This is important.
If your non-profit is dependent upon donations for its operational funds, it is likely you are focused on maintaining or increasing those donations over time. Those precious donations are how your non-profit looks to fulfill its purpose for the community it serves.
Instagram and Facebook have introduced a new tactic that non-profits can leverage to source donations on a channel that boasts over 1 billion monthly active users and has limited outbound linking capabilities. Instagram has become Facebook's ubiquitous multichannel platform hosting content of all shapes, lengths, and sizes. It is likely your non-profit has a presence on Instagram and engages a very active community that shares similar passions to your mission.
What is this new tactic? Earlier this month, Instagram released a "Donate" sticker that is available to all users who share Instagram Stories. You can navigate through the screenshots I've included below to see exactly how to access this rich feature. At first it seems like a delightful addition to Instagram's Millennial focused demographic, a group that uses social media often to campaign for things they believe in and support. And while it certainly is that, a strategic marketer sees it as a tactic that requires a strategy, which is exactly what it is.
Let's think about this.
Your audience has access to an integrated communication tool that streamlines donations in a way that your website is unable to do, or any other marketing tool for that matter.
Of course you could share your donate sticker to your story, and while you certainly should do that, it is far from the only way you should look to capitalize on the financial promises of this tool. The right way to use it rather, is to engage your passionate, like-minded audience to promote it on your behalf. Why will the share it? Because the purpose of your mission resonates deeply with them, and they feel compelled to social activism on your behalf. If your audience does not feel this way, you have bigger issues, but any audience, large or small, that is supportive of your cause will participate if you ask them to. So ask them to share.
Strategy Before Tactics.
Like aforementioned, the donate sticker on Instagram stories is simply a tactic, and like a singular Instagram post it does not inherently contain the ability to change the world when it comes to donations. What it does allow for is some creative strategies with an integrated technology not previously available to you. Your audience can donate using a social media app that they visit frequent several times a day.
You must start with the strategic idea, why are people going to share? Take the example from the hero image, The Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo, Florida. They are doing incredible work in rebuilding The American Great Barrier Reef along the Straights of Florida. The CRF could create a campaign asking challenging its 51,000 Instagram followers to share a donate sticker on their behalf, in return the participating user will get a coral frag named after them.
Or take the Surfrider Foundation, raising funds to protect our coasts from dozens of pressures. They leverage their chapters, large email-list, social media following, and even their website with the call-to-action to share their donate sticker. The campaign is focused on their advocates sharing why the ocean is so special to them, and why it's worth protecting on their Instagram story the ends with the donate sticker. This follows a key principle, let your audience tell your story, they are the best advocates you can hope for.
Okay, you're in, let's make sure you are setup and your audience is able to find your non-profit on Instagram's Donate Sticker.
- Try it out, pull up Instagram and add the donate sticker to your story then simply search for the name of your nonprofit by name or Instagram handle. If you find your organization, you are all set, you likely set up everything you needed to when Facebook rolled out their Donate button a while back. If you don't find your organization proceed to #2.
- Make sure your organization is using a Instagram Business account and that it is properly connected to your organization's Facebook page.
- Confirm that your non-profit is categorized as a "Nonprofit Organization" or "Charity Organization." If not, you will need to update this under your page settings, then use the left-hand navigation to select "Page Info," you will then find "Categories" as the second field to edit.
- Complete Facebook's "Page Verification," this is a simple process that your organization should complete anyway. You will need to provide a few details to help Facebook verify your organization's legitimacy, these are easy if you are a legitimate organization. You can either do this with an official phone number or a selection of official documents you can upload for Facebook to confirm with. I've included a list below.
Business utility or phone bill
Business tax file
Certificate of formation
Articles of incorporation
- Once this is completed you will need to visit Facebook's Chartable Verification Page where you will find the steps to complete their application, which I've included here as well. This should be easy information for you to source but do it soon since Facebook says it can take 2-3 weeks to approve your application.
- A PDF copy of a bank statement from the last 3 months (you will need to upload this as part of the application). Submitting a statement that is older than 3 months will cause a delay in your application being approved.
- The name and date of birth of your organization's CEO or Executive Director.
- Your organization's tax ID number (EIN or VAT number), which verifies your charitable tax exemption status.
- On the application page from Step 5, you will need to submit your page for something Facebook calls a "Community Standards Review," apparently this just means someone takes a look at your page to check against their community standards before approving your ability to accept donations.
- Last one! Yay! You will need to connect the account Facebook and Instagram will place the donations as they are received. This is standard EFT and you will need the bank account holder's name, bank name, account number, and routing number to complete this step.
Done! Best of all, Facebook and Instagram are simply processing the transactions on your behalf without, surprisingly, taking a share of the donations. This is a fee-free donation, when $5 is donated from Instagram your non-profit gets all $5 of it.
Have fun and dream big with this one, if we can help please reach out!