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Allyson Kapin 5 min read

Can Nonprofits Raise Money on Social Media?

Does senior leadership at your organization ask “why can’t we raise money on social media? Look at the Obama campaign. They raised millions of dollars.

First of all, let’s get real. Comparing your nonprofit to a Presidential campaign is ridiculous. Your organization is not running for the President of the United States. You don't have access to every news outlet, generating millions of dollars worth of earned media, or the funds to spend millions of dollars on advertising and marketing. 

Second, the majority of nonprofits have not raised a dime on social media. According to the Nonprofit Social Networking Benchmark Report by Blackbaud, only 2% of nonprofits raised between $10K and $25K on Facebook in a 12 month time period. And just 1% raised between $25K and $100K. Take a look at the chart below.

For the organizations that are raising money on Facebook in particular – here’s a breakdown of how money is being raised:

  •   33% raised money via Individual Giving
  •   20% raised money via Event Fundraising
  •   17% raised money via Causes
  •   11% raised money via Personal Fundraising


Why are these statistics so dismal?

According to the reports survey participants:

59% of nonprofits say they have not developed a social media strategy.
Obviously this is problematic; Without a strategy, there is no ladder of engagement to cultivate donors.

63% of nonprofits say social media is not Executive Management's priority.
If social media is not a priority for leadership, then your organization certainly won’t raise money on social media.

72% of nonprofits have no dedicated social media staff.
If your nonprofit wants to raise money via social media, you will definitely need dedicated staff to develop a strategy and execute it, as well as test new ideas and iterate.

Nonprofits think social media is free
In addition to the Nonprofit Social Networking Benchmarking Report survey findings, I have also found that Executive Management thinks that social media is free.  Social media is definitely not free. It takes staff time, resources, and financial investment.

Nonprofits should do social media appends
There are reputable vendors like SmallAct that will match your email file to your social media followers so that you are able to connect with them. This will allow you to focus on deepening your relationships.

Lead acquisition is necessary
Tools like ActionSprout can be used to launch very simple petitions or pledges on Facebook and will capture your followers' email addresses. Facebook ads and promoted posts can be utilized to direct your social media followers to a special landing page on your website with a strong call to action or a call to donate. Using this strategy, you can capture your constituents' contact information.

By the way, Care2, who runs this blog, also has some great recruitment tools to reach advocates and donors.

To sum it up, most nonprofits aren’t raising any money on social media. But as you can see from the survey results, many nonprofits aren’t dedicating the necessary resources and strategies to raise money. I think that social media can be a great channel to build a community and a list of prospects if your organization is strategic. But most importantly, nonprofits need to view social media as one of multiple channels that they can use to plan and roll out campaigns that have fundraising components. A multi-channel approach is still what brings in the most donations today.



Allyson Kapin

Allyson has been named one of "Top Tech Titans" by the Washingtonian, one of the Most Influential Women In Tech by Fast Company, and one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes for her leadership role in technology and social media. As Founding Partner of Rad Campaign, she leads the firm's client and online strategic services. For over a decade Allyson has helped non-profit organizations and political campaigns create dynamic and award-winning websites and online marketing and recruitment campaigns. She works side-by-side with her clients to meet their web needs and maximize their online effectiveness to create real world impact.