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December 3, 2021
Hosting a Facebook Challenge Fundraiser in 3 Steps
By Nick Black

Nick Black
Nick Black

Nonprofit fundraising fundamentally changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the world of peer-to-peer fundraising, and as a result increased the appeal of Facebook challenges.

While many nonprofits have been able to host peer-to-peer fundraising (P2P) fully remotely, few have been able to replicate the in-person camaraderie and fundraising results associated with their in-person events. That’s where Facebook Challenges enter the picture.

Facebook challenges are a type of Facebook fundraiser in which participants complete a specific task while raising funds from their networks using the platform’s fundraising functionality. For the duration of the fundraiser, participants are added to a Facebook group through which they can experience community.

These fundraisers are easy to host and offer a chance to naturally promote engagement between participants. Here’s how your nonprofit can host a Facebook challenge.

1. Define the Parameters of Your Challenge

As with any other fundraiser, begin planning your Facebook challenge by setting a few parameters for the event itself. These include:

  • Dates: Consider the duration of your challenge and how it will fit into your overall calendar. Challenges can run simultaneously with other fundraising efforts, as they reach an entirely new audience than those your nonprofit generally engages. They often run for multiple weeks to a month.

  • Location: Will your challenge be fully remote, meaning participants can complete the task from their own location? Will you build in any in-person days, to complete the task as a group? Some large organizations even host regional challenges.

  • Challenge Task: This task can be physical in nature, educational, or even silly. Generally, challenges tied to self-improvement tend to be successful, such as walking X steps each day, completing X number of burpees, or reading X number of books. Check out this GoodUnited guide to virtual fundraising ideas to begin brainstorming.

Last but not least, set your fundraising goals for the event. This includes both how much you want to raise as a nonprofit overall, and individual goal amounts for each participant to aspire toward.

2. Create the Tech Infrastructure for the Fundraiser

Because challenges are a type of hybrid fundraiser, the next step is to create the tech infrastructure that supports the virtual aspect of the effort. This includes:

  • Creating a Facebook group for challenge participants. When you create this Facebook group, write a clear description of what the challenge entails— essentially the parameters from the last section. Remember to include some biographical information about your nonprofit as well, because challenges often bring in new supporters that you’ve never engaged with before. Lastly, create initial posts in the group explaining how participants can create their corresponding Facebook fundraisers, check-in with their challenge task progress, and engage with other participants. The community formed in this group is what will empower traditionally in-person P2P efforts to be successful virtually.

  • Setting up a Facebook ads campaign to spread the word. Use paid Facebook ads to direct prospective participants to convert by signing up for the challenge and joining the corresponding group. You’ll be able to target these ads to specific segments of your audience. Consider targeting known supporters of your nonprofit (such as those who have already started independent fundraisers on your behalf) as well as those more tangentially in your nonprofit’s orbit (such as people with similar interests as your known supporters).

From there, it’s your job to engage with the supporters who join the Facebook Challenge.

3. Engage with Challenge Participants

It’s crucial that the Facebook group fosters an engaged community for challenge participants. Within the group itself, consider the following engagement strategies:

  • Share discussion topics and encourage participants to respond in the comments.

  • Livestream members of your staff completing the challenge task each day, so participants can complete it in unison with your team.

  • Encourage participants to share an update on their progress each day.

  • Share updates on the progress of the fundraiser overall, including how much has been raised and how much more needs to be raised to reach your goal.

You can also use your thank-you notes to open the door for future engagement. First, post a thank-you on each fundraiser that your participants create. In this note, invite the participant to connect with your nonprofit in Facebook Messenger. Then, you can share gratitude, encouragement, and resources during the challenge and beyond. This is an innovative method to not only increase challenge success, but also raise your relationships with participants long after the fundraiser has ended.

Following these steps will help you create innovative fundraisers that allow you to replicate the camaraderie of P2P events in the virtual sphere.

Nick Black, founder and CEO of GoodUnited, which helps nonprofits create one-to-one relationships with their donors through the combination of data science and human judgement delivered in conversational messaging platforms.

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