So you've already got your shirt designed, a worthy cause to raise money for, and are ready to launch your fundraiser. Yet there is one question that probably remains on your mind: "How am I going to get people to donate and buy my shirt?"
There are a few elements that go into a successful fundraising campaign. Arguably the most is important element is how you are going to promote your fundraiser to people who will donate to your cause by buying a shirt. While there are numerous ways to go about promoting your fundraiser both offline and online - the focus of blog post is going to be promoting your fund on Facebook by using (mostly) free tactics.
With 1.35 billion monthly active users, Facebook is far and away the most popular social network in the world. For promoting your fundraiser, you would be hard-pressed to find another promotion channel that will give you better bang-for-your-buck that Facebook will. Sure it is wise to post your fundraiser page to Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and the like - but chances are you'll find the majority of your success promoting your fundraiser on Facebook.
Before we get started, it should be noted that shirt design plays an important part in your fundraiser's success. Aesthetically-pleasing shirts simply sell more than their not-so-attractive counterparts. So with that being said, make sure your shirt design is something that people would actually want to buy. If you're not sure where to begin, follow these 10 shirt design tips and you'll be well on your way to a good-lookin' shirt.
With all that out of the way, let's roll up our sleeves and jump right in!
1. Create a Facebook Page
If you don't already have a Facebook page for your cause now is the time make one! Facebook pages allow you take advantage of many features not available to personal profiles or groups.
Let's go ahead and setup a Facebook page:
- Go here https://www.facebook.com/bookmarks/pages and click the + Create a Page button.
- On the next step, select Cause or Community and name your page. The best page names are short and descriptive.
- Continue the setup process by adding a profile picture and adding the page to your favorites. Feel free to skip the last step ("Reach More People") as we'll cover boosted posts later
- Next, upload a cover photo and begin uploading photos that represent your cause. Canva is a great tool to help create a stylish cover photo.
- Once your page is looking snazzy, use the invite feature to invite all of your friends to like your page.
- Take it a step further and message your close friends and family and ask them to invite their friends to their page.
2. Involve your supporters from the start
This tactic will only work for pages with a decent-sized audience, however it is very effective in generating awareness about your upcoming fundraiser. The idea is to get your supporters to have a say in the design/color of your shirt. Involving them at the pre-launch stage not only helps you decide on the design on the shirt, but also gauges how well the design will sell prior to even launching.
Here are some ideas you can use to involve your supporters:
- Post a picture of potential shirt colors and ask your fans to vote on their favorite.
- Post a status update asking your fans to contribute ideas for graphics of your shirt.
- Post pre-launch status updates to build excitement. For example, "We just finalized the upcoming fundraiser shirt design. Shirts go on sale next monday!"
- Let them know they can help by sharing your fundraiser with their friends.
3. Share the link on your Facebook page
Here comes the fun part - it's time to start selling! Now that you've gotten your page excited about your upcoming shirt, it's time to let them know where they can buy it. We recommend posting your fundraising page link to your Facebook page during a time when majority of your fans are online. You can see this statistic on the Insights tab of your page, under the Posts sub tab.
Here's how to share your link like a pro:
- Paste the URL to your fundraiser page inside a status update box and the link preview should automatically appear. Alternatively, you can click any of the share buttons on your fund page to share an optimized link.
- Create a status that includes details about your t-shirt fundraiser. You can use this template as a starting point: "Grab your limited edition [fund/shirt name] shirts! All shirt proceeds and additional donations benefit [your cause]. Last day to buy is [end date]!"
- After posting, pin the link to the top by clicking on the top right of your post and selecting Pin to Top.
4. Utilize on other popular pages
By engaging with other popular Facebook pages and groups, you can spread awareness to even more potential supporters. This one takes some creativity but can really pay off if you can get in front of the right audience.
Use the search function on Facebook to find other groups and pages similar to yours. Facebook's search allows you to phrase your searches in meaningful ways. For example, a great search to start with is "Pages liked by people who like [your page name]". Here's a great resource with loads of tips on how to use Facebook's search feature.
Once you've selected your target pages, you can try either (or both) of these simple outreach tactics:
- Message admins of popular pages and ask them to share your fundraiser. This can be done by clicking the Message button (note: not all Facebook pages allow messages). Be polite and respectful when asking, and offer to crosspromote their page/cause.
- Post your fundraiser link to other pages and groups Facebook timelines. Make sure your status text focuses on why their audience would benefit to ensure you are not being spammy. As with messaging, some Facebook pages do not allow you to post directly to their timeline.
5. Create an event
Creating an event works best when done through your personal account (i.e. not as a Facebook page), making it a great alternative for smaller/more time sensitive causes who don't necessarily need a full-blown Facebook page. You can also create an event as a Facebook page, however you're unable to invite friends (for free).
What's great about Facebook events is that when friends say they are going to an event, their friends will see the activity (aka your fundraiser) on their news feed. This is a fantastic way to passively expand the awareness of your fundraiser via the network effect.
