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Can Facebook still drive donations?

When I discuss social media with clients there is one complaint I always hear – our Facebook reach has gone down. If you are having that problem, you are not alone; nonprofit and for-profit Facebook pages are struggling to get the reach they used to have, but Facebook has changed the game. Getting reach is much hard than it was years ago.

But just because increasing your reach has become more difficult does not mean you should give up on Facebook; it is still a huge donation driver. In an average peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, 15-18% of donations are referred directly from Facebook and Facebook refers 29.4% of traffic to donation pages on #GivingTuesday.

The Facebook algorithms

The Facebook algorithm is something every marketer in the world wants to get their hands on, but it is beyond elusive. No one knows exactly how Facebook ranks posts. This sounds overly secretive, but there is a reason for it – once the algorithm is revealed, people take advantage of it. Brands give up on good marketing and just lace their posts with the keywords/information Facebook wants to see. Facebook, for all the negative press they get, doesn’t support that.

Facebook wants their users to see quality, relevant content and not be bombarded with advertising jargon and senseless posts from brands.

Increasing organic reach

Elusive as the algorithm may be, every so often Facebook drops us a few hints on how to get more reach. Here are a couple of ways you can organically get your posts seen by more people:

  • Talk about what is trending – A good rule of content marketing is to talk about relevant topics and Facebook rewards pages that do this with better reach. To see what is currently trending, check out the sidebar on the right side of your personal Facebook page. To plan ahead, check the calendar. Holidays, sporting events and entertainment topics all tend to trend on Facebook.
  • Tag other pages – When you tag another page in your post, not only do your followers (have the chance to) see it, but also the followers of the page you tagged. Use this wisely. Only tag pages that make sense in the post – like if you are giving credit to the source of an article or a shout-out to a partner. Don’t just tag Beyoncé or Justin Bieber because they have a lot of followers.

Social media isn’t free

Yes, it is free to sign up for a social media account, but it takes time and money to keep your page updated – and to advertise. Now, you don’t have to advertise on Facebook to succeed, but it helps and isn’t that expensive.

You have several options of how to advertise; you can “boost” your post to reach more of the people who already follow you or you can “promote” your post to users who do not yet follow you. As for targeting an audience, there are hundreds of targeting combinations. You can choose from location, work, interests, age, gender, etc.

While Facebook has made it more challenging to reach donors, it is worth rising up to the challenge and staying on Facebook. Your donors are there, and in general, Facebook’s algorithms force us to create better, more relevant posts.

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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