All About Facebook Groups for Fundraising

Group Hug
09.13.2011By

Facebook groups made a comeback this year. Not to be confused with what used to be known as a Facebook group, the new and improved Facebook group allow you to do more with less. Do you only want to share information with a small group of people? You can create a group. Or, want to keep a larger group informed and up-to-date? Facebook groups can serve your purpose. With groups, you can add and remove members, hold group chats, share documents and more.

Facebook Groups for Fundraising

A National Use Case Study

A Facebook group can be used to help manage your fundraising community–or a specific segment of your fundraising community. For example, if you already have or want to create an ambassador’s group or a fan club related to your cause, a Facebook group can help you manage ongoing communications.

A great example of this applied is the UN for UNHCR’s Blue Key Campaign, which has both an awareness and fundraising element. To help with the campaign, UNHCR created a Facebook group where they invited “Blue Key Champions” to join. Invitations were sent out in a snowball effect–meaning people were gradually added as champions over time. As a champion, members agreed to help promote the campaign and get involved. This included helping to brainstorm additional marketing and fundraising ideas. The group was so successful that the group now plays an ongoing role in the campaign. You can read a case study of the campaign and its use of Facebook groups on Beth Kanter’s blog.

Building Momentum While Fundraising in Secret

Another great use of Facebook groups is when you’re running smaller efforts. Perhaps you’re fundraising to help someone with their medical bills or you’re fundraising to develop and sustain an annual gift to a local education initiative and you don’t want a certain person(s) to find out about the effort. Facebook groups offer a great way to keep interested participants involved without losing track of communications via email.

This was true in the case of a local effort benefiting multiple sclerosis research in Bentonville, Arkansas. (Note: I was involved in the effort and funds donated are going to a nonprofit my family and I are forming to benefit MS research. Another story for another time.) In sum, we planned a triathlon for my mom, who set a personal goal of finishing a custom-made sprint-triathlon course despite having MS. As part of the surprise, we wanted to fundraise for MS research to further show her how her strength inspires others. How do you fundraise in secret? With some magic, amazing volunteers and the help of Facebook groups. Read on to further understand how Facebook groups work and if it’s a good fit for you.

HOW-TO Create a Facebook Group (in 100 Words)

Creating a group can be done in less than five minutes. First, you’ll need to choose which type of Facebook group you need (see below). Then, all you need to do is choose a photo that will be used as the thumbnail image for your group. You’ll also choose a Facebook icon to signify your group. From there, you’ll choose a group name, decide on your group email address and add in a group description. All of these details outside of the email address can always be changed at a later date. When done, start inviting members to your group!

Types of Facebook Groups

Admins have their choice between three different group settings: secret, closed and open.

  • –Secret: Only members can see the group and what members post.
  • –Closed: Everyone can see the group. Only members see posts.
  • –Open (public): Everyone can see the group and what members posts.

Features of Facebook Groups

  • –Post updates, questions, photos, and more
  • –Hold group chats
  • –Create shared docs
  • –Schedule group events
  • –Connect off Facebook using your own group email
  • –Poll group members
  • –Receive email notifications

13 Need-to-Know Details

  1. Anyone can create a group!
  2. Groups can have multiple admins.
  3. The most useful groups tend to be the ones you create with small groups of people you know for a specific purpose (such as fundraising or advocating for a specific cause).
  4. For all group types, group members themselves can invite new members to join the group. As an admin, you can set whether or not you want this membership to be moderated.
  5. You can search groups to find past discussions. Only admins can search the member list.
  6. Once your group email address has been set, it can’t be changed again and only group members can send to it successfully.
  7. If you send an invite to someone to join the group and they leave the group, you will not be able to send them a second invite.
  8. If you are in the same group with a non-friend, they will not see any more of your profile than your privacy settings allow.
  9. All group members will be invited to any event you create within the group.
  10. To chat with members of a group, go to the group and select “Chat with Group” on the upper right side of the page. BUT, group chat is not available to groups with over 250 members.
  11. Group docs can be viewed and edited by all group members.
  12. You currently can’t adjust your settings so people can NOT invite you to a group.
  13. To delete a group, remove all members from the group–including yourself. Facebook will take care of the rest.

3 Tips on Facebook Groups + Fundraising

  1. Grow the group. Encourage group members to invite or recommend others that should join the group. One way to quickly grow the group is to find a partner and share that “For every person that joins this group, $1 will be donated to help [X PEOPLE or GROUP] fight cancer [OR FILL IN THE BLANK WITH THE CAUSE AT HAND].”
  2. Make a specific ask over a specific time period. People are more apt to participate when the expectations are clearly defined. Let people know that your fundraising push will occur on one day by asking people, How much can we as a group fundraise on [X DATE or TIME PERIOD]? You could also conduct a 24-hour marathon effort. This means you ask people to update their Facebook status over the course of 24-hours to encourage their network to donate as well. This status update may read along the lines of, “Please Help [NAME] with [short description of the effort]” with a link to the fundraising page. You can create a shared group document with sample status updates that group members could use.
  3. Help members understand Facebook group functionality. Though the new Facebook group launched last year, it’s still new to many people. You may need to help members understand how to control the amount of email notifications they receive or to understand that they too can post to the group. The more you empower your members, the more they’ll be able to help you and your cause.

More Resources

Have you used a Facebook group to aide in your fundraising? Share your experience–and lessons learned–below!