Facebook Ads for Non-profits: 11 tips to maximise fundraising success

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Joel Broadbent

Facebook Ads for non-profits

How much do you know about Facebook ads?

We all know that Meta changes things with Facebook at just about the rate where you can’t get comfortable. If you don't regularly run ads on Facebook, it's likely that things will have changed between when you last did, and when you next do.

Since Ezy Raise regularly runs Facebook ads for non-profits and their fundraising campaigns, we thought it was time to share some information to help other charities get started with their Facebook Ads.

Facebook audiences

When setting up a lookalike audience 1-3% lookalike is optimal

This snippet is one we’ve known for a while but it’s a really important one to keep in mind since the range to select when setting up an audience on Facebook Ads is anywhere between 1-10%.  

1% lookalike is a lookalike audience closest to the one you’re basing it on. 10% would be the furthest. Depending on the objective of your Facebook ad campaign, I suppose you could find a use for a 10% lookalike audience, though this would be considered quite broad. 

Example for non-profit use: If you’re using your donor database for a tax appeal fundraising campaign then choosing a lookalike percentage of 1-3% would give you an audience more similar to the attributes of your donor database. 

When setting up an audience, aim for 1,000,000 data fields

When you’re creating a Facebook Ad campaign and your campaign goal is conversion-based, you should be looking at 1,000,000 data fields for effective targeting. You can do this by going broad and targeting based upon location and age only, you should see well over a million in the audience size for this targeting. See below for another use example.

Example for non-profit use: If you’re setting up your tax appeal fundraising campaign consider importing your donor database then topping up the audience size with a lookalike audience. 

If your audience is looking small, top up your data imports 

When topping up data imports as shown in the example above, you’d still preferably have a lookalike audience as similar as possible to your donor-base. In this example aim for 1-2% lookalike audience, but if this doesn’t get you to around 1,000,000 then consider a 3-4% lookalike audience selection.

Navigate changes since the removal of detailed interest targeting

In March 2022, Facebook removed several detailed interest targeting elements for Facebook Advertising. One sector this impacted significantly was the non-profit sector as several of the topics removed were related to charities and causes. There are several ways to navigate this as a non-profit, we’ll share some more information on this in the next section.

Facebook detailed interest targeting

At the start of 2022, Facebook made some changes to their detailed interest targeting.

This affected the fundraising space as some of those detailed targeting interests were cause and charity related, noted by Meta as ‘sensitive’ topics.

You may have found yourself asking “what now?”

What’s important to remember is that the topics have been removed, not the people you’re targeting. So we just need to readjust and navigate the new limitation. Here are four things you can do as you’re figuring out how these changes are going to affect your digital fundraising strategy.

Go broad

See how you go with removing all detailed targeting parameters. It may still be appropriate for you to set a specific age bracket, or location. But beyond the basic demographics, go broad.

Utilise lookalike audiences

Whether it’s your current charity followers, those who have engaged with your content previously, or last year’s fundraisers. You can choose how close of a lookalike it will be from 1-10% (1% is the closest to your sample audience). We’ve found lookalikes to be a great addition to our Facebook Ad mix. To learn more about lookalike audiences on Facebook Ads, check out Facebook Advertising for Non-profits - Part 1.

Use your data

With the consent from your non-profit organisation database, you can upload this data to Facebook and specifically target them with your advertising. In addition to that you can create lookalike audiences to expand the audience coming from your database.

Explore what’s left

ALL detailed targeting interests haven’t been removed, only some. One that’s still there for example, is ‘charitable causes’ as an interest. Test interests which remain, and consider combining them if you’d like to be more specific (example - must match ‘charitable causes’ AND ‘marathon running’). Think about how your organisation can relate to many non-sensitive topics and test with those. It’s time to think outside the non-profit box for this one.

Facebook Ads creative

So, you've set up your audiences - this is part of your ad set.

Next you'll be setting up your ads.

Ad frequency

Depending upon how long you're running your Facebook Ads campaign for, you will likely want a variety of creatives at hand. Variations of imagery and copy will help keep your frequency low. Low (average) frequency means that a person isn't seeing your same ad repeatedly on their feed.

Ideally you don't want average frequency above 2, but 3 is ok. Anything above that and you should really consider switching things up quickly.

A consideration for a long campaign is to have different phases. Each phase could have a different focus for the creative. The messaging could be more impactful as time goes on, or it could completely change tone. Moving from cause-focused, to something more light.

Using fresh creative in each phase will give your audience something different to look at and make them more likely to take notice of the content, rather than recognising it and scrolling straight past each time.

Ad copy

Did you know that you can have several variations of copy on a single ad creative?

At the time of writing this, unfortunately, you cannot analyse which of the copy variations was the most effective. However, adding a few variations of your copy will give it the best chance of connecting with your audience. Facebook shows them when it assesses that the audience would respond to a specific one.

Consider adding 2-3 options with each of your ads

If you really want to be able to see which of the copy variations is most effective at getting results, then you'll have to add them as individual ads.

Ad tracking

Tracking your content is one of the most important parts. There's a pretty detailed dashboard on Facebook Ads Manager. This is where you'll find the data for average frequency. As well as budget usage, CPC, CPM, CPA, and many many other metrics dependant upon your content format, conversion selection, and account type (eg. if you have a shop on Facebook)

Alongside tracking in Facebook Ads Manager, I love using UTMs to track. This helps us track conversions at a granular level in one place, and they easily show up with our reporting methods which means we can gather insights for you, quickly and reliably, taking into account last-click conversion.

What's next?

As always with Facebook Ads, it’s about testing and refining, taking learnings into account, and then testing some more. If you’re running a short fundraising campaign where time is limited, it can be much more difficult to gather learnings with enough time to make any changes.

We've given you 10 quick considerations but Facebook Ads, like many other elements of marketing, is a bit of a rabbit hole. We could go on forever.

Better yet, need help with your non-profit Facebook Ads? Reach out and see what we can take off your hands! 

We have your back.

From the very start, you'll have a dedicated account manager. We'll be with you every step of the way to get your campaign set up and in the best possible position it can be.

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