Fundraising via Facebook

November 1, 2018

Looking to reach alumni who had not previously donated, the University of Michigan turned to Facebook. Through purchasing ads on Facebook, the athletic department was able to raise $17,392.

According to Front Office Sports, Brian Wagner, Digital Strategy and Creative Lead for University of Michigan Athletics, targeted 15,000 alumni. His team created a basic ad campaign with Denard Robinson, a former quarterback. The ad reached 9,029 of the users, resulting in 199 people clicking the link and 40 people donating money, which went to the Michigan Athletics Scholarship Fund.

“Our development team was very pleased with the results,” Wagner said. “We do so much of our interactions with our season-ticket holders, and unless you’re a big donor, there’s not a lot of touch.”

The campaign cost $500, which Wagner said was a good investment. He said the school frequently uses targeted Facebook campaigns, even if this one was the only one that yielded monetary donations.

“A lot still goes toward more traditional marketing, but we were able to add more dollars in this year for the paid social, where we hadn’t budgeted in previous years,” Wagner said. “We’d have to allocate from other areas, so it’s not an overnight shift, but we were able to siphon off more money directed to paid social and most of it is geared toward more revenue generation.”

Wagner said that while some people might complain about these campaigns, he has not gotten any negative feedback so far.

“I’ve even thought about that myself,” he said. “But we’ve not received any emails or calls. The way I see it, and others might, I would much rather see an ad like this than one that doesn’t relate to me.”

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