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MayeCreate Design experts Monica Pitts (Owner, Chief Creative Officer) and Elizabeth Alexander (Social Media expert, copywriter) throw down the gauntlet and dare a live Facebook audience to try and stump them with their deepest, darkest Facebook questions!*  *As it pertains to Year-End Giving...or just normal business stuff...not like dancing parrots or weird viral makeup videos...Monica and Elizabeth know nothing about that!

View the Episode Goodie Bag >>
Hosted By
Monica Maye Pitts
Monica Maye Pitts Chief Creative Officer
Elizabeth Alexander
Elizabeth Alexander Copywriter and Social Media Coordinator

Year-End Giving Social Media Q & A with Monica and Elizabeth

MayeCreate Design experts Monica Pitts (Owner, Chief Creative Officer) and Elizabeth Alexander (Social Media expert, copywriter) throw down the gauntlet and dare a live Facebook audience to try and stump them with their deepest, darkest Facebook questions!* 

*As it pertains to Year-End Giving…or just normal business stuff…not like dancing parrots or weird viral makeup videos…Monica and Elizabeth know nothing about that!

Podcast Summary Notes:

Q: How often should we post for year-end giving on social media?

A: That is largely going to depend on how often you post…

Because you don’t want to do a sudden increase in how much you’re posting and overwhelm your audience. So you know, now to kind of do a save the date, and then on Giving Tuesday, kick off the campaign and be posting, you know, a couple times a week throughout the campaign, but don’t overly increase the amount you’re already posting.

We’re using this time to ramp up for CoMoGives. Normally throughout the year, we post a couple times a week. When we get into the year-end giving season, we’re starting that ramp up in September, October. So Elizabeth gently ramps up the number of posts that she does every single week until we get to December and then for CoMoGives, for example, we’re just going to post like wildfire.

Q: How can we use social media to kick off our year and giving season and like build a buzz around it?

A: First, social media isn’t necessarily the cornerstone of the promotion for your year-end giving campaign.

A lot of nonprofits might not have a super active social media following, while others have a great following so you’re going to use what you have to build your year-end giving campaign. If you don’t have a huge social media following, you’re still okay; you don’t need to have the most amazing social media following to have a great year-end giving campaign. The role that social media plays in a year-end giving campaign is is like a buzz builder. It’s continuous soft touches telling people, “hey, we’re doing this thing”. That being said, here are the types of posts we recommend to build that buzz.

First off, you’re going to want to make something that we kind of refer to as a teaser or behind the scenes.

So as you’re preparing for your campaign, post things like “we just secured all of our sponsors and want to give them a shout-out”, or “we just had an organization meeting and we’ve got some fun photos to share with people” just to build some momentum for your campaign, get people excited, and kind of let them see behind the curtain. This is to give them a sense of what’s going on and see a little bit of all the work that you’re doing to make the campaign a success.

I love these because they are super fun and you can get super creative with them. We just made one a month or two back when we did our first gathering for CoMoGives. We took a picture from the back of the room of everybody studiously taking notes. That’s a teaser post and making those right now is fun and it’s just part of your everyday routine.

For the second type of post, go make a save the date post for the very first day of your campaign.

You want to get that date out now. You can do a post with a little bit of teaser and say “hey, we’re getting ready, campaign kicks off on XYZ date” or create a little countdown graphic if you’re a Canva user. Get get the excitement going. If you have a campaign hashtag included in that, let people know, “hey, this is coming up, put it on your calendars.” Think of it like a wedding RSVP, like you want to let people know well ahead of time that you’re gonna be asking them for something later.

Side note: For those countdown graphics, I have looked and looked into how you can animate them – like down to a specific time in your Facebook posts – and I have yet to find one. You have to sign up for a service, or it’s an app that you install in your Facebook group. You can make a static one with a picture that just says you know, “10 days until the event”; it’s not like counting down and ticking in real time, but we know those do exist. If you know how to make those work in a Facebook post, please share that with us!

The third type of post and this is something you can do now and then kind of sprinkle it throughout your campaign is your big “Why”? 

Why are you doing this campaign? Who are you raising the money for? How are you helping your community, let people know what their donations are going towards, and let them be the hero of that. So instead of “we’re raising money”, it’s “your donations help us in this way.”

Q: What are some things that we could do to build momentum right now so we know what types of posts we might make?

A: If you have a smaller event going on, maybe include a little bit of reminder, like, “hey, if you enjoyed this, get ready for our next thing”.

Again, getting into that teaser or save the day kind of language. We talked about maintaining your normal posting cadence. So if you’re on Monday, Wednesday, Friday poster, keep that up. Maybe as we get a little closer, sprinkle in a Tuesday post specifically about your campaign to get that momentum building. There’s things like if you have kind of a kickoff event for your campaign, or even if it’s a fully-online event, you can create a Facebook event. That way people can RSVP in a way and say “yeah, I’m going to do this” and then Facebook will help you remind them which is always nice.

