Facebook Ads for Charities: Driving Charity Donations and Fundraising ROI

Ben Matthews

By Ben Matthews

In Empower Life,

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Facebook Ads are a fantastic way to generate donations and awareness for charities, and the causes they’re looking to address.

With a wide range of creative placements to choose from and excellent targeting options, it’s no wonder that charities are increasingly looking at Facebook Ads to help deliver return-on-investment (ROI) on fundraising and communications objectives. Take a look at Empower’s success story with vInspired as an example.

This is especially true with the likes of Donations for Charities arriving on Facebook, which makes it even easier for charities to deliver ROI through Facebook generated-funds and awareness.

One core goal that many charities see as vitally important but they haven’t cracked with Facebook ads yet is fundraising.

How do you use Facebook to generate enough awareness among the right people, and create an engaging campaign that will persuade people to donate towards your charity or cause?

Asking for straight donations on Facebook is a hard task. You have to have massive brand awareness (think Cancer Research UK levels) and strong creative in order to get donations cold.

Here are a few ideas for how your charity can look to encourage donations from Facebook.

Need more help with your Facebook ads? Empower are a Facebook Ads agency that can help your nonprofit generate leads for your organisation. Contact us now to set up a chat!

Add a Donate Now button to your Facebook Ads

If your advertising objective is website clicks or website conversions, you’ll be asked to add a call-to-action to your ad when you edit the Text and Links of your Facebook ad.

If your Page’s category is set to “Non-Profit Organization”, you can add the Donate Now call-to-action button on your Facebook ads.

This feature is gradually rolling out to non-profit Pages and may not be available to you right now, but it will certainly enhance your Facebook ad campaign if you can use the Donate call to action button.

Test and Learn

When first starting out, it can be difficult to understand what will work with your Facebook ads and why. It’s best to always test your charity ad campaign with a small budget first.

Experiment with content types, messaging, targeting user journeys and anything else relevant to your campaign.

See which audiences are responding best, adjust your targeting to reach the most-engaged, and then put more funds behind the best performing ads.

Set-up Conversion Tracking

Facebook’s Pixel is a very small piece of code that sits on your website and tracks which Facebook users are visiting your website.

If that Facebook user then makes a donation to your charity, Facebook will know this and you can then start to target that person’s connections on Facebook, plus people who look similar to that person.

This is great as it means you can then start to show ads to the kinds of people on Facebook who are more likely to donate to your charity.

Facebook has made it really easy to add their conversion tracking pixel to your donation page (previously you had to have multiple pixels tracking different conversions, now there’s just one pixel for your whole website.

Read Facebook’s instructions for how to add the Facebook Pixel to your site.

Once added, Facebook will can start to target your Facebook ads towards the audiences most likely to donate.

Campaign Exposure First, Then A Donation Ask

One approach to drive more donations through Facebook is to spend some ad budget on generating awareness around a campaign, then use these ads to build a Facebook Custom Audience of people who engage with your ads.

You then have a warm audience, who have already interacted with the campaign, to whom you can serve a second ad set.

When served a donation ask, this custom audience are more likely to donate, thanks to their previous exposure and response to the campaign.

You can also tailor and develop the message, based on your better-knowledge of where they are at in their user-journey with your brand, the issue and campaign – thanks to your first advert.

Empower have run a Facebook advertising campaign like this for a major international NGO that used this strategy and it has seen good results – although you do need to have enough budget to warrant spend on the exposure campaign in the first place.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Another approach is to run a Facebook campaign where you ask a question that is deliberately designed to challenge the audience in a certain way.

For example, “Do you think that we should spend more on researching how we can stop cancer?” – giving the user the option to click and find out more if they agree.

You then direct them to a landing page where it says something like “If you agree that we should spend more on researching how we can stop cancer, donate to our charity and we’ll work to make this happen for you.”

Basically, ask a question and ask Facebook users to put their money where their mouth is.

If your donation landing page is well optimised, then it can easily persuade people, who’ve clicked there from Facebook, to back-up their opinion and support your cause.

Get Email Signups Then Convert To Donors

Most charities have an established email marketing programme that helps turn email subscribers into donors.

Facebook Ads can be used to grow your charity’s email subscriber list, so you can then send emails direct to their inbox over time and with direct donation asks.

Gaining email subscribers may well be cheaper than trying to get direct donations on Facebook, plus you can send those subscribers messages that educate them more about your cause and the impact you make.

This can be a more cost effective approach then showing them Facebook Ads alone and potentially avoids wasted ad spend by showing ads to irrelevant people.

Combined with a lookalike audience (a section of your Facebook target audience who look similar to your existing audience) based on your existing email subscribers and you’re on to a winning strategy.

How Does Your Charity Drive Donations Using Facebook Ads?

These are just a few ideas for how your charity can use Facebook ads to drive donations. However, Facebook are constantly changing their platform, bringing new ad formats and targeting options for charities – and even bringing in new channels for you to advertise on, such as Instagram.

Empower are a Facebook advertising agency that specialise in generating donations for charities like yours.

Get in touch now to start your Facebook advertising campaign.

8 thoughts on “Facebook Ads for Charities: Driving Charity Donations and Fundraising ROI”

  1. I have a plan to create a charity fundraising project, which helps children with disabilities. But when I created a FB pixel advertising, I got trouble with the images. It was disapprove by FB cuz the image showed sensitive contents (it concluded the picture of those children).
    Could you do me a favour with this problem? Thanks.

  2. In your experience is it possible to drive donations from cold FB audiences using a 2-3 minute video ad that explains the cause and has a donate button/uses ‘Donations for Charities’? Or do you find that only warm audience advertising campaigns have a positive ROI?Thanks

    • Hi Paul, it is possible – it’s just going to be harder and more expensive than with a warm audience. That said, we haven’t tested “Donations for charities” yet, so can’t comment on how that will affect performance. Either way, it’s worth testing with a small budget – even trying image and carousel ads alongside the video – as it’s best to let Facebook’s algorithm test which ad creatives perform best. We’ve had quite a few campaigns where images and carousels have performed better than video, as people may watch a few seconds of video but might not take action.


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