Supercharge Digital Fundraising With Donate Ads on Facebook
It’s no question that when it comes to digital political fundraising, email is still the dominant and primary force in motivating supporters to invest in the candidates they care about. But what happens when you hit a wall? Perhaps new emails you’ve acquired through display ads or list swaps just aren’t converting into donors. Maybe you’re losing emails as quickly as you’re acquiring them.
While hiring a new email writer and revamping your message ought to be on the table, it could also be that you’re not asking your supporters and targets to donate in enough places. Which begs the question: Have you considered asking your supporter targets to step up and make a contribution to your campaign on Facebook? If not, you’re leaving money on the table. Here’s why:
Donors (and people that look like your donors!) are on Facebook!
This one is pretty obvious. By creating custom audiences with your donor and email lists — and creating Lookalike audiences of people that look like your donors — you can make sure that you’re targeting donate asks to people already interacting with you on multiple channels, or people similar to those people.
For people already interacting with you, donate ads are particularly important during an end-of-quarter push. Email subscribers might be reading about your deadline coming up, but haven’t taken the next step. Getting a reminder on another channel can create an echo effect that is key to landing that donation — and the same could be said the other way around. Fundraisers frequently told us that seeing an email or donate ad could end up closing just as many high-dollar donations as small-dollar donations.
Your creative is not limited to a few images or highlighted text.
We’re suckers for a well-written (or well-designed) email. But even an authentic and compelling narrative can get lost in the mix. With Facebook website conversion ads (the ad type we use for donate ads), you can test and deploy a mix of creative types — crisp images, GIFs, slideshows — to pair with great copy to grab your audience’s attention.
This year, we saw a rise in selfie-style, “direct-to-camera” videos where candidates made personal fundraising appeals to donors and supporters — and for good reason. They worked! Seeing candidates in their “natural habitat” — cluttered campaign offices, sitting in a car on the way to an event, standing with supporters — these videos made political campaigns tangible, particularly for supporters living in a different city or state.
Inbox fatigue is real, but donors still want to have an impact.
With the introduction of category tabs in Gmail and unsubscribe banners in Apple Mail, it’s easier than ever for subscribers to opt-out of emails. Mix those changes in with unsavory, bait-and-switch email tactics and an overwhelming increase in email volume and you get a public that just isn’t opening and/or interacting with emails with the same fervor we’ve become accustomed to.
Simply put: there are likely hundreds of thousands of donors who have chosen to break up with your email list (or political email altogether), but still want to have an impact. By reaching those donors with Facebook donate ads again and again, you have a new lease on donor engagement.
You can strike while the iron’s hot.
While our sanity may suffer, platforms like Facebook are often the first place politically engaged Americans turn to when they want to talk about politics — especially when a video goes viral or a specific issue is dominating the news cycle. Much like the multichannel echo effect we discussed earlier, using donate ads to increase visibility of a viral moment or a salient issue can be critical to your success — but that success often hinges on how quickly your campaign or cause is willing to move on a response. Act fast.
At the end of the day, digital fundraising does not and can not exist in a silo. None of these benefits will come to fruition if candidates and campaign managers aren’t willing to take risks, think on their feet, stay the course and weather the occasional loss in revenue relative to ad spend. Because donate ads rely so heavily on compelling creative and general salience to your audience, performance can drop off at the turn of a dime.
But when paired with a killer narrative, great video content, smart targeting and consistent budgets — donate ads can supercharge your digital fundraising program. Do not skip over this tool when making decisions on your campaign budget line items.