6 Takeaways from GivePanel's Facebook Fundraising Benchmarks Report
We’re going to review the Facebook Fundraising Benchmarks Report 2020 by GivePanel. But before we do, let’s talk about an elephant that’s maybe sitting in the corner of your room, eating birthday cake and smearing white icing all over your carpet.
We know there’s a good chance you’re afraid to invest too much in Facebook fundraising because “it might change something,” and then you’ll look like an idiot in front of your boss.
Yes, that could absolutely happen.
This could also happen—your boss asks his or her peers about their organizations’ success in Facebook fundraising. They answer. Then, you look like an idiot.
Or this could happen—you invest in Facebook fundraising as an expansion of your current social fundraising (previously known as “peer-to-peer”) portfolio. You prepare everyone for the possibility that you’ll encounter some eventualities over which you have no control. You explain that they will look like idiots if they don’t support you in taking on this work. Then you go gangbusters after what is hands down the fastest-growing segment of social fundraising.
Feeling better? Did you take a deep breath? Okay, now we can talk about Facebook fundraising.
Let’s clarify what “Facebook fundraising” refers to. It’s probably exactly what you think it is: when someone on Facebook starts a fundraiser to support your nonprofit. But there’s some fine print here. If you are an executive, one thing is crucial to understand—having a fundraising platform that already integrates with Facebook fundraising is NOT making the most of Facebook fundraising opportunity.
This is because the whole point about what makes Facebook fundraising so great is that the audience is already there. Making them leave Facebook to sign up on a separate stand-alone platform defeats the whole point. It means that only a small percentage actually end-up creating a Facebook fundraiser and you lose out on all that social networking power. The real power of Facebook fundraising is getting ALL of your fundraisers to create Facebook fundraising pages because that is where they are already connected with their friends and family (who are their donors). Keeping people on Facebook also lowers acquisition costs from Facebook Ads which is the main way nonprofits are acquiring new fundraisers. Before GivePanel’s tools came along, it wasn’t possible to run events entirely on Facebook and get the fundraiser data. But GivePanel has now made this possible.
In the benchmark study, GivePanel identifies trends that will be (A) terrifying if you’re determined to keep your investment nil or low in Facebook fundraising, or (B) uplifting if you’re already solidly in the game.
This report takes an in-depth look at Facebook fundraisers from 157 GivePanel charities across the UK, Ireland, and the USA.
Throughout 2019 and 2020, these charities have been supported by over 850,000 fundraisers, receiving nearly 4.5 million donations and raising over $100 million (U.S. dollars) for charitable causes.
What are the big takeaways from the study? Here’s what we highlighted in as being exceptional:
- Non-birthday/event fundraisers, so-called “Facebook challenges” more than doubled between 2019 and 2020, up from 13% to 33%.
- Facebook challenges (these virtual event “challenges”) now account for 55% of funds raised, compared with 45% raised by birthday fundraisers.
- The average value of birthday fundraisers grew by 21% between 2019 and 2020, from $81 to $98. Compare that to the average value of non-birthday/event fundraisers, which rose by 120%, from $110 to $244 in 2020.
- A nonprofit’s planned engagement with an individual doing Facebook fundraising on their behalf increased their fundraising amount by 23% on average.
- The number of “likes” your organization has doesn’t matter as much as you might think. The highest average amount raised per fundraiser was among charities with 20,000 to 50,000 followers.
- Nonprofits have greater success capturing contact information for non-birthday/event fundraisers than birthday fundraisers, though a considerable amount comes from each.
The study digs into the above stats, as well as others. So, if the first word that pops into your head when you hear “Facebook fundraiser” is “birthday,” you need to catch up—and like right now, today. We hate to be alarmist, but the Instagram donation button is also showing great promise, which is synced through Facebook. Surely other platforms will follow, like TikTok. This benchmark study is a great place to begin; it’ll be well worth your time and attention.
Katrina VanHuss is the CEO of Turnkey, a U.S.-based strategy and execution firm for nonprofit fundraising campaigns. Katrina has been instilling passion in volunteer fundraisers since 1989 when she founded the company. Turnkey’s clients include most of the top thirty U.S. peer-to-peer campaigns — Susan G. Komen, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the ALS Association, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, as well as some international organizations, like UNICEF.
Otis Fulton is a psychologist who joined Turnkey in 2013 as its consumer behavior expert. He works with clients to apply psychological principles to fundraising. He is a much-sought-after copywriter for nonprofit messaging. He has written campaigns for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, The March of Dimes, the USO and dozens of other organizations.
Now as a married couple, Katrina and Otis almost never stop talking about fundraising, volunteerism, and human decision-making – much to the chagrin of most dinner companions.
Katrina and Otis present regularly at clients’ national conferences, as well as at BBCon, NonProfit Pro P2P, Peer to Peer Forum, and others. They write a weekly column for NonProfit PRO and are the co-authors of the 2017 book, "Dollar Dash: The Behavioral Economics of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising." They live in Richmond, Virginia, USA.