Facebook, fundraising

Learning and Live Blogging. Case Study #1: Event Walk With Us to Cure Lupus

2 Comments 27 April 2009

I’m live blogging the 2009 NTC session Best of the Best: Integrated Fundraising Case Studies at the NTEN National Technology Conference, April 27, 2009. Jeff Patrick, President of Common Knowledge will be presenting.

image courtesy of Common Knowledge

image courtesy of Common Knowledge

Two things to remember:

1. If integrate across multiple channels, you raise more money.

2. This presentation goes beyond email and direct mail!

Common Knowlege has been around since 2002. Theme today is integrating social media with fundraising.


Case Study 1: Alliance for Lupus Research – Event Fundrasing (online and offline) and using web 2.0

A classic voluntary health organization focused on lupus. They think about fundraising via events. Examples: 5K walk events in 30 citieis, no registration fee, $100 fundraising goal (which is typical), and use Convio Fundraising technology.

Offline fundraising tools, letters, printed donation forms, printed registration forms, team building tips, phone and online customer support.

Chose Convio TeamRaiser tool. Typical event site with promotional tools: donor recognition, gift thermomenter, get teams together, etc.

BIG DIFFERENCE: decided to use Facebook Fundraising Tools: decided to integrate it because has typical lupus donor demographic profile. Intuition that their donors are on Facebook.

Used Facebook Innovatively: created a badge = point of presence on person’s profile.

Objectives: Offer participants and donors a home base within FB. Seamless integration with Convio. Link participants and donors within and across events. Leverage individual’s social map within Facebook. Raise more donation.

Common Knowledge tried to figure out how people could automatically get a badge when register through Convio for the event and automatically display on the FB profile. (COOL!)

Branding the event via the badge: personalized badge (e.g. language on badge “I’m doing it on behalf of my sister”, “my goal is $,” “I’ve raised $$,” contribute today button). displays on profile, brands event, fundraising focused, personalized giving results, personalized donation form link, tabbed navigation, progress meter.

Created a Fundraising dashboard and registrants’ dashboard within Facebook using a FB application. Called it “moving the event INTO Facebook.” (Really cool idea #2.) Can use it to communicate and drive donations. “Have to live in Facebook if want to succeed within it.”Dashboard shows names and photos of helping friends,total contributions, info about what’s new, etc. This is different than Facebook Causes.The big difference here is that the organization can own the information if it creates the dashboard vs. FB Causes which owns the application. FB has partnered with Network for Good and takes a chunk of change. If you have a large scale, then you can create your own FB app, use a different online payment processing and management system, which will take a lower % of fees.

Seamless integration of dashboard with Convio application.

Link participants and donors within and across events was an objective also. Some people bring lots of friends and others don’t, but it happens along natural offline social networks. Thus, this can happen online as well. Causes doesn’t understand the inherent org and participational heirarchy within Facebook online. Can capture these “TeamRaiser” ideas on Facebook. Example- friends in San Fran can help other friends in San Diego hook up with others in San Diego, for example.

Every person who registers using Convio software gets their own dashboard and badge.

REAL TAKEAWAY: Facebook is a place to tap into people and their networks.

So, tapped into that with a way for people to send messages to friends through Facebook.

Also, from FB dashboard, you could press “send message to friends not on Facebook” button and this will take you back to your Convio-based dashboard to send an email note to friends outside Facbook that is facilitated via Convio.

Also, created  a Wall exclusively created for event participants that mimics the wall we know called “Progress Report” (tell your friends how it’s going)


Convio’s software sent out a status update out every time a participant reached a certain fundriaisng goal or other preselected goal.

Thus, through Facebook, there are three buttons to: reach out to people within Facebook you know, those you know outside FB, and other event participants.

So one can send an update to friends through the Progress Report “Wall” or I can add a note to the unique Wall set up just for participants.

Note, Humane Society of US ran a campaign with FB and created a widget for FB and raised 60% more on Facebook than offline. Someone in audience offered this to the session.

Where does Facebook fit? Within word-of-mouth or “buzz” marketing!

FB Analytics: have a deep set of demographics for Facebook (gender, age, activities, networks, etc.) for fan pages. Offers automatic reports to page owners.

There is an activity feed also for the event – exposes participants to each other.

Menu bar for the dashboard with many different tabs such as “about ALR” and “Invite” and “Fundraisers” etc.

Best practices for Integrated Fundraising:

1. Offer multiple channels: donors will choose.

2. Maintain consistent brand and message across channels.

3. Integrate technology to smooth out transitions. (example integrate APIs etc)

4. Social media accents other channels; also drives fundraiasing directly.

What is the ROI of our communities is a common question? Now we can know – look at this event. Thinks nonprofits can bust that question wide open.

That’s it for this best practices case study.



Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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