Facebook Ads for nonprofits – Do they work?
Here’s my stab at answering perhaps one of the most important fundraising questions of our day – Do Facebook Ads for nonprofits work?
As I swiped down trying to skip past yet another political postpocalypse on Facebook, the same ad from The Parable Group came across my feed for what is probably the millionth time. (Ok, I might be exaggerating by a couple hundred, but close). They were trying to get me to download their free “Church Staff Salary Guide.” In exchange they wanted my email and possibly other personal information. I had visited their website recently to find our more about their business.
In the weeks following my visit to their website, The Parable Group targeted me with so many sponsored posts on Facebook and Instagram that I almost just clicked on them just get it to stop. (You got better than a click Parable Group, I am writing a blog post and linking to your site!) They knew because of my visit to their site that I had some sort of interest in their company and gosh darn it they were going to make sure they tried to get my contact info. Now, whether offering me a free “Church Staff Salary Guide” was the right move or not… that can be debated and discussed (short answer is no, it wasn’t the right move). But one thing can’t be discussed: they completely capitalized on the opportunity I gave them by visiting their site.
All of this led me to realize something. It’s mid December and I have yet to see a nonprofit ad this giving season! And that’s extremely weird, because I am a fan of dozens of nonprofits in Grand Rapids and nationally… so Facebook definitely has me identified as “interested in charitable giving.” I also visit many nonprofit sites frequently, and since I love to see what people are doing marketing-wise, I rarely visit any site on privacy mode. So, if I have as big a target on my digital back as anyone, why haven’t I seen a single giving ad during the most important time of the year? (Year-end is when nonprofits raise more than 75% of their donations). Could it be that many people think that Facebook Ads for nonprofits don’t work and are a waste of money?
Is it possible that nonprofits are just not using Facebook Ads?
Yes it is. That’s the only logical explanation for me not to see more sponsored content on social media from local nonprofits. And in case you don’t know this fact, Grand Rapids is the most charitable city in Michigan. So that’s, well… how can I put it… COMPLETELY CRAZY!
And, here’s the thing – running Facebook Ads for nonprofits is not THAT hard to do.
Facebook’s pixel is a small line of code that tracks visitors to your site. It allows you to target those visitors on Facebook after they are long gone. Contrary to popular belief it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to install. It is just a copy-paste install for most websites. After that, all you need is a credit card, a little photoshop or video skills, some well-written copy and voila! You can show a simple ad to all those who visited your site this year. It’s your chance to invite them to a next step in their journey with your organization. What step is really up to you and your fundraising strategy. I would recommend not a direct ask, but instead guiding them to a page showcasing your latest accomplishments as an organization. From there you can explain your upcoming projects and goals and allow the prospective donor to chose what they want to support and how.
*in my best infomercial voiceover jock voice*
BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE!
Oh yeah, much more.
Facebook Ads for nonprofits – What else can they do?
Once you have built an audience (or audiences) on Facebook, you can let Facebook create a “look-alike” audience. Facebook takes people in your audience and finds people who are similar on their platform. Facebook knows A LOT about us (not getting into that here!). Whether you like it or not, it can use that information to analyze people who like your FB page and visit your website (your audience). Then, it can find others with similar interests who are likely to also be interested in what you do.
You might only have an audience of 5,000 people combining your Facebook and Instagram followers plus your website visitors. Not a problem. Facebook can take that audience and find thousands of people in your area who are likely to be interested in what you do. Even better – many of them may already know about you, but they just don’t follow you on social media or visit your site.
Once you have one or more lookalike audiences you can target your posts (which looks much less intrusive than ads). Use those posts to reach out to those folks and find out if they want to know more about what you do. (But don’t offer them a Church Salary Guide unless you are The Parable Group).
What everyone wants to know – How much does it cost?
All of this might seem extremely expensive, but it’s not! With good targeting, good copy, and good visuals, you may end up paying as little as 20 to 30 cents per click on your ads. You could spend $250 to get 1,000 people to click on your post and learn more about your work. Talk about ROI! If only 5 to 10 of those 1,000 people make a donation, you already made back your money. Most importantly, now you have 1,000 more people in your audience. These are people you can target the next time you host an event or drive of any kind.
Why are most nonprofits no taking advantage of today’s tools to grow their donor base and giving? I don’t know, but they should. There are thousands of people out there willing to support your cause who have never heard about you. It’s time to reach out to them. Give them a chance to be a part of the wonderful work you do.
If you are interested in how Better World Agency can help, contact us and let’s have a conversation.