Gearing Up for Giving Tuesday?

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Three Tools that You Need to Know Before Spending Your Next Dollar on Facebook Ads (for Giving Tuesday and Year-Round)

By Bradley Caro Cook, Ed.D.

There is a seemingly contradictory mitzvah to both count the Jews, and to not count the Jews. Count them in a group anonymously through a half-shekel yes, count them one by one by name … no. (Parshat Bamidbar)

Facebook and Instagram take a similar approach to their advertising. They provide the opportunity to include target constituents within your facebook advertising … but do not tell you exactly whose page your advertisement appeared on. Essentially these leads us to wonder are we actually in front of who we need to be in order to be successful with our campaigns?

As leaders of Jewish organizations, we collectively spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on social media advertising, with a vague idea of who specifically we are targeting.

Unfortunately, many of our advertising, public relations, marketing, and social media consultants are missing the boat on this one, and are using approaches, which are outdated. Or we are doing our social media in-house and not making the most of our advertising dollars.

Another problem is that since Jewish audiences are small, it is difficult to achieve your minimum on Facebook for targeting. No worries though, I’ll share with you how to approach this below.

Since Facebook is constantly updating and becoming more sophisticated, I’ve put together this basic guide of what you need to know to be successful with ad targeting and creating your audience. (Beyond just targeting those that already like your page, other’s pages, or targeted demographics).

Facebook has three tools to help us through this process … and if you aren’t currently using them, you are likely flushing your advertising dollars down the toilet. In addition, you are missing a key opportunity to target and expand your constituent base.

Before I go into the specific tools, I want to provide you a resource with step by step instructions and resources on how to do what I describe below. A pet peeve of mine is those that tell you to do something, but don’t provide the resources to do so. You can access the guides and other resources here.

Tool 1: Custom Audiences

On Facebook, you can upload your email list as a “custom audience.” This means that only those who are on the list, and those that line up with Facebook’s database, will be targeted.

If you have Mailchimp, you can directly connect your Mailchimp account.

This will ensure your Facebook and Instagram ads are reaching your constituents, whether it’s for your upcoming gala, giving a Tuesday campaign, Birthright trip, or camp enrollment.

Tool 2: Lookalike Audiences

If you have a custom audience of at least 1,000 contacts, you can create a lookalike audience. This means that Facebook will analyze the contacts in your custom audience, find their similarities, and create a much broader audience for your campaign. Then, within that lookalike audience, you are able to narrow it down by income level, household size, age, and other demographics.

Tool 3: Facebook Pixel

Do you ever see Facebook ads for a product right after you’ve viewed that product online? Well, that’s because of the Facebook Pixel. Your nonprofit can use this targeting option on Facebook to show your organization’s campaign to people who have already chosen to visit your website. By installing the Facebook pixel base code on your website, you will be able to start retargeting people immediately with Facebook and Instagram Ads.

In addition, you can retarget just the people who clicked on your ads to make your advertising go even further.

For example, if someone clicks on your “donate now” button, a pixel will save this information and you can direct Facebook ads to those individuals throughout the year. With larger volume, you can also create a lookalike audience.

Note: To make the most out of a Pixel being installed, make sure there is a CTA (Call To Action) button or link installed that people will click on. For example, if you have 1,500 visitors to your website and no one clicks on the page where you have the Pixel installed, Facebook will not have the opportunity to collect the data it needs for your Pixel to fully work.

To find more resources on this topic, I have compiled a quick resource guide and articles to help you on your Journey.


By implementing the strategies mentioned above, you can make sure every half-shekel or dollar spent on Facebook ads counts.

I wish you much success in all of your engagement and Giving Tuesday efforts.

Bradley Caro Cook, Ed.D. is the executive director of Career Up Now, a growth hacker, podcaster, and founder of, an R&D lab which researches and designs cutting edge methodologies and technologies for nonprofit engagement. He enjoys being a thought partner to other nonprofit professionals and encourages you to reach out to him. Bradley can be reached at, and on LinkedIn or Facebook under the name Bradley Caro Cook.