Something with creating an event is you’ll want to be very specific about what kind of event you create. Because if you have a brick-and-mortar building but you’re having an online event, make sure people know it’s an online event so you don’t get people showing up at your building wondering where where things are happening.

Also, along with the teasers, one of the things that we do really well with CoMoGives is to go live building up to the campaign launch. And we do it as our launch activity. That’s how we’re building the awareness.

Q: What trend did you find when you went over all the data for your clients’ social media?

A: This has been a thing on Facebook for a while, but it seems to be ramping up again; video does better than any other type of content.

And that’s live video, pre recorded video, or – my favorite discovery – even like little 2 to 10 second clips of things. So if you want to share a GIF, but you’re not sure how to get it into that GIF format, even if you post it as a short video that loops you’re still gonna get really good engagement on that, which is fantastic and makes everyone’s lives a lot easier. Because I know, when people hear “Oh, we got to do video”, it sounds like it’s gonna have to be this big production, but it really doesn’t have to be, which is nice. You can even shoot it with your phone, it doesn’t have to be professionally-developed video.

Q: So what does “Engagement” mean?

A: Engagement is simply any time someone interacts with your post.

So it’s commenting, liking, sharing, or any way people engage with your post. So when I’m looking at social media, analytics and data, that’s really what I’m looking for, because it tells me how our audience is interacting with what we’re doing. Seeing how many people saw it is great, but I want to know how many people interacted with it and what our engagement rate is. How many people saw it? How many people did something with it? And then you get the results in percentage number, which is nice to see.

Facebook uses those engagements to determine if the content that you published is valuable to people. So it’s a valuation measure of how awesome your content is, how much people engage with it, click on it, look at it. So that’s, that’s one of the reasons that we look at that metric so much. If you’re more familiar with email marketing, think of it like your click through rate as who has seen the thing, and then done something with it.

Q: Any advice on how to quickly explain peer to peer on Facebook short video graphic?

A: I would say, if you have the ability to do just a short explainer video, one, you’re going to get that great engagement. And two, I think people might hear and understand it better than reading it.

I like to explain it as a campaign that you administer on our behalf. Fundraisers are often like peer to peer. So if you have a trivia night and you invite people to buy tables, then you’re having a peer to peer because they are buying the table and they’re inviting their friends. And the reason that those peer to peers are so successful in those events is because they’re so very well organized, and it’s very clear what they’re supposed to do. So if you’re going to have good results with your peer to peer is we need to try to kind of emulate that same experience and make it as clear as possible what they’re supposed to do.

I find that the best way to approach people about peer to peers isn’t necessarily putting out a broadcast about it, but having a personal conversation about it. And when we surveyed our peer to peer participants last year, every single one of them said that they were directly asked by a nonprofit to do the peer to peer campaign. So that becomes a much more personal conversation. My children’s school just emailed me and said, “Hey Monica, will you buy a table at the, the trivia fundraiser? And will you donate a craft?” So they were asking me for something that I already knew I would do. So there you go.

So maybe, in your post or teaser, if you’re going to broadcast it, try to like spark that thought for them. Like if you have a craft, if you’ve got a service, if you’ve got, you know, what a story to tell, then consider doing a peer to peer for us. It works like this; you enter your information into CoMoGives and share this idea with the universe and then you ask your friends and family to come buy it from you. But the money doesn’t go to you. It goes to the charity. Peer to peer is something someone is already going to do anyway. And just finding a way to help it help your organization.

Tone-wise, you want to be super thankful. Thank last year’s donors, thank people who’ve contributed throughout the year, because a lot of these people are going to be the same people you ask to donate during your year-end giving campaign. So make sure they know that you appreciate everything they’re doing to support your organization and just keep an overall very appreciative tone. You’re also gonna want to provide some some statistics or proof of, “Okay, last year, we raised $5,000. And this is what we did with that $5,000. And so now, this year, we’re asking for the money for this and just kind of keep it going.” So people know that you appreciate their gifts, and they’re actually being used to benefit the community.

Q: Are there any statistics on what type of posts create the most Facebook engagement in regards to donation to nonprofits?

A: The ones that do the best for us are actually the update posts.

We’re telling people, “here’s how much money we’ve raised, here’s where we’re at,” or like, just a fun kind of little “wow, we’ve already gotten 200 donations so far.” Those are the posts that actually get the most engagement for CoMoGives. The other types of posts that get the most engagement for CoMoGives are those Facebook Lives. But are those the posts that people are clicking on to make a donation? I don’t know.

So I feel like Elizabeth has put forth a really strong schedule for our year-end giving templates for social media. And she she sold me on it. She has a mix of both those types of posts where you’re giving people the updates, because they’re going to get the momentum. But then she also suggest that you make posts that are, well, they’re going to be more boring, because they’re just a general information about the campaign or about your organization. But they include your donation link, because we want the warm-n-fuzzy, the happy, the getting people excited. But I know sometimes I get lost in those and I get too excited about being excited so I forget to ask people for their money. It kind of defeats the whole purpose of the giving campaign. So plan to include some more general, “these are the facts, please donate” and include your link. It’s going to give you a good balance. People are going to be excited, but they’ll also know where they can go to contribute.

