3 Ways to Use Facebook Ads for Nonprofits | CharityHowTo

3 Ways To Use Facebook Ads for Nonprofits to Increase Revenue and Make More Impact

If your nonprofit is on Facebook, then you’ve probably heard (at least a little bit) about Facebook ads. 

Maybe you’ve even “boosted” a post to try and reach more people. 

Or, maybe you’ve thought you didn’t want to even deal with that yet and pushed it to the bottom of your to-do list. 

We get it! It’s another thing to learn how to do. And with anything new, there’s always a learning curve. 

But we’re talking more about Facebook ads for nonprofits, the types of ads you can create, plus 4 different ways you can use them to make more impact! 


What Are Facebook Ads for Nonprofits? 

We’re sure you’ve seen it. You’ve been scrolling through Facebook either on your personal account or for your nonprofit. 

And every so often, you’ll see a post with the word “Sponsored” underneath it. 

More likely than not, that is a Facebook ad! 

In the for-profit world, Facebook ads are used to increase sales for products or services businesses offer. 

But they’re not just for the for-profit world. Facebook ads for nonprofits is an incredibly beneficial marketing tool to use within your overall nonprofit digital marketing strategy. 


Why Should Nonprofits Consider Facebook Advertising? 

But why are Facebook ads for nonprofits important? After all, organizations can continue posting content to reach their target audience organically. 

So why spend that money on nonprofit Facebook ads? 

For one thing, investing in Facebook ads for your organization means you can reach more of your target audience. And while, yes, if your nonprofit already has a Facebook page, then your organic content can reach your followers. 

But recent statistics show that less than 3% of your Facebook followers actually see your content. 

That means investing in Facebook ads for nonprofits allows your mission to reach the right people with your best content at the perfect time. 


What Types of Facebook Ads for Nonprofits Can You Use? 

You don’t have to stick with singular image posts in the hopes that it does something for your nonprofit. 

There are quite a few different types of nonprofit Facebook ads that all work to engage your audience. 

Here are the top 4 types of ads to try: 


1. Video Nonprofit Facebook Ads

Thanks to the rise in short-form videos through Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, and TikTok, nonprofit videos are more popular than ever. 

And Facebook ads know it! That’s why they’ve included this option for organizations creating nonprofit ad campaigns. 

Using nonprofit video marketing is a fabulous way to boost engagement among those who are seeing your ads. Time after time, organizations see that these ads work to increase post interactions, like comments, likes, saves, and shares from viewers. 

These kinds of ads are excellent for visual storytelling. And as we know, storytelling is incredibly powerful in making an impact. Viewers suddenly realize how real your mission is. They can see in real life the difference your mission is making. 

It’s a perfect option to include in your nonprofit brand awareness campaign for your overall social media advertising strategy. 

Not to mention, using video marketing is a way to bypass the newer Apple updates. In these updates, users can opt to “turn off” ad tailoring based on their behaviors. But! Nonprofit videos bypass that update. So your video nonprofit Facebook ads can still reach more people. 


2. Facebook Messenger Ads

Facebook has created its own version of a chatbot through Facebook ads. 

Those are called Facebook Messenger ads. 

This is a new feature that lets your viewers and potential supporters engage in conversation with your organization. And rather than depending on a nonprofit professional being on the clock and sitting at the computer, waiting for someone to chat, these Messenger ads do the work for you. 

Your nonprofit can pre-program the Facebook Messenger ads with specific answers to specific questions. 

Then, when a viewer asks those questions, the Messenger chatbot can answer them right away. No need to worry about someone being online in real-time. No need to worry about time zones or anything else! 

It speeds up the process for your potential supporters and it takes an extra task off of your to-do list. Ultimately, that can speed up the donor journey! 


3. Carousel Facebook Ads

Carousel nonprofit Facebook ads are a great way to showcase your merchandise. If you rely on supporters purchasing any kind of merchandise, you can create carousel ads to act as a catalog. 

Each slide in the carousel can feature different merchandise. And of course, for each one, you can create a different caption to describe the product. 

