Facebook Ads Marketing for Non-Profit Organizations

Are you interested in using Facebook ads to grow your nonprofit organization’s donor base? If yes, then you have come to the right place. Hi, my name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a digital marketing agency. My company specializes in Facebook Ads, Google Ads and remarketing. In the over 10 years that I have been in business, I have worked with quite a number of non profit organizations. Their marketing needs are unique. For one thing, they survive on the generosity of their donors. So, can these businesses benefit from advertising on Facebook? That’s the question that I am going to answer in this post. The article has the following sections;

  1. Why Facebook Ads are the way to go for non-profit organizations.
  2. Useful resources.
  3. How to create your own Facebook Ads.

Why Facebook Ads are the way to go for non-profit organizations

As a non-profit organization, your primary goal will be to reach as many people as is possible in order to get more donations. Attracting the right kind of donor at the right time is important as far as the survival of your venture is concerned.

Let’s say you are a company offering sanitation solutions to third world countries, as an example. You have come up with a revolutionary concept for modular toilets. But before you can get them to people in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, you need donations.

That’s where Facebook really comes into its element.  The following are some of the reasons why Facebook Ads are the way to go for non-profit organizations;

Facebook Ads are affordable

Non-profit organizations do not usually have activities that generate profit. They rely on the benevolence of donors across the world. So, the issue of cost is important. Most of them will be looking to save wherever possible. That way, the bulk of the money that they have can be directed towards worthy causes.

The good news is that Facebook ads are affordable. So, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank by advertising on the platform. And the ROI from Facebook ads is actually very good. That’s particularly the case for charitable organizations. These do not have as many issues attracting people as do other businesses on Facebook.

Your Target Audience is already on Facebook

One of the really great things about doing Facebook ads marketing for non-profit organizations is that the people that these organizations target are already on the platform. Today, Facebook has a daily active user base of over 1.87 billion. 

In fact, those figures continue to rise. By the time you may read this article, it’s possible that those numbers will have grown exponentially. You can check out the current statistics in the graph below from Statista.

Statistic: Number of daily active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2021 (in millions) | StatistaFind more statistics at Statista

But what do these numbers mean? Well, they simply mean each business that’s out there can find the right audience on Facebook. That’s not saying it’s easy to get people to respond to an ad. In fact, it can be very difficult. That’s the reason why so many attempts at advertising on Facebook end in failure.

You need to be very sure what you are doing. People do not go to Facebook to buy stuff. They go there for fun. They would rather watch funny videos instead of following worthy causes from charitable organizations.

That’s not saying all is lost. In fact, charitable organizations have an easier task than most other businesses. People respond positively to worthy cases, wherever they may be.

Audience Targeting is Easy

Another great thing about Facebook ads is that you have many audience targeting options. That increases the chances that your ads will reach the right audience. The following are the audience targeting options when doing Facebook ads marketing for non-profit organizations.

You can target a custom audience

Custom audiences are probably the best option when creating Facebook ads. A custom audience is composed of people who have previously interacted with your business in one way or the other. Perhaps they liked your Facebook page. Or maybe they have previously visited your website.

Your Facebook ads can be targeted at a custom audience

These people are easier to work with. That’s particularly the case for charitable organizations. Perhaps you have people who have already been making donations to your cause. It’s easy to send out a call to these people to get them to make fresh donations.

You can include lookalike audiences in your custom audiences

Here is the thing; you may not have enough people within your custom audience to really make an impact with your ads. Perhaps only a few people have visited your website. Or maybe you don’t have enough likes on your Facebook page to make an ad campaign using a custom audience feasible.

What do you do in that case? Well, you have the option of also targeting a lookalike audience, along with your custom audience. Lookalike audiences are made up of people who may not have previously interacted with your business, but who have interacted with other businesses that are similar to yours. 

So, in this case, your lookalike audience will be composed of people who have previously interacted with other non-profit organizations. That’s a great way of boosting the reach of your Facebook ads. It ensures that you are marketing yourself to the widest possible audience.

You can create a new audience

However, you may also want to target a new audience. That way, you can continue to grow the number of people who contribute to your non-profit organization.

You have a number of tools to help you target a new audience when doing Facebook Ads Marketing for non-profit organizations.

We will talk about these in the ad set section. But fact remains that custom audiences are easier to sell to. They already know about your business, increasing the likelihood that they will contribute to your cause.

Useful Resources

A Facebook Page

A Facebook Page is a must for those wishing to market their businesses on Facebook. Facebook Pages are created free of charge. They serve as platforms for interaction between a business and its customers. Read More. 

The Facebook Pixel

The Facebook Pixel is another useful tool that non-profit businesses need to start using on Facebook. Pixel helps businesses generate custom audiences by tracking activity on their websites. Read More. 

