How I reached 1,681 people on Facebook in less than 24 hours: A guide to contest fundraising.

December 14, 2014

Author: Angela Noble

Author: Angela Noble

Tuesday, December 2 is Giving Tuesday. I’m not sure when that became a popular thing – perhaps when everyone felt guilty about being so violent on Black Friday and spending so much money on Cyber Monday…

Giving is a great thing to do any time of year, but as long as everyone is sharing what they’re giving on this “special” date, why not take advantage of that and do a little social marketing.

When I realized it was #GivingTuesday on Tuesday (this was not planned in advance), I decided to do a little social experiment on Facebook. I was already planning to donate some money to my charity of choice, the ASPCA, sometime at the end of 2014. So, I thought, why don’t I turn this into a sort of contest where I ask my followers on Facebook to share my post and in exchange, I’ll give money to the ASPCA.

My followers will feel like they helped raise the money, my brand will get some exposure, and the ASPCA will get my donation as intended.

I wanted to donate between $50 and $150. My brand has 1,125 followers on Facebook, but only 50 or so are really engaged (these are the people who like, comment on, and share my posts). So I did a quick estimate: in the best case scenario, 50 of my followers will share my post. If I have a maximum donation amount of $150, I should say each share is worth $3.


Now, there is a risk associated with this plan. What if 100 of my followers shared it and in turn, some of their friends re-shared it? I could end up having to donate a lot of money that might not be in my budget. I figured this was a possible, but unlikely scenario – but I was holding my breath a little! I did actually tag the ASPCA in my post, so my biggest fear was that they’d share it with their larger following. Then I really would be in a predicament!

Luckily for me, my estimate was just about right. I even edited my original post to include valuing any Likes at $1 because a lot of people were Liking the post rather than sharing it.

I didn’t initially set a deadline for the fundraiser, but I figured midnight on Tuesday would be a good time since this was “Giving Tuesday” specific. On Wednesday morning I updated the post to say the fundraiser had ended so anyone who saw the shared posts from then on would not be misinformed and keep sharing the post thinking they were still helping raise money.


I think this is a very important final step to take for the sake of being transparent. The post received a few more shares after the update, but I think it would have been shared a lot more had I not posted the update. This would have been great for my brand, but a little deceiving to those reading and sharing the post.

Overall, the post had 43 Likes and 22 Shares before I closed it on Wednesday. I even posted this little snapshot in the comments of the post.


At $1 per Like that’s $43, plus $3 for each of the 22 Shares ($66) = $109. I posted the final given amount in my post update.

Most surprisingly, my post reached 1,681 people – many of whom are friends of my followers. Almost all of our business is generated through referrals from people who know us (friends and previous or current clients). The people this post reached through the shares are these friends-of-friends who will potentially be our future clients.

Other than sharing content like blog posts, a promotional contest/fundraiser like this is definitely the best way I’ve found to use Facebook to promote your brand.

In this type of contest, everyone wins!