Everything in nonprofit marketing starts with a question. A question that must be answered by your donors and not your marketing department. As a nonprofit marketer, your organization exists for the greater good.

Recently, I was talking with my friends at Attentive.ly about this one fundamental question:

How can nonprofits get people who are talking about their issues on social media to engage, advocate, or donate to their organization?

To answer this question, we enlisted the help of Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), a conservation nonprofit located in Utah.

Their cause for conservation has recently lead them to fight back against Utah politicians who are attempting to undermine the recently created Bears Ears National Monument.

SUWA decided that they would like to find people who are talking about Bears Ears on Twitter to prompt them to take an action. Its one thing to talk about something you are passionate about, but its another thing to do something about it and SUWA was determined to help people move from a place of passion to action.

Attentive.ly has a great feature that allows users to create a group of people talking about a subject like #BearsEars and create a custom audience in your Facebook advertising account.

This custom audience can be used to show very specific advertising messages to people in the audience and ask them to take an action like sign a petition or give a donation.

After creating this audience within Facebook, we found 200 people who were talking about Bears Ears on Twitter that matched on Facebook so we could show them Facebook ads.

Then we went one step further and had Facebook create what’s called a look-a-like audience of those 200 people (within 1%) to give us about two million people in the United States who looked just like those 200 people who were passionate about saving Bears Ears.

We setup two adsets within our campaign. The first adset targeted just those two hundred people we pulled in from Attentive.ly. The second adset targeted the two million people, but we narrowed it down to only people in that group who also care about giving to wildlife and conservation causes.

This gave us a nice mix of people who knew SUWA and a group that did not.

We ran the test for approximately three weeks and spent $526 in advertising dollars on Facebook.

In the ad we showed a picture of Bears Ears and simply told people what SUWA was fighting for and invited them to sign the petition on SUWA’s website.

After $526 in ad spend, SUWA was able to attain 1,260 leads. That’s a cost per lead of $.36. Moreover, seven people donated $250 immediately, lowering our net CPL to $.23.