Video Ads 

For Non-profit organizations, videos are the best option when creating ads on Facebook. You can also opt for single image ads. But video ads are better able to convey the feeling behind what you do. Read more.  

You should never blindly jump into creating Facebook Ads. We have already noted that Facebook has a problem of intent. People who go there do not intent to buy anything. So, you have a harder time trying to convince them to donate to your cause. 

It’s different for Google, as an example. That’s something that I talk about in my Facebook Ads vs Google Ads article. With Google, there is clear search intent. 

A person that looks up “restaurant near me,” probably intends to eat out. So, if you appear at the top on their search results, chances are high that you will get them to come to your establishment.

Having said that, there are some useful resources that non-profit organizations can use to get the most out of Facebook Ads. The following are some of these resources;

Facebook Pixel for Retargeting

Diagram of Retargeting

The Facebook pixel is a great tool when creating Facebook ads for non-profit organizations. As an organization, chances are high that you already have a website. Pixel is a tool that you can use to retarget people from that website to Facebook. But what is Pixel?

Pixel is a piece of code that gets installed on your website. From there, visitor activity is tracked. People are then shown relevant ads the next time that they visit Facebook. As an example, a person may have visited your donations page, only to leave without contributing anything.

Or someone could have visited your gallery. It means they are interested in your work. From there, that person will likely go to Facebook. Or they will eventually find their way there. The moment that they arrive there, they will be shown your ads.

These ads will feature the products that they were interested in on your site. If they showed an interest in your donations page, you will have a second chance to convince them to contribute to a worthy cause.

But that’s not all that Pixel is about. The Facebook pixel dashboard provides you with a wealth of information relating to your website’s performance. It tells you how people are using your website. Which devices do they use? At what times? That’s some of the information that you get here.

Video ads

Facebook ads can be in any one of three formats. For charitable organizations, perhaps the best format is the video format. People like that visual aspect, particularly when it comes to contributing to worthy causes.

You can, as an example, have a video showing a dilapidated toilet in sub Saharan Africa. Ask people to contribute to improve people’s health, and they will likely do so.

The thing to note is that video ads should be no more than 15 seconds long. If you go beyond that, you will have difficulty retaining people’s attention.

Use the video to tell a story. That’s the important bit. People are itching to help. You only need to know how to get them to open up. Tell the story of woe, along with that of hope, and you will have them piling up to become regular donors to your cause.

Custom audiences

This is something that we have already referred to. A custom audience is composed of people who have interacted with your business in one way or the other.

Custom audiences are good in that you are not targeting people who have never heard about you. However, you may also want to target new people with some of your Facebook ads to increase your non-profit’s pool of donors.

Do you have a Facebook Page?

In this article, we focus on the paid aspect of marketing nonprofit organizations on Facebook. However, that’s not the only tool at your disposal. In fact, you can start marketing your non-profit free of charge using a Facebook Page.

That’s something that most charitable organizations are already doing. A Facebook Page can be the center of interaction between your organization and current and potential donors. You can also use it to showcase your successes, which serves as a motivating factor for people to join your cause.

I have an article on this blog in which I talk about the best ways of running a Facebook business page. The tips that I give there apply even here, so you may want to read it to find out more.

Coming up with your own Facebook Ads

Now that we have covered the basics, it’s time to start creating our Facebook ads for non-profit organizations. Ads on Facebook get created in Ads Manager. You should sign up for a business manager account to get going. The process of creating your first ad has 3 steps;

  • You begin by choosing a Campaign objective
  • Working on the Ad Set
  • Finally, you can create and upload your ad

Choose a Campaign Objective

Choosing a Campaign Objective is the first port of call when doing Facebook Ads marketing for nonprofit organizations. The thing to note here is that Facebook gives you 11 campaign objectives. From these, you can only have one for use in your ads.

It’s important to know what you wish to achieve with each ad. Perhaps you wish to create brand awareness. Maybe you wish to get subscribers to give donations for your cause. The following are the available Facebook ads Campaign Objectives;

  • Lead generation
  • Brand awareness
  • App installs
  • Conversions
  • Video views
  • Messages
  • Store traffic
  • Traffic
  • Catalog sales
  • Reach
  • Engagement

Which one should I go for?

Choose a Campaign Objective

You don’t have to be hung up about the best campaign objective when doing Facebook ads for non-profit organizations. Nothing is cast in stone as far as advertising on Facebook is concerned. A number of the Campaign objectives given above could very well.

For this example, we will go with Brand awareness as our Campaign Objective. We wish to recruit new members who can donate to our non-profit.

So, we are looking to sign up new donors for our non-profit organization. To get there, we need to reach as many people as is possible, and Brand awareness helps us do that.

The Ad Set

From choosing a Campaign Objective, you go to the Ad Set. This is of particular importance when creating Facebook Ads for non-profit organizations.

Audience targeting is really where most people get it wrong when it comes to advertising non government organizations on Facebook. 