Follow these simple steps to setup your event:
- Visit https://www.facebook.com/events and click the + Create Event button.
- Enter your event name and a short summary about your fundraiser. For the Location, copy and past your fundraising page URL.
- Use your fundraiser's ending date as the actual event date. You can either leave the Add a time? field blank, or you can put a time in the evening such as 8pm.
- If you are setting up your event as a Facebook page (not personal account), you can select the fundraiser category (using the dropdown: Category > Causes > Fundraiser) to attract more views to your event.
- Make sure you make the event Public to ensure anyone who is interested in your cause can see your event.
- Once your event is setup, add a picture (again, Canva is perfect for this) that represents your cause.
- Finally, post a status update (to your event page) with a link to your fundraiser page. After posting, click the top right of the post to select Pin to Top.
- You can now use the Invite button to start inviting your friends to attend the virtual event.
6. Tag close friends/family in comments
With Facebook's ever changing news feed algorithms, it's hard to say if all of your friends will see your fundraiser. To be sure that your friends and family don't miss out on buying a shirt, you can tag them in the comments of your status update. They will receive an alert once you do - making it very easy to make them aware of the fundraiser without you having individually messaging each person.
- Look at your friends list and make a list of close friends/family that you think would like a shirt.
- Next, tag these close friends in a comment on your pinned post.
- They'll get a Facebook notification that you tagged them and will see your fundraiser page link. This works well for friends that don't check Facebook as often or have very busy news feeds.
7. Updates throughout your fundraiser
A very effective promotion strategy is to post updates throughout the "life" of your fundraiser. This allows you to maximize your promotion without posting the same thing over and over again.
This is an example messaging schedule you can use for your fundraiser:
- Pre-launch: "What color shirt should we use?"
- Post-launch: "Shirts are now for sale!"
- First day sales recap: "Our first day of sales was great - let's keep the momentum going!"
- Halfway to our goal: "We're halfway to our sales goal!"
- Tipped our goal: "We reached our sales goal! Everyone's shirt will be printed!"
- 2 days left: "Only 2 days left to buy!"
- 1 day left: "All orders must be placed by midnight tonight!"
- Last call: "Last call to buy shirts! Don"t miss out!"
- Re-launch: "Our shirts are back by popular demand!"
8. Boost your post (aka paid Facebook ads)
Facebook ads are an excellent platform to even further increase awareness (and sales) for your t-shirt fundraiser. While many fundraiser organizers can really benefit from using Facebook's paid ads, they don't work for everyone. Going through all the intricacies of Facebook ads is outside the scope of this blog post, so we've focused on quick actionable tips that will help you generate the most awareness for your fundraiser on a limited budget.
Here's how to setup your boosted post:
- Click on the blue Boost Post button on the bottom right of your pinned fundraiser post. That should open a popup with some different targeting options that you can use to specifically target your boosted post.
- You'll notice a bunch of different options you can use to target. For most Facebook pages, we recommend keeping the targeting simple. On the other hand, if you have a large Facebook page (100k+ likes) you may benefit from using more advanced targeting methods. More on these advanced methods in a upcoming blog post.
- For most pages, they will benefit most from only targeting People who like your page. While targeting People who like your page and their friends will increase your exposure, the friends of your fans might not be as interested in your fundraiser as your actual fans.
- Determining the right budget will be unique to everyone. We recommend starting small ($10-$20) and seeing the results. If you see lots of engagement, likes and shares on your ad feel free to up the budget to something you feel comfortable spending.
- Duration can be set for just 1 day (great for testing) or up to 7 days. Which one you select is up to you, just keep in mind that your total budget is divided amongst the days. For example, if you have a $10 total budget with a duration of 5 days, you will only spend $2 a day.
After you've boosted your post, we recommend doing these few additional steps to achieve even better performance:
- Go to Facebook's Ads Manager https://www.facebook.com/ads/manage and select your campaign. When inside your campaign, select your active ad set. Now click the blue gear shaped icon on the upper left side of the screen. From here you're able to adjust many aspects of your boosted post.
- Click the Edit link next to the "Targeting & Placement" title - and behold, a plethora of confusing options!
- Let's first focus on age. When targeting age, we recommend targeting an age range that is willing and able to buy. For example, your 13 year old niece or your 92 year old grandmother might not be able or willing to buy online. Therefore, you would not want to target your boosted post to them (sorry grandma!). Once you've made your age selections be sure to click Save.
- Finally, make sure you're maximizing your boosted post's reach. Click the Edit link next to the "Budget, Schedule & Optimization", then click the blue Show Advanced Options link. Make sure you are bidding for Post Engagement, then select the first pricing option: Get the most engagements for your post at the best price - You'll be charged for impressions. Don't forget to click Save!
Follow the tips and tricks outlined in this post you will be well on your way to joining our growing list of fundraising success stories. If you have any questions about how to effective promote your fundraiser on Facebook (or anywhere else) feel free to drop up a line - we"d love to help.
Good luck and happy fundraising!