Facebook fundraising and a landing page.  Funraisin’ is one platform that offers a nice hybrid approach to cover these two options. 

    How Do I Get Started?

    A good way to get started is to run a Facebook Challenge as a pilot introduction to the world of Facebook fundraising.  If you’d like to talk about options please get in touch with a Ninja using the form below.

    Tell me more about Facebook Challenges

    I’d like to find out a bit more about Facebook Challenges and whether or not they might be a good fit for my organisation.

      Jon Dawson, CEO of Digital Ninjas
      Jonathan will get back to you soon