Brewer Direct

NEW CASE STUDY! How Facebook can turn “likes” into real donors!

NEW CASE STUDY! How Facebook can turn “likes” into real donors!


Here’s a question our clients ask A LOT: “Should we invest time and resources into Facebook?” We did some testing – and now, based on our results, we have the answer for you about how to successfully utilize Facebook in nonprofit fundraising!    

By Stephanie Tippitt, VP/Digital Strategy, Brewer Direct  


If you’re a person living in 2018, you’re most likely on Facebook. After all, as of June 2018, 1.47 billion (yes, that’s billion) people use Facebook EVERY SINGLE DAY.

The same is true of most nonprofits. They’re using Facebook as a vehicle to reach out to their online audience. But as with any new media, there’s always a learning curve in terms of how to utilize it for fundraising… or if it can be used for fundraising at all.

Facebook is a topic that we here at Brewer Direct get asked about all the time by our clients – namely, “Should we invest time and/or resources in Facebook? And if the answer is yes, how?”

So to answer the first part of the question: DEFINITELY YES. There’s no downside to your nonprofit investing time and resources into Facebook. It can add value when used both organically and with paid advertising. And since it has so many users (remember: billions!), Facebook actually might be the most convenient and cost-effective way to identify those who love the vision and mission of your nonprofit – and turn those admirers into new email addresses, donors and ultimately, dollars.

Since most nonprofits don’t have big budgets to spend on broadcast media or billboards, it’s important that they know WHERE to spend their money to reach the right people. That differs for every nonprofit, and there’s no way to know who they are until you start collecting data on who’s responding and engaging with you online.

So to know where to spend money, you need data. And who has the most data on its users?

That’s right. It’s Facebook.

Having followers means having access to data about how they respond to your Facebook page – and with that comes insights into who’s most engaged with your posts. For example, for our Rescue Mission clients, Facebook is the #1 used social media channel for their most valuable demographic. In short, that means Facebook is a great place to reach our clients’ target audience!

Now let’s talk about the second part of that question: HOW to go about investing time and resources into Facebook?

To answer that, let’s look at two case studies.

In Fall 2017, Brewer Direct set out to test Facebook with two specific fundraising strategies to determine if we could acquire new donors and if we could generate revenue with a positive ROI.


Facebook Email Acquisition Campaigns – Ad Group #1 (November)


Whether or not you realize it, your email file is one of your most important assets. Thus, the size, health and growth plan of that file is a key indicator of long-term online fundraising success. Bottom line: All nonprofits must grow their email files of qualified donors and prospects.

In November, Brewer Direct tested a strategy that gave clients’ Facebook users something of value in exchange for their email address. In addition, we also offered users a chance to instantly donate.

This ad strategy had 4 key components:

  • The ad (created specifically for Facebook)
  • The offer (a Thanksgiving-themed download)
  • The landing page (user accepts offer & is urged to donate)
  • The donation page (user converts by donating)

The ad/landing page combo offered the Thanksgiving-themed download in exchange for the user’s email. The landing page also included a prominent donate call to action, prompting visitors to the page to not just take the free download, but to give back as well.

Facebook Custom Audience: a type of customer list audience you create that’s made up of your existing customers/followers. You can then target ads to the audience you’ve created.
Facebook Lookalike Audience: targets new Facebook users who “look like” your current customers/followers, visitors to your website or users who have liked your Facebook page.


THE RESULTS: The landing pages for this November campaign, on average, had a 14% conversion rate of visits to opt-in email addresses. In addition, the ad on the page with the donation offer also generated instant revenue.

This ad strategy was tested using multiple custom Facebook audiences. Here’s a snapshot of results:

  • The campaign generated revenue and sustained an average ROI of 2.7.
  • 2 audiences – Donor Lookalike and Donor Email Address – had the highest click-through rates (CTRs), averaging over 1% for all clients.
  • 3 audiences – Donor Email Address, Donor Lookalike and Donor Name/Address – have the best donation conversion rates for revenue spent.
  • Email conversion rate was 14% – these are new addresses who will be entered into the email marketing communication funnel.
  • All campaigns generated income AND new email addresses for the clients with positive ROIs.


Facebook Instant Donation Campaigns – Ad Group #2 (December)


In December, Brewer Direct implemented two creative approaches on Facebook focused on instant donations: a campaign for Christmas and for Year End.

This December campaign emphasized the need for meals during the Christmas season and used a winning and proven photo type – an older male. “Winning photo” in this case means in previous art tests and in focus group studies, the older male is still the image that generates the highest response with donors because of its familiarity as representing homelessness.

For the Christmas campaign, the photo was changed out mid-way through the month to prevent the image from becoming “tired” in users’ feeds, and copy changes were made to increase the urgency of giving before Christmas.

For the Year-End campaign, beginning on the last few days of the year, we changed out the art and photo once again to grab new viewers. The art and text was focused on the short amount of time left to give before the year’s end. To really drive the message home, the text in the post was updated each day with countdown language.

This ad strategy was also tested using multiple custom Facebook audiences and here’s a snapshot of results:

  • 2 audiences – the Remarketing and Donor Lookalike – had the highest CTR, averaging around .5%.
  • The highest revenue and conversions came from the Donor Email Audience.
  • On average, clients sustained an ROI over 3.0. 1 client even had a 10.0 ROI!



Based on the Facebook campaigns Brewer Direct implemented in Fall 2017 (and again with new test offers in Spring 2018), we believe Facebook can be a positive advertising channel for nonprofit organizations – both in generating revenue and in acquiring new email addresses.

The Fall Facebook campaigns (detailed above) were a success – they generated instant donations, added new members to our clients’ Facebook audience and acquired valuable new email addresses for all clients who participated. With results like these, we definitely plan to continue testing and refining these Facebook strategies throughout 2018 and into 2019.

One note: As you most likely know from news reports and from your own use of social media, the landscape of Facebook changes constantly. The algorithms used to serve organic posts from friends/followers and/or paid ads by areas of interest are always being updated and refined by Facebook.

Here at Brewer, we’re optimistic about these changes, based on our recent success in fundraising on Facebook. But like everything in digital, we’ll continue to test, measure and analyze to maximize our opportunities with this digital channel.

The final word: Be encouraged! Because for now, it looks like Facebook can be used for more than just sharing amusing cat videos.

What else can you do to get donors & your community involved this Thanksgiving? Click here.


Does your organization need expert guidance in new digital media like our Facebook custom audience campaigns that got such great results? Stephanie is ready to e-help! Get in touch with Brewer Direct’s Vice President/Digital Strategy Stephanie Tippitt by clicking here.




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