How to Use Social Media for Fundraising: 3 Tips for Schools
Whether your school is looking to generate revenue to upgrade its classroom technology, finance class trips, or provide sports and music equipment to students, there are many essential reasons to fundraise throughout the year. A lot goes into providing an enriching experience for students during their time at your school. The more successful your fundraisers are, the greater the impact you’ll make on their lives.
This is where social media comes in. The rise of mobile devices has led to increased connection and engagement, with 81% of schools indicating that parent engagement with their students’ education has risen due to social media usage. By tapping into these platforms’ fundraising potential, you can encourage more contributions from across your community.
In this guide, we’ll walk through three essential tips for leveraging social media for fundraising:
- Choose your social media platform.
- Share the impact gifts will have.
- Encourage students to participate.
Chances are, many of your students, parents, teachers, and school administrators have a web of personal connections on one social platform or another. With the right social media strategy, your school can level up its fundraisers and build a community of support online.
1. Choose your social media platform.
Your school has several options when it comes to developing a social media presence and kicking off your fundraiser. There are many ways to assess social media platforms. For example, if you’re looking to reach the widest audience possible, you might look to Facebook, which has nearly 2.96 billion monthly active users. Of course, the platform you choose to focus on ultimately depends on your school’s needs and community.
Donorly’s fundraising strategy guide recommends having specific goals to direct your efforts. With this in mind, identify social media platforms that are aligned with your fundraising objectives and target audience. Some platforms allow you to conduct your entire fundraiser on their site, while others are useful primarily for promotion and marketing.
To guide your decision-making, we’ll discuss some popular social media platforms and how your school can use them for fundraising.
Almost anyone can start a fundraiser on Facebook, including PTO members, parents, and other fundraising volunteers. On this platform, you can set up a specific fundraiser and provide relevant details about your campaign, such as your fundraising goal and deadlines.
With features such as Facebook Live and Facebook Messenger, your school can effectively engage parents, community members, and other prospective donors on social media. Posting updates with eye-catching images and videos can go a long way toward attracting more attention and support for your fundraiser.
Instagram’s emphasis on visual content makes it an ideal choice for schools aiming to promote their fundraiser using attention-grabbing graphics and authentic videos. By featuring the students who will benefit from donors’ gifts, you’ll encourage more people to become emotionally invested in your goal.
For example, if you’re raising funds for music equipment, post clips of music students performing and describe how donations will enhance their educational experience.
Twitter is another platform that can be useful for spreading the word about your school fundraiser. By creating short, engaging tweets and harnessing the power of hashtags, your school can reach a wider net of individuals online who care about supporting your students and their education.
Encourage students, parents, and teachers to share your fundraiser on Twitter and post updates to keep your social media supporters invested in your fundraising progress.
2. Share the impact gifts will have.
Developing a social media presence allows you to create more opportunities for parents and community members to interact with your school beyond just its website. To maximize the results of your fundraising, highlight the impact that gifts will have on your students.
Consider sharing a specific student’s story on social media to inspire more support. Reach out to students and get permission from their parents to interview them as part of your school’s marketing. This can be especially effective if you’re fundraising for a particular program or extracurricular activity.
For instance, you might describe the story of Neil, a high school sophomore who has decided to pursue art school after joining your after-school art program. Then, you can share that, by donating to finance more advanced art supplies, supporters can inspire more students like Neil and set them up for success after graduating.
3. Encourage students to participate.
Your school likely has a few hundred students eager to assist with your fundraising efforts. Social media can facilitate the entire process of reaching out to friends and family and encouraging them to donate. One particularly effective way to accomplish this is by creating Challenges on Facebook.
Let’s say your school’s ultimate frisbee team is raising money to cover the transportation costs of attending a national competition. On Facebook, you can create a month-long Challenge that invites participants to spend five minutes each day tossing as many frisbees as they can into a basket within the given time. Each player can create their own Facebook fundraiser and raise funds from their personal networks as they complete the Challenge.
Additional tips for activating your students and boosting your school fundraising results include:
- Offering prizes to the students who raise the most money
- Encouraging students to share your fundraiser on social media
- Providing messaging and image suggestions for individual fundraisers
- Creating social media communities, such as Facebook Groups, to connect students and supporters
Work together with your students to provide a better school experience. Furthermore, involving your students in fundraising has the added benefit of building their interpersonal, leadership, and communication skills.
Bonus: Thank your social media supporters.
Many social media supporters who contribute toward your school’s fundraising efforts are driven to make a positive difference in the lives of your students. After your fundraiser is over, ensure they feel like a part of the impact by recognizing them on social media.
Properly thanking donors is key to retaining their support in the long run. GoodUnited notes that the most impactful thank-you messages are both personalized and informative, so ensure that each of your supporters on social media feels individually appreciated for their contributions. This is essential for building an extensive community of supporters who are eager to power your school’s growth for years to come.