If you don’t sell merchandise, that doesn’t mean you can’t use carousel Facebook ads! Instead, try using them as a storytelling tool. Maybe that involves showing the building process of a new school in a developing country. Maybe you showcase a before and after of a dog that came to your humane society and when they got adopted. 

Either way, the carousel nonprofit Facebook ads are another excellent way to engage with your supporters! 


4. Boosted Post

With the Facebook algorithm, only a small percentage of your current followers see your nonprofit’s posts. 

But a boosted post is perfect if you want your current audience to see your posts. It’s a great tool to use if you have important information, like an upcoming event that you want to promote. 

Boosted posts are also great if you want to target a warmer audience to increase your donations! 

If you’re not sure what kind of post you should boost, here’s a tip. Try putting a budget toward a post that’s currently doing well (engagement-wise) or that’s done well in the past. Then you can continue to get activity on that post from those who may have missed it when it was originally published. 


How Can You Use Facebook Ads for Nonprofits? 

Now that you know a few types of Facebook ads, let’s chat more about how you can use those types to create an overall strategy! 

You don’t have to use Facebook ads for nonprofits to only drive donations. There are plenty of uses for this awesome tool! 


1. Reach New Supporters Outside of Your Current Donor Database

There are plenty of potential supporters who just don’t know your nonprofit exists yet! That’s not their fault, and it’s not yours either. It’s just because there is a lot of information and content online. 

But that doesn’t mean they’ll never know about you. And with the help of nonprofit Facebook ads, you can reach those supporters faster! 

No having to wait for them to finally find your organization’s Facebook page. These ads allow your nonprofit to show up directly on their timeline. 

You can tailor your ads to reach potential supporters based on your ideal donor avatar. That may include setting ad parameters based on their location, their age, or even their interests. 

Here are two ways you can reach new supporters: 


Identify a Target Audience

A target audience is similar to segmented groups in your email marketing software. You can create multiple target audiences for each Facebook ad campaign you decide to run for your organization. 

It’s simply an audience with one or more demographic filters layered on top of one another. For example, a target audience might be: 


  • Demographic layer 1: Female supporters
  • Demographic layer 2: Ages 24-38
  • Demographic layer 3: Living in Miami, Florida and surrounding areas


The more demographic layers you add, the more nuanced you want your Facebook advertisement language to be. 

Before you roll out the new ad campaign, make sure that the captions and the images cater to the target audience you’ve created. 


Identify a Lookalike Audience

A lookalike audience consists of people that Facebook matches to a segmented group of people within your current audience whom you have email addresses for. 

Targeting a lookalike audience with your ads does take a bit of work on the front end of the process. It involves segmenting your current audience into lists based on demographics. So, you may want to create segments based on location, age, job position, or gender. 

You then take those segmented lists (with all of the email addresses!), and you upload them to your Facebook ads account. 

Facebook then populates a lookalike audience based on the interests, characteristics, and demographics you’ve selected. 

You’ll find more supporters this way that may not have had the opportunity to otherwise find your nonprofit!


2. Encourage Specific Behaviors

One of the best things about Facebook ads for nonprofits is you can have different campaigns that ask for specific behaviors from your supporters. 

One campaign may be to introduce your nonprofit to new supporters. If that’s the case, maybe you direct them to your nonprofit website. 

Another could be for those who may be a tad further involved in the donor journey. For those, you can lead them to sign up for your nonprofit email list. 

For potential supporters who have seen more of your ads (which you can monitor, by the way!), you can create an ad campaign that asks them for more involved behaviors. That might include asking for a monetary donation. 

Gearing up for a ticketed event? Use a campaign to promote it! Your call-to-action button could be encouraging them to purchase a ticket.

No matter what kind of interactions you’re looking for, you can create multiple Facebook ad campaigns to see those desired behaviors! 


3. Narrow Down Your Audience Based on Interests, Demographics, or Behaviors

Even if you have a large following from your organic content on Facebook, there’s still not a clearcut way to make sure your content is getting in front of the right audience. 

And by the “right” audience, we mean the one based on your ideal donor avatar. The kinds of people who are interested in your cause. Who care about the kind of impact you're making for your mission. 

