Creating A Successful Facebook Fundraiser

Tim McDonald
6 min readNov 29, 2017

Yesterday was #GivingTuesday. It was my 4th straight year raising funds for No Kid Hungry with a single goal of ending childhood hunger in America. This was the first time we used Facebook to ask for donations. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve used Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and just about any other social media platform you can think of to ask for donations, but this was different. We didn’t have to redirect them to another site to donate. It was as simple as using the Facebook donation tools to set up a fundraiser, invite your friends and have them donate right on Facebook without having to leave the site. I set a personal goal of $1000 and ended up collecting $2050 for #NoKidHungry when the day was over. I wanted to share some thoughts and suggestions that made this fundraiser so successful.

Start Early

#GivingTuesday is one day, but the effort, planning and execution takes way more than that. I started about two weeks before by inviting some of my closest friends. I didn’t follow the Facebook suggestion that I needed to invite at least 1000 people to have the best chance of meeting my goal. I focused on those I felt would be most likely to donate. Why? Because once other’s see that you have donations, they are more likely to donate. Remember sitting in class at school and the teacher asked if there were any questions? You never wanted to be the first one to ask, but as soon as others asked, it was much more comforting to ask your question. If you were a student who always asked the first question, you need to understand how others may be thinking if you want to get your fundraiser started on a good note. Starting early also helps let others become aware of what you are doing. Some people may not check Facebook every day. That brings me to my next suggestion…

Post Often

The Facebook fundraising platform is basically a dedicated page that you create so even if you don’t post too often to your timeline, you will want to on your fundraising wall. This is because others may not see every post you make, so the more you do, the better the chances. What do you post?

Start with a personal story

Thank each person who has donated, shared your post, or commented.

Give suggestions on how people can help.

Have fun!

Thank YOU!

This may sound obvious, but saying, “Thank you” works. Saying, “Thank you” seven times works better! Thanks to Sree Sreenivasan for sharing that tip in his Advanced Social Media Group on Facebook. Above I showed an example of how I said thank you to a group of people, but I also made it a point to thank each person, and Facebook makes it easy in the fundraising tool by showing you who you haven’t thanked yet.

Go above and beyond to make it personal. I ended #GivingTuesday by jumping on FB Live and personally mentioning everyone by name and personally commenting something about them.

Share Progress

It may sound silly, but letting people know where you are let’s them feel like they are part of the effort. We are in it together, instead of what can I do if I only have $20? Each dollar counts and as you get 10% of your goal, 50% or you are only $270 away, it motivates others to want to help get you there. I did this leading up to #GivingTuesday saying how we wanted to reach the goal before Tuesday and then double it on #GivingTuesday.

Be Creative

Facebook was the platform we used, but it doesn’t mean we need to stay there, nor should we turn on back on the other options they give us. I used FB Live to provide an update in the afternoon on Tuesday. It was a great way to thank everyone but remind them that we had much more to do. Nicole D'Alonzo was running a #GivePlanks challenge for her 19MinuteYoga app to support #NoKidHungry, so I jumped on FB Live and did a plank while I started the video update. I also shared why today was so important. Citi had signed on to match all #GivingTuesday donations to #NoKidHungry up to $100,000 and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Facebook had teamed up to match FB donations to charities upto $50,000. I connected my new goal of $2000 to effectively being tripled which meant kids would be connected with 60,000 meals. That was the reason it was urgent to donate today.

The part about not solely staying on Facebook came when Mitch Jackson watched the video and then shared this tweet. You need to be where your supporters are, not just where you are raising funds.

Don’t Compare

There is no amount too big or too small that a nonprofit you care about won’t take. It’s easy to get discouraged if you start looking at what others are raising. I’ve been guilty of this for years until I stopped focusing on others and started being proud of what I accomplished. There were people that jumped in at the last minute on #GivingTuesday to start a FB Fundraiser for #NoKidHungry. It was amazing to see them get 2 or 3 donations that wouldn’t have come from anywhere else. That’s $50 or $500 more than it would’ve been without them. Give yourself a pat on the back for starting a fundraiser. That’s taking action and action is what affects change.

Power In Numbers

I’ve always been a big believer in the power of community. One reason why #NoKidHungry is set to break a single day record for fundraising this #GivingTuesday is because of the 158 individuals who created FB fundraisers. It’s also because those people reached out to all their connections asking them to participate in the fundraiser. I had friends from Denmark make donations. I saw people I went to high school with that I haven’t seen or spoke to in years, make a donation. I connected with people I have never met who donated. You never know who will donate but I can assure you no one will unless you ask. Ask as many people as you can and never get discouraged when those you expect to donate, don’t. Celebrate the ones who do and move on. Did I mention Jeff Bridges feels the same way about power in numbers?

Make It Fun

You may see a common theme with me. I use the fun more than I use the word work. Why? Are you more willing to help if I ask you to work or if I make it seem like it’s so fun you want to be part of it? I’ll never forget watching DaveO from HootSuite talk at SXSW about the Tom Sawyer Effect. I share this story often in my talks on community and it’s no different when it comes to fundraising. If you make fundraising look like fun, others will ask how they can get involved. They’ll start by supporting your efforts.

What suggestions do you have for a successful FB Fundraiser? Leave your thoughts below.
If you found this helpful, highlight the things that resonate with you and share them.
Want to talk with me about fundraising for your organization? Shoot me an email to: or call me at 312–970–0846.



Tim McDonald

Stage 4 colon cancer survivor — AmBADASSador for @FightCRC #ColorectalCancerAwarenessMonth — Former Dir of Community HuffPost