Own Your List


We’ve all heard stories about people and companies that were succeeding on social media… and then “the algorithm” was changed…  and they lose a good portion of their audience.

This can happen to nonprofits, too.

As more and more nonprofits use Facebook and Instagram for fundraising, it’s good to remember that social media companies can change their algorithms or terms of service at any time. 

They can change a rule and your posts will seen by fewer people. 

This means that as you build a social media fundraising program, you are embracing more risk than when you’re building mail and email fundraising programs.

Please note: I am not advising nonprofits to completely avoid social media.  Social media can be a fantastic tool for smaller nonprofits to boost the performance of their mail and email campaigns.  Larger organizations with dedicated staff and budget can raise significant amounts of money.

But with all things social media, it’s good to acknowledge that you don’t have as much control as you do with traditional mail or email fundraising. 

This is why we counsel organizations to focus first on building their mail and email lists.  When you have limited resources, first build the systems and processes to maximize what you can highly control. 

This is doubly important because more money is raised via the mail and email than social media.

Then start to do the more speculative work of building and monetizing your social media presence.


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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