How to Harness Social Media for School Fundraising Success

Published on 8 Dec 2023 by Auctria

Imagine this: Your school’s PTA has spent hours planning for your upcoming auction. They’ve worked with businesses to secure the auction items and chosen software to help them run the event. But when it comes to promoting the auction, the team isn’t sure what to try beyond DIY flyers and posters.

Instead of feeling limited to traditional marketing methods, your school can take advantage of the power of social media to reach more supporters. These platforms were designed to keep people connected and help them form new relationships, making it the perfect place to connect them with your school’s campaigns.

In this guide, we’ll explore why your school should promote its next campaign via social media and the steps you can take to get started. Let’s begin!

What are the benefits of using social media?

It’s easy to think of social media as just another trendy way to market your fundraisers, but these platforms are here to stay. Plus, there are many benefits associated with using social media that can have an impact on your school’s fundraising success.

When you harness social media to promote your school fundraisers, you can see benefits such as:

  • Increased reach. Through social media, you can expand beyond your local area and gain the support of those who live far away or may not have otherwise interacted with your school. Growing your base of supporters not only boosts your revenue but can also prevent problems like donor fatigue.

  • Saved resources. Compared to traditional marketing platforms, social media tends to be more cost-effective. You’ll need time and creativity to make engaging posts that capture your audience’s attention and spread your message. While you may need graphic design or video editing tools for some social media platforms, keep in mind that your school could be eligible to access these resources for free or at a discounted rate.

  • Younger audience engagement. It can be challenging to engage tweens and teens in your fundraisers, especially if you are communicating via channels they view as outdated. Instead, try aligning with their communication preferences by creating a presence on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Even better, create content that aligns with popular trends for each platform, like short-form videos.

While your school may tend to use the same fundraising and communication tactics each time you need to raise money, social media will help you put a fresh spin on your next campaign. And, revamping your fundraisers can motivate parents, students, and members of the community to get involved and support your school.

What are some social media marketing best practices?

Like other marketing platforms, there are some rules and strategies that social media marketing campaigns should follow for the best results. Here are some things you can do to amplify your social media campaign and make the most of each platform:

Use more than one platform.

Many people have accounts on more than one social media platform, giving your school the opportunity to reach them in multiple ways. The more often potential supporters see messages from your school across various platforms, the more likely they are to remember your campaign and make a donation.

When selecting which platforms to focus on, you should:

Study your audience. Choose the platforms that your audience already uses to ensure that they see and interact with your messages. To understand which platforms they prefer, you can reference their engagement with past marketing campaigns or even send out surveys to previous donors asking how they found out about your campaign.

Take advantage of platforms with fundraising features. Platforms like Facebook often have features such as donate buttons to facilitate fundraising. Because these features will streamline the donation process and give supporters a more positive experience, this should be a factor you consider when choosing the platforms you’ll use.

Create a “common thread” between platforms. Each platform should link back to your school’s website where supporters can learn more about the fundraiser and donate.Morweb’s guide to school websites recommends optimizing your website for mobile devices, prioritizing accessibility, and embedding multimedia elements for best results.

Choose quality over quantity. It can be easy to get swept up by the sheer number of social media platforms out there. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or pressured to join all of them, select two to three core platforms to prioritize. Then, hone your content’s quality so it’s the best it can be.

With the right blend of social media platforms, your school can not only connect with its most loyal base of existing supporters but also reach those who may be interested but have never supported you before.

2. Align with the platform.

Each platform has its own unique trends that you’ll need to follow in order to land in front of the right audience. Additionally, different platforms require different formatting for you to optimally convey your message.

For example, let’s say you select a superhero-themed walk-a-thon from 99Pledges’ school fundraising ideas list. You choose to promote the fundraiser on your school’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok accounts. Here’s how you might post about the fundraiser on each platform:

  • Twitter: Post short, text-focused announcements and updates about the walk-a-thon. While you can include images and videos, people will likely check Twitter for things like tracking fundraising progress.
  • Instagram: This platform is focused on images more than text. Detail your fundraiser via digestible graphics, highlight behind-the-scenes photos of your team setting up for the walk, and post aesthetically pleasing updates to your stories.
  • Facebook: Facebook allows you to promote your walk-a-thon in a variety of ways. You can reuse graphics from Instagram as well as set up a donate button, create a fundraising page that shows the campaign’s progress, and make an event supporters can show interest in.
  • TikTok: This platform is all about video content. Take some time to scroll and find trending sounds or filters that are appropriate for your campaign, and find a way to weave details about your walk-a-thon into the trend. You can also cross-post these videos to other platforms, such as Instagram Reels.

These rules aren’t hard and fast, meaning that there is some wiggle room as to how you approach each one. For example, you might post videos on your Instagram and Facebook pages and create a slideshow of still images for TikTok. Try experimenting with different strategies until you find what resonates with your audience.

3. Keep communications consistent.

When posting across many different platforms, it’s crucial that your campaign feels cohesive—otherwise, your audience may be confused about the source of your messages and the campaign itself.

To keep your audience well-informed, these factors should remain consistent across all social media posts:

  • Branding: Use the same colors, fonts, logos, and imagery in all graphics so supporters instantly recognize your brand.
  • Tone: Select a tone for the campaign, such as serious or friendly, to infuse into each message.
  • Central message or theme: Your marketing campaign should have a primary theme that guides each message you create. Each post should represent or expand on this theme in some way.

Your posts should also be published on a regular schedule to keep the fundraiser on supporters’ minds. Consider investing in a social media scheduling tool to make managing these posts easier.

Social media can be used to promote almost any of your school fundraisers, from auctions to walk-a-thons to product sales. With a robust, well-planned social media strategy, you’ll establish multiple touchpoints with existing supporters, reach more people who have a connection to your school, and seamlessly convert curious supporters into loyal donors.

Special thanks to Brad Dowhaniuk for the expert advice. Brad is the co-founder of 99Pledges, which provides schools and teams with an easy-to-use, web-based fundraising solution to manage and drive success in Fun Runs, jog-a-thons, baseball hit-a-thons, and much more.