Facebook’s New Live Streaming Features and Fundraising Opportunities

It was inevitable, and I’m surprised it’s taken this long, but Facebook have launched* their rival to Zoom with some new features for live-streaming and engaging with online communities.

I stepped into the world of virtual events in 2019 and have been running virtual conferences, events and fundraisers for people without the time or resource to do it themselves ever since.

So initially, I was excited about an extra tool to reach more people. But what will these new features do and how do they work?

In this article, I’ve covered the individual features and what opportunities this could mean for the newer world (to some) of virtual fundraising.

*functions are being trialled in unspecified countries and are expected to be made available to all by end of May.

Messenger Rooms

Rooms is Facebook’s new feature to rival, you guessed it, Zoom.

Intended only for ‘personal and social use’, Rooms will allow up to 50 guests to connect together with ‘friends, family, and people who share the same interests’ via video chat.

Users can manage attendees, create sub-rooms for smaller chats, and create personal links for non-FB users so they can still attend.

And yes, you can still use your Tiger King virtual backgrounds.

It will be available on Instagram and WhatsApp in future.

Opportunities

  • Free and no time limit
  • Facebook has a more community feel than Zoom and people may be likely to respond to events on a more familiar platform
  • Charities can host virtual events and integrate with Facebook’s fundraising tools
  • Rooms take priority on Facebook timelines, even above Stories. Charities hosting an event in Rooms attract the attention of all followers as they log in
  • Supporters familiar with Facebook could be more likely to host virtual fundraisers for you with their audience on your behalf – Rooms is less intense than a Facebook Live for those not familiar with live streaming and virtual events

Things to Keep in Mind

  • You’ll still be at the mercy of Facebook’s changes and updates, and some supporters may be averse to using the platform for privacy issues, so be mindful of hosting everything on Facebook
  • Collect data and information of attendees pre-event as Facebook won’t give you this
  • There is (at present) no ability to increase room size so events are limited to 50 people

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Facebook Live

Not a new feature, of course, but Facebook have silently brought back the ability to add guests onto live events along with the ability to create paid-for only Facebook Live events, the ability to add a Facebook Donate button, and an audio-only option for supporters in low bandwidth areas to be able to call in.

Opportunities

  • More inclusive experience for supporters without the ability to access via the internet
  • Live streams with guests are always more engaging, and supporters can meet more of your team if joining an event run by you, or share hosting duties with a friend on their own events
  • Paid-for events add exclusivity to some content and can raise more money for your cause
  • Integrated donate button means it doesn’t get lost on your page or amongst the comments

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Hosts will need to manage on-screen content themselves and live streams can featureĀ eitherĀ guest conversations or shared-screen and audio-only from host only – you can’t do both or a combination
  • You don’t get data the of those attending or donating via Facebook Live which is key for traditional fundraising events. Services like GivePanel can help you with stewardship of those donating and is worth looking into

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Facebook Live Producer

Similar to how we run our events on Fundraising Everywhere, Facebook Live Producer is a background tool that allows you to manage your virtual live streams and pre-schedule your live content.

Opportunities

  • Ability to show supporters your screen can make a more interactive event. A virtual tour, how to use a new area of your website etc. means different content to mix up your engagement
  • Planned content can make virtual event newbies feel more comfortable
  • Ability to stream on page, profile or group that you are admin of

Things to Keep in Mind

  • You can’t share your screen and camera at the same time
  • You can’t share your screen and then switch to camera, if you select share screen pre-event it will stay share-screen for the duration and likewise for opting for camera
  • You can’t bring guests on via Facebook Live Producer
  • You can’t display banners, tickers or attendee comments

WhatsApp

Facebook are rolling out the ability to host eight-person video calls via WhatsApp to compete with the post-lockdown Houseparty app boom we experienced with people wanting to video call more than one person at a time.

Opportunities

  • Normalising video calls is great for fundraising relationships post-pandemic
  • More people on a video call makes it less intense for the other person
  • Ability to host committee/team meetings away from Zoom

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Not everyone uses/likes WhatsApp – and not everyone wants to video call!

Live streaming is increasingly becoming one of the key ways to engage with supporters during Coronavirus and the ‘face to face’ element of live hosting creates a feeling of connection and engagement we crave whilst kept in our homes.

Charities who get confident and engaging in this way will see huge benefits from supporter engagement and fundraising as the effects of COVID-19 on how we interact as a society continue.

For more inspiration, read these articles on virtual live streaming fundraisers and get in touch if we can help you with any of your live streaming fundraising plans.

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