I had a great conversation with Susan Gordon, director of nonprofit services for Causes, last week. If you aren’t familiar, Causes has built free, customizable fundraising pages that integrate with Facebook, Twitter, and other channels (and the Causes.com site of course). Causes recently overhauled its integration with Facebook, making it much easier for small nonprofits to use Facebook for fundraising right on your own Facebook Page. And it looks much better too.
(I still firmly believe that fundraising should not be your primary goal for using Facebook and social media. But that said, I do believe that Facebook Causes is a great way to raise lots of small-dollar donations for a specific project.)
Let’s look at some of the recent changes to the Causes tab (It’s not really a “tab” anymore on your Page, but a link in the left-hand sidebar.)
First, the overall design is much cleaner and more direct. You can now include image galleries and nice big donate buttons.
Here’s what your tab can look like for a specific project (it looks a little different if you are fundraising for the organization overall):
Here are a few other changes:
- You can now set up a customized thank-you note that will go out automatically to your supporters.
- You can download first and last name of the donor, along with their physical address (if they didn’t opt-out) and which project they donated to.
- While you can’t download their email address, you can email through the Causes backend directly to donors. This is an actual email, not a message on Facebook. You can segment these emails by project or when the donation was made.
- You can also track who is promoting your cause for you.
- You can rename the tab from “Causes” to “Donate” or anything else you want.
Of course, just creating the tab isn’t enough. You have to promote it, and this is where small nonprofits can often outpace the big ones.
“Time and time again, we’re seeing small nonprofits have big wins on Causes,” says Susan. ”We firmly believe that social media is a level playing field for nonprofits where having the best-funded marketing department isn’t nearly as important as storytelling and investing in community.”
Because smaller nonprofits are often much closer to the on-the-street action, Susan believes they are uniquely positioned to tell a compelling story about the impact of their work and to build meaningful relationships with supporters through social media. She says the Prem Rawat Foundation (with 5,395 Facebook fans) and the Love Without Boundaries Foundation (with 4,322 Facebook fans) have become two of the top fundraising nonprofits on the Causes platform. While their Facebook fan numbers look relatively small, Susan says Prem Rawat has amassed 463,737 Causes members and Love Without Boundaries has built up 39,679 Causes members. Even though they’re small, they’ve grown their communities through Causes by telling fantastic stories of impact, which has encouraged their supporters to recruit their friends.
Susan says these new changes will help small nonprofits give their small-dollar donors a “big donor experience.” All together, these new tools make it easy and time-efficient for small nonprofits to run effective online fundraising campaigns.
Coming Soon . . .
Stay tuned for future posts on (1) how to get your fans to use the Birthday Wish feature in Causes to raise money for you and (2) how to raise money through social media even when you don’t have “cute” or “heart strings” projects. Susan will also join us for a free webinar on June 21st on how small nonprofits can use Causes (registration opening soon — mark your calendar now!).