The Success of Higher Education Fundraising on Social Media

August 1, 2019
in Blog, Fundraising, Social Media Marketing

Social Media has become a routine way to connect and communicate with friends, family, and businesses. Pew Research Center reports that 7 in 10 Americans use social media every day, and roughly three-quarters of Facebook users visit the site at least once a day. This is a large audience for marketers to utilize and the reason it’s so beneficial for companies, schools, and nonprofits to use social media to fundraise. We’ve had great success creating targeted campaigns for our higher education clients that impact their fiscal fundraising goals. Saint Francis University, for example, has implemented multiple prosperous fundraising campaigns with us using social media as the primary outlet. The following are three examples of recent campaigns we created for them that delivered great results!


Giving Tuesday

Taking part in a global day of giving event like Giving Tuesday can be an excellent boost to yearly fundraising. Giving Tuesday takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and was created as an international day of charitable giving. It’s strategically placed after Black Friday and at the beginning of the holiday season. Creating a campaign based around an already established day of giving is a very effective way to ensure engagement with your audience. For this campaign, we created social ads, organic posts, and a video for the university.

The concept for this campaign was to show the impact gifts have on the students of SFU. Saint Francis University’s tagline is “Become That Someone”, was utilized to portray the message “become that someone who helps SFU students.” With this campaign, we were able to combine the Giving Tuesday brand with SFU’s established tagline. The Giving Tuesday event and its brand are becoming more and more recognizable to the general public, which helps these campaigns become more effective each year. Because it is a global event, schools that utilize the supplied Giving Tuesday brand and concept are dipping into a much larger pool of marketing dollars and promotion. It’s a win-win that helps schools and the community at the same time!


University Day of Giving

In addition to global events like Giving Tuesday, many schools have a university day of giving of their own and Saint Francis is no exception. A university day of giving is a one day event in which alumni, students, parents, faculty, and staff are encouraged to give a gift. Using social media to market your university day of giving is a great way to reach out to alumni, expand your audience, and stay top of mind.

Last year we successfully launched SFU’s Day of Giving – “Yesterday Giving Back to Today”. The concept of the campaign was to connect with alumni and encourage them to donate to their alma mater, as others had done for them, continuing the cycle. Students of yesterday can make the biggest impact and pave the way for students of today and students of the future. This campaign included video, organic posts, and social ads. Social media was crucial in the success of this campaign because we were able to market the event specifically to the school’s alumni pages and reach a targeted audience we knew our message would resonate with.


Athletic Day of Giving

Another effective fundraising tool is a Day of Giving that targets a specific part of your college or university. Alumni often have a greater investment in these areas because they were involved in them and consequently are more excited to participate in campaigns and ultimately, make donations. Saint Francis University recently had a need to raise funds for its athletic department.

The campaign was dubbed “Let’s Get Stoked!”, after SFU alumni & all-star basketball player Maurice Stokes. He wore #26 on the court, which drove the goal to raise $26,000 by March 26. Maurice Stokes is a very important name to the SFU community and his story is what created the school’s tagline “Become That Someone”. Marketing this campaign on social media allowed for many alumni, students, faculty, and fans of the school’s sports to reminisce about this part of the school’s history as well as their own experiences.


Effective Campaigns

Knowing the alumni and what type of content they respond to was a critical component to the success of all these campaigns. We achieve this with SFU by developing and posting content throughout the year and applying what we learn from the interaction with that content to each campaign. This strategy allows us to tailor concepts to their audience while building brand recognition and familiarity. They’ve been able to enjoy great success with their individual specialized campaigns as well as regular content.