How to Use Causes for Your Year-End Fundraising Appeal

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 09/03/2010 - 10:30am

Susan Gordon, Causes

Planning for the year-end giving season is in full swing throughout the nonprofit sector. In 2009, giving in December alone brought in about 1/3 of the fundraising dollars to nonprofits. And in 2010, online giving is expected to bring in more donations than ever, after having seen a 46% increase in online revenue between 2008 and 2009.

At Causes, the application on Facebook, we’re releasing huge improvements to our fundraising and communications tools just in time for the year-end giving season. Nonprofits have already raised over $26 million using Causes -- and to start the giving season off, we recently announced that your causes will soon be able to publish to members' News Feeds (like a Fan Page can now).  Once you’ve built a vibrant online community, the end of the year is the perfect time to make a fundraising appeal.

Fundraising Projects

Facebook users are more motivated to donate to specific projects rather than general fundraising appeals. Causes has just updated their Fundraising Projects feature so nonprofits can effectively do project-based fundraising campaigns through Facebook. 

Using this tool, the National Wildlife Federation has raised over $100,000 for their oil spill work in the Gulf Coast. The Humane Society of the United States raised $20,000 in 6 days, all through their cause, to fund a team of journalists documenting the seal slaughter in Canada. And Camfed raised $4,500 to build a roof on a school in Malawi, then turned around and funded another $3,386 project to give shoes to schoolgirls in Zimbabwe

The new Fundraising Projects have a Google Maps integration, the ability to set price points for your donors ($10 plants 10 trees, for example), and an easy browsing page for new people to find your nonprofit's projects.

 

To create a Fundraising Project on Causes, go to http://nonprofits.causes.com/campaigns/new

There are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your fundraising campaign using the Causes Fundraising Project is successful:

1. Feature your Fundraising Project on every cause that benefits your nonprofit - not just the ones you created.  You can affiliate with any cause created for you, which adds your nonprofit as an administrator of the cause, allows you to send that cause bulletins, and feature your Fundraising Project on that cause. Click "Send Affiliate Request" here: http://nonprofits.causes.com/causes/independent and add your Facebook profile here:http://nonprofits.causes.com/account/facebook_accounts and you'll be all set to make the most of the network of causes that benefit your nonprofit.

 

2. Don’t be scared to drive home the message.  Create a messaging schedule that involves sending a kick-off bulletin, updates, and a wrap-up message.  Motivate supporters through descriptions of your work and the impact they can have by donating.  And don’t forget to send your Causes Fundraising Project to Fans, Twitter followers, house lists, etc.  Here are some sample bulletins: http://exchange.causes.com/resources/features/bulletins/

3. For more information and help creating a strategy that makes your project successful, read How to Run a Successful Fundraising Campaign on Causes.

Birthday Wish: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Causes' Birthday Wish feature is the single most effective nonprofit fundraising tool on Facebook. Causes users have raised over $6 million for nonprofits through the tool in the past year. 

Birthday Wish is a feature-packed fundraising tool for your supporters to raise money for your nonprofit on their birthdays. Supporters choose your cause for their Birthday Wish, then use many peer-to-peer outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and email to ask their friends to donate instead of giving them gifts.

The old design was already bringing in an average of $100 per active Birthday Wish -- and the new design adds more features like reminders, the ability to create Birthday Cards, and easier ways for your friends to promote your Birthday Wish for you.

 

Go to http://birthdays.causes.com to get started or click on the Birthday Wish link on any cause that benefits your nonprofit. You can use that link in email blasts, on your website, and in e-newsletters to ask your supporters to start fundraising for you on their birthdays. 

Everyone who is already in your causes will also get an email 1 month and 2 weeks before their birthday, asking them to create a Birthday Wish. 

More tools for nonprofits to promote Birthday Wishes are on their way but there's no need to wait to start using it. Feel free to email us at partner@causes.com if you have questions or go to the Causes Resource Center at http://exchange.causes.com.

Best of luck for your end-of-year fundraising!