For small nonprofits that lack big marketing budgets, the cost of advertising can be overwhelming.  How can you grow your audience without breaking the bank?  Fortunately, social media sites provide plenty of low-cost advertising opportunities.  To reach a new group of fans, all you need is just a few extra resources.  We recommend testing out simple ads on Facebook and Twitter.   But first, let’s get familiar with the basics of social media advertising:

  • Include a specific call to action. For example, instead of just sending people to your home page, ask them to click on a video or story that best captures your mission. Make sure that the page that houses this content also includes links for getting involved or donating.
  • Design an ad to kick off a peer-to-peer fundraising event, and target the audience by geography and interest.
  • Always ensure the integrity of your ad’s mobile display.  On Facebook , you can check out your ad on the Mobile News Feed.
  • Use professional visuals with limited text (Adding a logo is good idea; Adding a mission statement is not.)
  • Define a #hashtag movement and couple it with strong content (video, photo, logo) to boost your presence.
  • Know your data. Dive into the analytics of your social media pages. You will learn who your followers are and how they interact with these pages. Then you can design a plan for growing that specific engaged group. In addition, you can study competitor or peer pages to see whether and how your performance is lacking.
  • Set a budget and compare your stats across all marketing channels to determine which one delivers the strongest ROI.


Why you should give it a try:  It’s easy to use, and it allows for precise demographic targeting.

Cost: Set a budget as low as $5 a day for as many days as you’d like.

Ideas for a peer-to-peer fundraising ad: Kick off your new fundraiser by targetting potential supporters in your local community. Define your audience according to the characteristics of your typical donor.

Analytics Your Insights page will provide information on your page’s performance and your current fan base, including total likes and engagement, how other pages similar to yours are performing, organic behavior versus paid behaviors, external referrals, statistics on each post, and when your existing base is most active online. In addition, there is a section specifically on geographic statistics, which is great news for organizations looking to gain supporters within their local communities.

Start by Understanding Your Statistics

Look at trends over time to see what’s working and what needs attention.  Fix what you can before delving into ads.

nonprofit social media marketing


Now let’s explore how to create a simple ad using Facebook’s tools, keeping in mind that you should test out different ads to see what drives the most engagement.

There are 3 effective ways to create a Facebook ad:

  1. Boost a well-liked post
  2. Promote within your local geography
  3. Promote a website

Boost a Well Liked Post

When you look at your organization’s admin page, you’ll see the option to boost a post. Click on the “edit audience” or “create new audience” links on the left.

nonprofit social media marketing


Then define your demographics.

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Promote Within Your Local Geography

Facebook provides the option to “Promote [Your] Local Business,” which in this case is your non-profit.

nonprofit social media marketing

Facebook knows your location based on your About section.  By selecting a daily budget and radius, you determine how wide a net to cast. The demographics can also be defined by age or gender.

nonprofit social media marketing


Promote a Website

Use these adds to increase the number of visitors to your website or to a specific web page.  As with the other ad types, these ads request demographics, such as location and interests.

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Why you should give it a try: You can leverage #hashtags and Giving Days to connect with similar non-profits and supporters of causes like yours. Advertising power can bring your nonprofit to the top of search lists.

Cost: Set a target as low as $10 a day for as many days as you’d like, or get more sophisticated through automatic or maximum bidding.

Ideas for a peer-to-peer fundraising ad:  Show off a new #hashtag that encapsulates what this next fundraiser is all about. Add 1-2 keywords that are popular for your cause; do not overdo the hashtags. 

AnalyticsStep into the Analytics page of your Twitter feed and easily begin testing ads and leveraging your most popular tweets.

Easy Ad Idea:

Review Analytics and Advertise a Top Tweet

The Analytics pages show performance trends over time.  Customize your timeframe to determine what has been working best.

nonprofit social media marketing


Once you identify a top tweet, the rest is easy.  Just target by location and select a budget.

nonprofit social media marketing

nonprofit social media marketing


Twitter Ads Can Get More Complicated

When clicking through your campaign options, consider the ad’s goal and what will provide the most value to your organization. Below are types of campaigns and demographics that can defined:

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Here’s example of how complex the audience features can get:


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Additional Resources:

Tips on using Facebook’s  Audience Insights 

Which Social Networks Should You Advertise On?

Twitter Best Practices for Nonprofits


Want to turn your fans into funds?  For a free demo of Crowdster’s peer-to-peer fundraising platform, click here.


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