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Facebook Causes: A Case Study by Equity Marketing Solutions

An in-depth look at how the use of Facebook Causes can transform your fundraising efforts.

In March of 2011, our Capitola neighbors were devastated by the flooding that stemmed from an old, dilapidated culvert buckling under the pressure of a heavy rainy season. Homes and businesses were destroyed, displacing families and businesses; some temporarily and sadly, some permanently.

Facebook flood relief tabImmediately, the Capitola-Soquel Chamber of Commerce searched for ways to get support from the community. They contacted us, Equity Marketing Solutions, to see if there was a way to develop a simple website to link to a PayPal Account where people could make donations. Because time was of the essence, and we only had 36 hours to get something launched, we advised them that the fastest way to get the word out was to tie their fundraising efforts directly to their Facebook account.

The steps that we took were to create the custom welcome tab on their Facebook page to alert their Facebook following and any new visitors of the disaster and ways that people could help spread the word. We then used the Facebook Causes Application to enable people to donate money, time, and tell their friends about the different ways that Capitola could be supported. We advised the Chamber to support the Capitola Flood Relief Cause with public relations and to include it in any other Chamber correspondence related to the disaster. Although it was just one small piece of a much larger puzzle, in a very short time, the Cause rose to 157 members.

“It did help spread the word about the disaster, people did join the Cause and share it with friends… and we (The Chamber) would do it again,” said Carrie Arnone, Member Services Director of the Capitola-Soquel Chamber of Commerce. “The problem was that some people were apprehensive about giving money through the Causes application because they were unfamiliar with the technology.” She went on to say that several people did call the Chamber to tell her that they had joined the Cause but would be waiting to provide their donation at one of the formal fundraising events to follow.

Tips we learned about using Facebook Causes during a crisis:

* Make sure that all staff knows about what you’re doing and can speak to it in an educated manner to press, coworkers and customers
* Integrate links to your Facebook Cause in all of your public relations efforts
* Create a custom tab for your Facebook Page
* Embed links to the cause in prominent areas of your website
* Embed a link to your Cause in your email signatures
* Share the Cause on your Facebook page and all other active social media outlets throughout the day
* Ask your friends, family, and followers to join the Cause
* Utilize your email list to send out a dedicated blast about the Cause
* Make the use of this technology newsworthy to your local press

When using Causes, it’s important to examine more than just the dollars and cents – it’s about increasing visibility and awareness. In the case of the Cause for Capitola Flood Relief , the total number of members may seem low at 157, but you have to consider that the message also passed through the news feeds of the people who are connected to those 157 members. A conservative estimate is that the Cause reached over 5000 people over a one week period.

We were quite pleased with our inaugural use of Causes and the response that it generated in a short amount of time even in a small community like Capitola.

Have you participated in a Facebook Cause? What did you like or not like about it?

Do you feel comfortable donating money through this Facebook application?

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