Facebook is not a good fundraising tool

Why Social Media is a Bad Fundraising Tool

A lot of nonprofits mistakenly believe social media will be a great way for them to fundraise and increase donor contributions. While that’s a nice goal to have, unfortunately, the statistics do not support this.

Here is some great data provided by Philanthropy.com: 

  • “Only 2 percent of nonprofits in the United States raised $10,000 to $25,000 through Facebook in a 12-month period, and 1 percent raised $25,000 to $100,000, according to a report released last year by Blackbaud, a fundraising-software company.
  • Roughly 1 percent of all online fundraising can be attributed to social media, including Facebook, according to Blackbaud’s research.”

Woah. Just one percent?!

Why is this the case?

According to John Haydon, who wrote Facebook Marketing Dummies, “Very rarely would you pull out your credit card when you’re on Facebook. People are going there to connect with friends or relieve boredom or avoid work. It’s not about making donations.”

Should nonprofits abandon social media? 

No. Not at all. While running a “please donate” ad on Facebook won’t likely yield a healthy return on investment, social media can still be to aid in fundraising efforts, just in a more indirect manor. The key lies in getting your social media fans to recommend your organization for you, because peer-to-peer recommendations work best. Thus, instead of running a Facebook ad for donations, encourage your Facebook fans to share with their social media friends when they’ve donated to your cause.

Also, social media—Facebook in particular—is a great way to drive traffic to your website. One study cited by philanthropy.com found that 28 percent of the traffic a nonprofit’s webpage receives originated from Facebook.

How nonprofits should use social media:

Nonprofits should use social media to connect with their supporters and to promote content (usually in the form of blog posts) that will drive traffic to their website. Research has shown people will donate to a charity if they feel a personal connection to the organization and if they feel a charity is credible. Repeat exposure and delivering consistently helpful information can help boost credibility; social media is great at providing both. The best part? It’s free!

What about you? Have you had any success with fundraising on social media?


Skylark Media Consultants provides social media for nonprofits and other businesses in Las Vegas and across the United States. Please contact us for a free consultation.

Reannon Muth is the founder and owner of Skylark Media Consultants. Prior to starting her own consulting firm, Reannon worked as a freelance travel writer and the  Director of Content Development for a leading internet marketing company. She currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.