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How To Create A Social Media Challenge For Your Fundraiser

January 17, 2023

We’ve all heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge—in one viral swoop, it increased awareness for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and helped the ALS Association raise a lot of money. According to NPR, “The ALS Association said that $2.2 million of funds that were raised from the Ice Bucket Challenge went into funding the development and trial of the new drug that the Food and Drug Administration approved this week for treatment of ALS.”
Wouldn’t it be great if you could do something similar for your nonprofit? You can by creating a social media challenge! In this post, we’ll share tips to help you create a social media challenge for your nonprofit and how you can use it to raise awareness and funds.

What Is a Social Media Challenge?

In a nutshell, a social media challenge is a viral phenomenon that proposes an activity or task to people through social media. Typically, online challenges are used to increase engagement, promote a fundraiser or charity, create a sense of community, build brand awareness, and drive traffic to social media pages or websites. People who participate take a picture or video of themselves completing an activity or task and then share that on a social media platform like Tik Tok, Instagram, or Facebook.

How Do You Create a Social Media Challenge for Your Fundraiser?

The following steps will help you develop a social media challenge to promote your nonprofit’s fundraising campaign. Be as wacky or unexpected as you like—just be sure to adapt the challenge to your specific fundraising campaign and target audience. A little further down, we’ll show you how to raise money using your nonprofit’s social media challenge.
Number 1

Choose a relevant theme.

Suppose your fundraiser is a charity run. In that case, you could create a challenge that involves running a certain distance or completing a certain number of laps. If your cause is conservation, the challenge may require people to take a video or photo of themselves in a nature preserve or park.  
Number 1

Come up with a unique hashtag.

Doing so will make it easy for participants to share their progress and for others to follow along. Plus, the more people participate and use your unique hashtag, the more your challenge will become a trending topic and reach a larger audience.
Number 1

Develop a set of rules and guidelines.

Be specific about how people can participate and share progress on social media! As you set the end date for your challenge, keep in mind that running it for a limited time will enhance a sense of urgency and FOMO (fear of missing out).
Number 1

Create engaging, eye-catching graphics or videos.

Remember that they’ll be used to create a sense of excitement and encourage participation, so be as creative as possible. Enlist the help of a graphic design professional or savvy team member or volunteer
Number 1

Share on all your social media platforms.

Don’t forget to make regular, varied social media posts promoting the challenge! Use your email list to encourage supporters to share the challenge with their friends and family. Also, share the challenge to traditional media such as your local newspaper, TV stations, and radio stations.
Number 1

Make it easy for people to share their progress.

Provide shareable graphics, videos, and messages that make your good cause clear and include a call to action to donate.
Number 1

Join forces.

Partner with influencers, content creators, or organizations that align with your cause to help build awareness and reach a larger audience. If you’re unsure where to start, ask your younger staff members or volunteers! Not only will they be able to help, but being asked for their expertise will give them a sense of ownership.
Number 1

Make regular updates.

Track the challenge’s progress and share updates and testimonials on your social platforms.
Number 1

Express gratitude.

Thank the participants and give a final update on the challenge and how it helped raise awareness and funds for your cause.

How to Raise Money Through Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Challenge

  • Incorporate donations into the challenge. In the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, people were encouraged to donate as part of the challenge itself. In other words, they filmed themselves donating and then had ice water dumped over their head. Use a crowdfunding platform to create a campaign page, set a fundraising goal, and share the link on social media.
  • Offer a reward or prize for the people or team that raises the most money, or set donation milestones that unlock different rewards. Doing so will encourage peer-to-peer sharing, helping your fundraiser to reach a larger audience.
  • Use matching donations to incentivize donors. For instance, a sponsor (such as a local business) could promise to match every dollar raised during the social media challenge.

Get out there and create your social media challenge!

Don’t worry if it’s not as globally viral as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Instead, focus on your cause and target audience, and be authentic! Even if your challenge doesn’t make the national evening news, it may make local news and gain significant traction in your community and among supporters. That alone is a fundraiser marketing win.

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