Small Business Fundraisers Coming to Instagram: What You Need to Know

A number of changes have been rolled out across the globe since the pandemic spread, especially in the digital space. In fact, despite the struggles of adapting to a post-quarantine existence, we’ve been able to see a variety of innovative new tools released online that allow businesses and organizations to reach and interact with their clients in ways that had previously seemed impossible. Most recently, Instagram has joined the ranks with the announcement of a soon-to-be-released tool they call Personal Fundraiser. The main purpose of the tool is to allow for the creation of small fundraisers for personal causes. Currently, this new feature is only rolling out in the US, the UK, and Ireland via their Android app, followed shortly by support for iPhone, though if the results are positive, it will likely be offered worldwide.

Personal fundraisers of this sort have been a feature of social media giant Facebook for a while now. When creating a fundraiser, the creator is able to select from a number of categories to describe what kind of cause this is for, such as pet-related expenses, memorial services, and medical bills. Earlier this year, the “business” category was added to include small businesses affected by the pandemic. Now they’re taking the next step by expanding the tool to Instagram. This will further grant small businesses an amazing opportunity to make the most out of a tough situation.

Reasons to Start a Fundraiser on Instagram

This is not Instagram’s first foray into the world of fundraising and donations. The social media app added a feature earlier in the year allowing people to raise money for nonprofit organizations through Instagram Live, where viewers donate while the fundraising creator streams live content. They also created a “donation sticker” nonprofits could display on their Instagram Stories, allowing people to donate by simply clicking on the sticker. Both tools have been extremely popular, and the company reports they have already helped raise over $65 million dollars for COVID-19 and racial justice fundraisers through both Facebook and Instagram this year.

As the country goes through various stages of quarantine and reopening, some businesses have remained unable to open for longer than anticipated, putting them in serious danger of having to close due to the loss of income. Instagram’s new Personal Fundraiser tool is an excellent opportunity to capitalize on the app’s massive success to recoup some of those losses. Using fundraising tools on social media can be a great way of allowing loyal customers to support the business, despite remaining closed. For those businesses that are open, albeit in a more limited capacity, funds raised can help finance the personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies necessary to keep both staff and customers safe.

Preparing to Fundraise on Instagram

One of the most important things to remember when looking to ask for donations online is to respect your viewers. If you only post on social media when you’re looking for monetary aid, you run the risk of appearing disingenuous, interested in nothing more than people’s wallets. No one wants to be bombarded with fundraisers and made to feel like a walking pocketbook. Small businesses, in particular, thrive off of a strong relationship with the local community. If you are relatively new to Instagram, now is a great time to start engaging with your followers on the platform.

Sharing your story and highlighting your staff is a great way to humanize your business. People will appreciate your transparency and be more willing to support you when you decide to launch your campaign. But user engagement isn’t limited to simply creating more posts or uploading more stories. In fact, there is such a thing as posting too much. Redundant content clogging up people’s feeds is a surefire way to get unfollowed. Don’t post more than once per day, and when you do share new content, try to keep it fresh and interesting.

There are other ways to reach your followers. In lieu of simply creating more posts, consider responding to comments on your posts and highlighting user-generated content instead. This further strengthens the relationship with your customers and can offer you free promotional material in the process.

Finally, make sure to have specific goals in mind for the money you raise, so that when the campaign is complete, you can post content on Instagram showing how the money was used. This gives your donors a sense of real accomplishment and makes them more likely to continue donating in the future.

How to Use the New Personal Fundraiser Tool

Once you’re ready to launch your fundraising campaign, the process is fairly simple. Start by navigating to your profile and selecting “Edit Profile,” followed by “Add Fundraiser” and “Raise Money.” At this juncture, you are given the option to pick a photo as the cover of your campaign, choose the applicable fundraiser category, and add any relevant details. When you’ve finished entering your information and payment method, the fundraiser gets submitted to Instagram for approval.

Make sure to put thought into the aspects of your fundraising campaign. A compelling story, specific, achievable goals, and a visually gripping photo can go a long way. You want to ensure that your chosen image grabs people’s attention, while the description helps convince them of why they should donate to your cause.

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Once approved, the campaign will go live and remain so for a set duration of 30 days. From that point on, you have the ability to make changes if necessary, including updating the details, ending the campaign early, or extending the deadline by another 30 days. When debating how long to run your campaign, keep in mind that donated funds are deposited to you once it officially ends. It’s also important to note that you can only have one active fundraiser at a time, so choose your priorities carefully.

Businesses already on Instagram will benefit greatly from this new tool. But businesses new to social media can benefit too. Even if the updates to Instagram are not currently available in your area, now is an excellent time to start working on your social media presence and increase your user engagement. As the app continues to increase in popularity, it’s clearer now than ever before that the future in marketing is in social media.