Definitely give them the updates, do your Facebook Lives and then you’re also going to have to put those boring posts that don’t have as good of engagement into your mix. So that way people get the information that they need to do the thing that you want them to do.

Q: Is there a social media “Skinny Pill?”

A: No. be out of a job if there was.

It’s like, the most simple yet complicated thing. I liken it to nursing a baby. It should be the most natural thing on earth. For years and years and years years, women have been nursing the baby, right? And you think this should be easy, especially if you’ve ever had a kid before, right? And then you have this baby and you’re trying to nurse it and you’re like, “this is the most complicated, natural, uncomplicated thing I’ve ever done.” And I feel like that is like social media. Social media is like nursing babies. It’s the hardest easiest thing to do.

Q: Is boosting posts or buying ads on Facebook worth it? What types of posts should you use that for?

A: If you’re going to pay for advertising on Facebook, start by looking at posts that are already working.

I would say if you are new to doing any sort of paid advertising on Facebook especially look at posts that you’re doing that are already doing well. They have a lot of likes, have a lot of comments, etc. I would say getting started even $5 to $10 for a week or two will get you some really good traction online. You’re not having to reinvent the wheel, you’re you’re promoting content you’ve already written. It’s already out there, you’re just getting it out to more people. I’d say that is a good stepping off point if you’ve never done this sort of thing before.

You can make those types of posts now and see how they do before you decide to boost them. You don’t have to boost a post that you just made today. You can do something that did well – it should probably be relatively recent.

For your year-end giving campaign, you are asking for donations from people who already know about you so you’re not necessarily soliciting donations in the same way as other paid advertisements. The Community Foundation sponsors the running of advertisements on social media for the CoMoGives campaign. We put those in place so that we can introduce the participating nonprofits to more people, so they’re not high converting. We don’t get a billion donations from them. That’s the goal with those. If your goal is to not meet new people necessarily but to raise funds for your year-end giving campaign then I would say that you may want to look at the audience that you’re boosting the post to and and limit it to people that have already liked your page or you know that you already know. Those will yield much higher likelihood of donations than people who you don’t know already.

And in that case, you could take a general post that you know isn’t going to do very well because it has all the instructions and then boost it out to your audience and make sure that they see it because you know they’re not going to see it otherwise.

To recap the answer to that question would be; Elizabeth says if you are trying to reach new people, take the posts that have done really well already boost those posts. Monica says, if you’re trying to get donations, then take the general posts that have all the donation information that you know aren’t going to do very well and boost them to your audience that already likes your page, because they’re the most likely people to donate.

Lastly if you have a small marketing budget for your year-end giving campaign, I would say Facebook advertising is probably the best bang for your buck. It does a good job.

Most of the campaigns we run for our pages we manage for $20 at a time for two week run. So nothing, nothing extreme. Gets it out in front of a lot of people – thousands. If you’re a budget-conscious organization, I would say go for it. If you have money you want to spend on advertising.

Recap

So first, there are three different types of posts that we feel like you should be making right now, to engage your audience and build momentum for your campaign:

  1. You’re going to have a teaser.
  2. You’re going to have your save the date.
  3. You’re going to have your “big why.” – Kind of a behind the scenes peek reminding people when it’s happening, and reminding people why it’s happening.

And those things can be happening on repeat until kickoff.

How often to post?

Start now. We’re at a really good point in the year to start talking about year-end giving. Start posting now, and slowly increase frequency as you get to the start of your campaign and even throughout your campaign. So maybe right now, usual amount of content. Once we get to beginning November, middle of November, start increasing by like maybe one or two a week. Depending on how often you currently post, keep this all the way up until maybe during your campaign – then you’re posting maybe four or five times a week. Because you have updates that you want to share with people, more behind the scenes information and benchmarks and all of that good stuff.

If you post a whole lot, you can keep posting a whole lot. And if you don’t post as much, then you don’t have to over overkill posts.

So the other things that we talked about are:

  • Focus on thankful messaging and proof right now to make sure donors know that they made a good investment with their money by making you stewards of their funds.
  • If you don’t have an amazing social media presence for year-end giving, you’re still going to be okay. That’s not where you would focus all your energy on anyway. We believe that social media is part of building the buzz of your campaign not necessarily going to be the huge driver of donations for your campaign unless you have just a completely amazing stellar social media audience.

Those are like, the long and the short of the things. Social media is definitely a part of year-end giving, it’s part of building the buzz. It’s part of keeping your followers informed about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. And so you definitely should be making posts if you have a social presence throughout the month of December. Absolutely. And if you’re having a hard time writing those or if you haven’t done it before, then you can join us for year-end giving training; we’ve created all the tools for you. All of them so you don’t have to worry about it. You’ll have everything from types of posts to examples with fill in the blanks to a whole schedule that you can use. It’ll be it’ll be super awesome.

EPISODE GOODIE BAG

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