Take the wrong turn here, and you could very well kiss goodbye any chances of success that you may have had. The Ad Set has the following settings on which you need to work;

Budget and Schedule

What’s your budget and schedule

Budgeting is usually of worry, particularly for nonprofit organization. We have already noted that they rely almost solely on donations. As such, they are looking to cut costs whenever possible.

In the Ad Set, one of the first things that you are going to have to do is to lay out your budget and schedule. 

We should point out that Brand awareness campaigns tend be very cheap. You can launch one for as little as $1 a day. For that amount, you will reach lots of people.

It’s important, in any case, to retain control of your spending. You don’t want to have Facebook deduct money from your account even when you are no longer interested in having a particular ad continue to run.

To get control of your spending, you can either have start and end dates for your campaigns. Alternatively, you can set a lifetime budget. By doing this, you ensure that you know exactly how much you will have spend by the end of the set period.

By doing this, you ensure that there is no danger of overspending. So, if you do like we have done in the above screenshot, you could set a daily budget of $5, scheduled to run for 7 days. It means in a week, you will have spent $35. At the end of that week, your ad will stop running.


The audience section is where you define your target audience. To whom do you wish to have your ads delivered? When setting up your target audience, you have the option to go either with a custom audience or to create a completely new audience.

Custom audiences work best where you are targeting people who already know about your business. Perhaps, you wish to remind people who are already affiliated to your non profit to make donations. 

For this example, we will go with a new audience. That’s because we wish to target completely new people. The hope, as mentioned earlier, is to increase our pool of donors. That’s in line with the Band awareness campaign objective that we chose.  


Choose where you wish to have your Facebook Ads shown

The Locations setting allows you to choose where you wish to have your Facebook Ads delivered. What you choose here depends on the type of business that you are running.  

Most businesses are localized. As an example, a plumber will probably only operate in a particular town. No matter how good you may be, you can’t drive across the country to sort out issues on the other side of the country.

However, nonprofit organizations do not have these restrictions. In fact, these organizations often have a reach that’s global. For this example, we will have our ad delivered across the United States. You can choose as many locations for delivery of your ads as you wish.


Which age ranges usually donate to your cause? If you have this information, then you can use the Age setting to define them. For our example, we will target people over 18. These are the people who we expect to want to donate to our venture.


When doing Facebook ads, you can also target people based on their gender. That’s usually appropriate for companies that produce gender specific products. For our example, we will target all genders.


Maybe you wish to have your ads delivered to Spanish speakers, or to speakers of any other language. If that is the case, you can use the languages setting to reach out to these people. For this example, we will leave things on the defaults.

Detailed Targeting

Our audience is good, but it’s still too broad. You may want to narrow it to increase your chances of success. But how do you do that?

Zooming in on your target audience is done in the Detailed Targeting section. The section uses demographics, interests and behaviors to target the correct people.

Remember that Facebook has a wealth of information about its users. It knows when they were born, where they live, what they like and much more.

That’s useful information when creating ads. It allows you to narrow down on the correct audience, boosting your chances of success.

Detailed Targeting

For our example, we will target the following groups of people who are interested in the following;

  • Non-governmental organization
  • Nonprofit organization
  • Charity and causes
  • Donations

The Ad 

Now that you have your audience set up, it’s time to create the ad itself. This is an important step. The people that you are targeting won’t actually see any of the work that we have been doing so far. What they will see is the ad itself. So, you need to make it good.

Remember what we said about people not going to Facebook for work. They are there for fun. It’s up to you, therefore, to break into this mind frame. There are a number of things that you can do in this regards;

Make your ad catchy

You need to create an ad that’s catchy and to the point. People do not have the patience to spend more than a few seconds trying to decode your ad.

Make it short and simple, but irresistible. That way, they won’t be able to ignore your ad. We have already noted that video ads work best here.

Tell a story

Yes, you only have a few seconds in which to make your pitch, but that’s enough to tell an entire story, if you know what you are doing.

In fact, you can tell a very good story using a single image. So, in this situation, the story should not be about you. It should be about the people who you wish to help.


This article was dedicated to showing you how to do Facebook ads marketing for non-profit organizations. The aim was to get you in the right track. I noted that non-profits actually have an easier time advertising on Facebook than other businesses. People want to help. All that you need to do is to reach out to them.

Facebook ads are made in different ways, depending on your choice of Campaign Objective. If you choose Catalog sales, as an example, you will have to set up a catalog featuring your products. The catalog sales campaign objective is usually used by eCommerce stores.

Anyway you may wish to learn more about advertising on Facebook. If that is the case, feel free to get in touch with me. This is what I do for a living. 

Also feel free to sign up for my DIY Facebook ads marketing course. It has all the material that you need to really master the art of creating your own Facebook ads. You can sign up using the section below!

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