When Social Networking Worlds Collide– The Facebook-Extended Personal Fundraising Page

Mark Davis - 04.10.2009

Everyone knows of or has seen the almighty “personal fundraising page” – you’ve either been asked to donate to or participate in an event like the Arthritis Foundation’s Joints in Motion or the Alzheimer’s Association’s Memory Walk via an email that takes you to a friend’s or family member’s “personal fundraising page” or their “team page”… Am I right?


Since 2001 with the introduction of Blackbaud’s Friends Asking Friends®, this type of peer-to-peer fundraising has exploded online and allowed organizations like those mentioned above to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Peer-to-peer fundraising continues to grow and make an impact, but as with any technology, things must evolve. The concept of a personal page, as we like to say around here, was “Web 2.0 before there was Web 2.0”, allowing people to build online networks around a fundraising event. Since 2007, the Internet has seen an explosion of other online social networks, with arguably the most successful being Facebook.


Facebook has practically become a household name (humor me if you don’t agree) so having the ability to effectively fundraise within Facebook provides a powerful new way to connect. While its demographics may trend toward the younger generation, most nonprofits have a strong desire to find ways to attract these future donors - even with Obama-styled micro-gifts which are a perfect giving opportunity for event fundraising with average gifts in the range of $50.00.


Blackbaud has partnered with a company called Charity Dynamics who built a Facebook application that integrates with Friends Asking Friends called boundlessFUNDRAISING™.  This application allows an event participant to log into his or her event headquarters (as shown left) and click a button labeled “Fundraise with Facebook”. The application then directs the user to Facebook where he or she can download the application for their profile page.


The resulting ‘widget’ or ‘badge’ (as shown left) allows people to display their fundraising goal, total amount raised and a link back to their event personal fundraising page which increases their outreach efforts by extending their fundraising activities into their social networks.


For you “metrics geeks” out there, here’s a quick assessment of the potential for this new “Facebook-Extended Personal Fundraising Page”. Participants using tools like Friends Asking Friends typically send emails to 22 people from their address book with about 25% of those people converted into supporters. There is not enough data yet to determine conversion rates for Facebook page visitors becoming supporters or the percent of adoption of FAF participants activating their widget. However, the average number of friends is 120 for each Facebook users with a total of 175 million uses. That means that the average Facebook user has nearly six times the number of potential targets as a “traditional” FAF user uploading his or her email address book. So there is HUGE potential!


Think of the ways in which you could harness the power of Facebook. Consider the extended networks you could reach. Imagine how something like this could spread through the online community known as Facebook! Think of the impact


What are your thoughts? Is it worth a try? How could it help your organization? What are other ways your organization has used Facebook? Please comment and share!

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