Home Fundraising Using Facebook Live For Your Fundraiser Or Other Nonprofit Events

Using Facebook Live For Your Fundraiser Or Other Nonprofit Events

by Clay Harmon

Fundraising has been particularly difficult lately due to COVID-19 and the inability for nonprofits to host fundraisers. This is why remote tools have become more important than ever, especially video or conferencing applications that let you host live remote events.

There are a number of platforms out there that offer this service, and they’ve experienced a lot of success in recent months. For instance, usage of Facebook Live increased by 50% between January and March of 2020. There is also Skype, Whereby, and other livestreaming providers. In this article, we’ll be focusing on Facebook Live, how it caters to the specific needs of nonprofits, and how to use it for your events.

The great thing about Facebook Live is that you don’t need a Facebook account to tune in, which makes it a great tool for people who don’t typically use the platform. You may have used Facebook Live to chat with friends, but keep in mind that using the tool to connect with donors will involve a different approach and should incorporate a communication strategy.

Continue reading to learn about what you should do before, during, and after the event to ensure success with Facebook Live.

Before The Event

Facebook Live was initially created for people to stream to their friends in impromptu situations, which can make the experience seem unplanned, especially if you’re doing it from your phone. It’s important that you know exactly what you’ll be streaming, where, and when. Explore these points of interest as you start planning your stream:

Prepare Your Space

  • Framing: Ensure that the overall scene in your camera frame is appealing and not distracting. You want to be sure that viewers are paying attention to you and your message, not elements in the scene.
  • Lighting: Proper lighting is key to helping the camera perform and to make your stream look sharp and professional. Whereas sunlight from an outdoor scene may provide too much glare for the people in the stream, indoor lighting is especially tricky and may require supplemental lighting.
  • Audio Quality: Poor audio quality can ruin an otherwise meaningful and engaging livestream. Reduce noise around the location of your stream, including background noise or unforeseen noise that could be caused during your stream, like cars driving by, airplanes flying overhead, or people opening or closing doors.
  • Your Internet Connection: Vastly overlooked is the strength of your internet connection. You may want to conduct an internet speed test online or call your service provider to inquire prior to your event to ensure that they are not performing any scheduled maintenance that may affect your connection.

IMPORTANT: Before the day of the event, try going to the location and using the camera device you plan to stream from (laptop, cell phone, etc.) to get a sense of the lighting, noise, and connectivity you’ll experience. 

Let People Know About Your Event In Advance

Make sure your audience is aware you’ll be using Facebook Live during the event:

  • Notify your board members and major donors.
  • Send an email announcement.
  • Post it to your website.
  • Announce on social media twice. Start with an announcement post, published as soon as you schedule your broadcast. Later, you should create a post containing the live broadcast, published at the scheduled date and time. This guide shows you how to set this up automatically.

Pro Tip: Matt Labunka, Product Manager of Live & Co-Watching at Facebook, had this to say about scheduling: “A lot of people don’t know you can schedule your Live video [inside Facebook]. It’s a powerful trick to build buzz among viewers in advance, and you train your audience to show up at a certain prescribed time.”

Know Your Audience

For people who aren’t familiar with Facebook, you have options for where you can “host” your live video on their platform. If you created a Facebook Event to invite people to the fundraiser, you may assume you’re supposed to start the Facebook Live video on the Event page. However, did you know you can start it from your organization’s page? By hosting on your nonprofit’s Facebook page, the Live video may be visible to people outside the Facebook event.

Are you working in collaboration with a charity that boasts a larger following? You could host your Live video there instead. The key is hosting where you’ll find the largest and most engaged audience. It’s also important to remember that you can share the recording of the Live video on other pages once the event is over, so you can always crosspost and share with other pages to increase engagement. 

Focus your engagement on the audience that is emotionally or financially invested in your mission. They will be the ones to most likely attend your livestream and potentially bring others by word of mouth in their individual sphere of influence. Raising awareness is, many times, the prerequisite to raising funds to support your cause.

The Day Of The Event

Add A Stream Description Before Going Live

Writing a video description is important and is often forgotten due to the thought, planning, setup, invitations, etc. of the video stream itself. The more context and description you give your video, the more probable it is that Facebook will show your stream to potential supporters that engage with similar subjects, keywords, etc. Descriptions will also fill people in who tune in late.

Must-haves to include in your video descriptions: 

  • The name and location of your fundraiser or event
  • Geo-tagging/map links
  • Keywords that will be indexed
  • Hashtags to use in the description
  • Names of special guests (Facebook Live even lets you tag these people!)
  • A button, such as “Donate Here,” linking to the donation page, your website, or your Facebook fundraising page

When Going Live

  • Introduce Yourself: A simple introduction at the beginning isn’t always enough. Facebook Live lets visitors join the stream at any time, so you might need to continuously update your audience to let them know what is happening.
  • Interact With Your Audience: Live comments and reactions make the experience engaging for your audience. You can increase this engagement by addressing comments on the stream as they come in. Prepare answers to questions you may be asked ahead of time, and account for the time you will spend interacting with your audience.

After The Event

The event may be over, but that doesn’t mean you’re done. Make sure to complete these follow-up items to ensure maximum engagement from your remote audience:

  • Follow Up With Donors: You should always thank the people who gave money to your organization, as they can often define whether your fundraiser or event was a success or not.
  • Thank Your Participants: You should send an email to those who watched, thanking them for attending virtually.
  • Store Contact Information: Keep the contact information of everyone who expressed interest so you can reach out to them in the future when planning other events.
  • Complete All Other Necessary Steps: Do everything else to wrap up your nonprofit event. Our nonprofit event checklist covers everything you need to ensure your event was successful.

It’s Time To Use Live For Your Next Event!

Now that you have learned about why you would want to leverage the power of livestreaming, formulated a solid strategy, blocked off a calendar date, narrowed and identified your audience, and pre-written a comprehensive description of your live event, it’s time to set up your first event! Facebook has also put together a helpful guide with all the steps needed to set up your first event.

By following the Facebook guide and considering the aforementioned points of interest, your livestreams should produce real results for your organization! This article shows how 84% of Facebook users share to show their support for a cause and highlight issues that are important to them. Daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts grew 4 times over the course of 2016 too.

Interested in us writing more about other video platforms that may help your nonprofit? Then leave a comment below. Happy fundraising and event hosting on Facebook Live!

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Vanessa May 26, 2020 - 8:46 am

Which is better for nonprofits digital fundraisers, Facebook live or YouTube live?

Janie Richmond June 8, 2020 - 2:06 pm

Hi Vanessa,
Although this article is written for a church context, it goes over the features of different social media livestream options so you can make the best choice for your organization. Hope it helps!
– Janie


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