Online Fundraising Academy: Building a Donor Community on Facebook

ListbuilderIn the sixth session of the Online Fundraising Academy, Alison McQuade, the Digital Press Secretary for EMILY’s List, shared tips and recommendations for growing and engaging your network on Facebook.

Session recording link. 

Session notes:

Emily’s List – A political organization committed to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office

Edgerank – Facebook’s algorithm that decides what you see in your feed

  • Affinity – how much people like the post. Counts people’s interactions (commenting, liking, sharing, clicking on link)
  • Weight – posts that require more user engagement has more weight (i.e. sharing has more weight than a like)
  • Time decay – how old the post is. Most posts have a shelf life of one day

Different types of posts – use different posts to reach different goals

  • Link post – Post a compelling story for your audience
    • Have intro text (not just the link)
    • Timely post
  • The mobile phone post – take a picture on the ground with your mobile phone
    • Exciting, unfiltered picture, readers feel like they’re participating, doesn’t look advertised
    • Timely post – as it’s happening
    • Call to action – specifically ask them to do something “like picture and tell us in the comments what would you do”
    • Got lots of interactions because asked for it. Encourage them to interact so they feel like they’re a part of it
  • Go-to post – post what your audience loves.
    • Exciting picture and great quote that audience
    • Find out what your audience finds compelling to get them excited
    • Call to action to build email list (asked people to write thank you card for Hilary Clinton while getting people to sign up for emails)
  • List-builder post – have a call to action that gets people to join email list
    • Had people sign birthday card to Emily List’s president and subscribe to emails
    • Language corresponds with message and then transitions to why they should join your community and subscribe to emails
    • Simple graphic, creates emotion (happy/angry)
    • Easy lift – take advantage of milestones, holiday, birthdays, etc. as an opportunity to build list
  • The theme post –a series of posts with a theme carried out for a certain amount of time
    • A post every day in February for Black History Month – posts planned and created ahead of time
    • Taking a break from call to action to remind people of something they already like
    • Used evergreen content – templates that can be reused/repurposed for other posts
  • The milestone post – pick any milestone
    • Use as an opportunity to thank community for their support, make them feel like they’re part of a movement, part of a winning team
    • Asked to like and share to keep momentum going
    • You see this one coming, so you can get ready
  • Text post
    • For Emily’s List – it does well when it comes from individuals but not as well from organizations, so don’t use text posts a lot
    • Works well for big announcements, for breaking news or a big event
    • Follow up with a graphic post, video, link, whatever makes sense for your post
    • Keep it short
  • Hidden talking points post – Hide message in a fun graphic
    • Telling your story in a simple, accessible and exciting way
    • Make it impressive – combine statistic and fun graphic
  • Nerve-striker post– get people fired up
    • Really simple graphics
    • Call to action
  • The thing my boss said post– turn powerful quote into graphic
    • People interact with graphics more than text
    • Call to action – take a sentiment you know they already feel and have them express that in a like
  • The really good timing post
    • Key timing – posted shortly after quote said so people feel like they’re in the middle of the conversation
    • Simple, reused template with no call to action

Key points to take away

  • People love pictures and simple graphics with powerful quotes
  • Use evergreen content – templates you can reuse
  • Don’t hesitate to include a call to action, but don’t have to do it for every post
  • Timing is key
  • Post things your audience will love and get excited about
  • Find out what works for YOUR audience. Not everything Emily’s List does will necessarily work for you

Timing of post – Posts do better when posted weekday mornings, noon, late evening. Don’t do as well late afternoon or early evening. On weekends, time doesn’t matter as much.

Not everything will be successful.  You need to find things that work for your community over trial and error and use flops as a learning opportunity (remember listen, test, learn, repeat from last week?). Pay attention to trends and what’s working.

Facebook Insights

  • Check insights at least once a month to see likes and shares, can use as a tool to see what time works best and learn about the community you’re talking to.
  • Target audience based on geography/demographics (change language and time of posts accordingly)
  • Figure out your baseline to measure and set goals
  • Go into org’s page, button on top right – admin tools. Click admin tools, can click insights. Can see graphs of demographics and interactions. Use tools to test out different techniques

Facebook advertising – help build likes. Ads on the side easy to target demographically, Good if you can target narrowly

Look at what others are doing. Learn from peers.

What the admin sees on Facebook page (borrowing American University Hawaii Club’s page for these examples).

Hawaii club

After clicking “See Insights,” this is what you see. Click on the tabs for more information.

Hawaii club 2

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