Sometimes, the following you gain from your organic content isn’t always in line with the people who would love to support your efforts. 

The great thing about Facebook ads for nonprofits is that you can target those people who do care about what you’re doing. You can narrow down your audience based on their interests, their demographics, or their previous behaviors with your other content. 

That helps with seeing the results your nonprofit team is looking for! 


5 Facebook Advertising for Nonprofits Best Practices:

When you know what type of Facebook ad post you want to create (and for whom!), it’s time for you and your team to start creating content. 

We want you to have a successful campaign, so here are 5 best practices when it comes to writing your Facebook advertisements: 


1. Prioritize the First Line of Your Nonprofit Facebook Ad Caption

Unlike email, which (in an inbox) shows an email’s headline and preview text first, Facebook is backwards. 

The anatomy of a Facebook advertisement looks like: 


  1. Facebook ad caption
  2. Static image, carousel, or video
  3. Headline
  4. Preview text
  5. Call to action button


In an ad, the headline, preview text, and call to action button are larger text sizes than the caption. But readers still see the caption first. 

So, be sure you write a super-catchy first line in your caption to grab their attention and keep them reading! 

To do this, try: 

  • Using percentages or numbers. These are quick eye-grabbers because, as we scroll through social media, we don’t often see numbers or percentages. Use these intentionally, though! Make sure they coincide with your organization’s message. 
  • Opening a curiosity loop. Have you ever read a book in a series, and the last chapter is an absolute cliffhanger? That’s got your curiosity piqued! It’s got you wanting to know what happens next. You can use the same technique within your Facebook ads. Open a loop so they’ll read the next line (and the one after that). 
  • Adding emojis (but sparingly). Don’t overload your caption with emojis. But the nature of social media is different from other places on the internet (such as blog posts or your organization’s website). 


2. Keep Copywriting In Mind for Every Element of Your Facebook Ad

Don’t forget that the caption and even any text in your nonprofit’s image or video are all great places to use nonprofit copywriting techniques.

After all, you’re trying to inspire readers to take action for your organization. And, as we know, nonprofit copywriting combines both donor psychology and communication tools to do so. 


3. Tell Your Readers What to Do Next

Without a call to action, your readers may read the caption. They may watch the video or click through the carousel images. 

And then they’ll continue scrolling. 

A call to action tells your readers what to do next so nothing is left up to interpretation! Direct your readers wherever they need to go as it pertains to the specific campaign you’re running. 

If you’re looking to sign readers up to your nonprofit email list, then direct them to the form! If you’re trying to increase donations, take them to your nonprofit’s landing page. 

No matter what it is, be sure to tell your readers what to do next (or where to go!). 



4. Choose Powerful, Compelling Images and Videos

Social media platforms are (almost) all visual. So, prioritize powerful, compelling images and videos that are scroll-stoppers. 

Visual storytelling, whether it’s through video or static images, is an excellent way to use emotion to draw your reader in. 

Speaking of emotion… 


5. Use Emotion. Then Back It Up with Logic

Up to 95% of purchases and donations humans make are driven by emotion first. That is a powerful statistic to use within your Facebook advertisement campaign for your nonprofit. 

Within your caption, in your video, and even in your images, use emotion to tug gently at your reader’s heartstrings. This might look like incorporating a heartfelt image of someone who is affected by the cause. 

It might include a description of what life is like for the members of the community you’re serving. 

Either way, use emotion first. And then back it up with specific logic. For example, if a suggested giving amount is $25, then tell the reader where that $25 goes! 

Giving specific logic justifies their desire to act now. And that can often be the difference between someone clicking on the call to action or someone scrolling away!


We are firm believers that Facebook ads for nonprofits is an incredible marketing tool that can do wonders for your goals! 

Whether you’re looking to increase nonprofit brand awareness, build your email list, promote an upcoming event, sell merchandise, or increase donations - you can create campaigns for all of it! 

But getting started might feel overwhelming, especially if you haven’t had experience with it before. 

That’s why we’ve partnered with Dana Snyder of Positive Equation to help you learn everything you need to know about social media ads through her program, Digital Donors On-Demand. 


Find Out More About Digital Donors On-Demand!