facebook for nonprofits

Facebook for nonprofits: your need to know takeaways

Facebook launched a new website that’s focused on the nonprofit community. Facebook for Nonprofits is yet another resource aimed at nonprofits in the last year and is already proving to be a valuable resource for the community. The materials range in breadth and scope, and cover topics from fundraising to optimizing your Facebook Page.

This site is definitely something you’ll want to bookmark and reference in the coming year as you plan for campaigns, events and fundraising. It is broken into four easy-to-navigate sections: Getting Started, Raise Awareness, Activate Supporters and Raise Funds.

For now, let’s look at the top takeaways shared in each of the sections.

Getting Started

Takeaway #1: You can categorize your Page into sub-categories like Non-Profit Organization, NGO, Education or Political Organization.

While Page categories are first chosen when your page is created, it’s also possible to change them later.

Choosing the right Page category might seem insignificant, but it’s actually pretty important for your success on the platform. Having the correct Page category means having access to the right Page features and tools. For example, only Pages under the nonprofit category have access to the donation call-to-action button. (This appears on page and in ads)

It’s also a good idea to have the right Page category when reaching new supporters. You have one first impression with new supporters. If your Page isn’t accurate or well thought-out it can be off putting to supporters. At best, they’ll leave confused; at worst, they may leave thinking poorly of your organization.

Takeaway #2: Pages can celebrate milestones just like personal profiles.

This feature is a bit of a hidden gem that not too many Pages take advantage of. It’s a great way to celebrate a signed bill, a passed law, the opening of a new building or a big fundraising goal met.

Plus, once you have a few milestones created, this feature begins to be its own timeline of your organization’s success. How cool is that?

Takeaway #3: You can import your mailing list and invite them to like your Facebook Page.

Most nonprofits have a supporter list of some sort. Whether it’s your list of donors, volunteers or newsletter subscribers, this feature is especially powerful for newer Facebook Pages that are just starting out. This is one of the best ways to “transfer” that hard-earned list of supporters to this new piece of real estate.

Raise Awareness

Takeaway #1: A conversational, impersonal tone will win out over a formal, calculated one.

Practicing this style and tone will encourage more supporters to engage with your content and thus increase your overall reach:

“Facebook is a place where people connect with friends and communicate in a personal, casual way. Organizations tend to succeed when they also use a conversational, authentic style. Overly formal language can feel out of place. When writing a message, whether it’s funny or serious, think about how you’d write it to a friend.”

Takeaway #2: Many supporters view Facebook on a mobile device.

This means that your posts and content must be engaging and compatible on a small screen. If not, you’ll be missing out on a large section of your audience:

“Many people view Facebook on a mobile phone, so always consider what your post will look like on a small screen. Aim to grab attention with simple, short posts. Before linking to a website, check how it looks on a phone first.”

Takeaway #3: You can send posts to a subset of your audience.

Before you click the Publish button on a post, did you know that you could choose who in your audience will receive your post? This is a powerful way to further personalize and speak to your audience.

You’ll be able to select a specific target of people who like your Page by age, gender, location, language or interests.

Takeaway #4: If you have the content and resources, post every day.

The number one way to reach and engage more of your supporters on Facebook is to post more often. This means posting two to three times a day if you can.

“If you’re new to creating content for social media, aim for a post 2–3 times per week. Eventually, you’ll want to post daily to maintain a presence in your followers’ News Feeds.”

An easy way to jumpstart your increased posting is to monitor and share content from Inspiration.

Activate Supporters

Takeaway #1: If you want supporters to take an action, don’t bury your ask.

In English class, we were taught to craft elegant prose. We were trained to spin pages of logic and framing before presenting that killer idea. Take all that and flip it on its head. State your purpose and ask up front, then spin your prose and reasoning second.

“Don’t hide the call to action. Provide appropriate context for people to understand why they should act, but make sure the request for action is prominent.”

Takeaway #2: Encourage event attendees to talk about and share the event on Facebook.

It’s time to blur the line between the “digital world” and the “physical world.” Use Facebook to invite supporters to your real-world event and then encourage them to live post about the event while it happens to further engage the digital supporters who couldn’t make it.

Creating a strong link between your digital campaigns and physical campaigns will help boost each. Don’t keep them in separate silos.

Takeaway #3: Provide your online supporters with action kits.

Want volunteers to help you online? They’ll need some resources:

“Invite supporters to coordinate an event or activity on your organization’s behalf. To help manage your brand and reputation, provide action kits that supporters can use to make sure their activities are aligned with your goals. Include things someone would need to host an activity, like t-shirt graphics, printable brochures, promotional posters, gifts and more. Include instructions that explain how to use your action kit to create impact.

If cost of creating and shipping physical items is a concern, consider creating a digital action kit. You can use a file sharing service to upload resources and share the link on your organization’s Page or event.”

Raise Funds

Takeaway #1: When fundraising, show progress and impact.

How far are you from your goals? Is there a progress bar that supporters can reference? What impact do you hope this money will bring? What impact has your organization had in the past?

“You can use your Facebook Page to share both stories and statistics about how previous donations have helped your organization create impact. This helps people envision the value of their potential contributions.”

Answering these questions will also encourage supporters to stay engaged with the campaign and share it with their own networks. (All ActionSprout actions come with the ability to turn on a goal bar.)

Takeaway #2: Suggest a donation amount up front.

Allowing donors to select a default amount to donate can increase the overall number of donations you receive. Most—if not all—donation tools offer this option, so take advantage of it.

“Suggesting a few amounts people can contribute makes their decision to donate easier and removes one of the barriers to completing a donation. Consider your audience and the scope of your campaign when deciding on amounts to suggest.”

Takeaway #3: Your donation ask must feel urgent.

What will make your potential donors stop scrolling and pay attention? Once you have their attention, what will convince them to donate? If they feel like they can come back and donate whenever you’ve lost them, they will not come back. Instead, you must convey why they must make a donation now.

“You only have people’s attention for a few moments, so make the most of your time by being clear and inspiring a sense of urgency.”

While the strategies above are important, you’ll want to take the time to read through the website on your own. Facebook’s done an amazing job of compiling how nonprofits can best take advantage of what Facebook has to offer.

Following the listed strategies in each area of your Facebook Page and strategy will undoubtedly boost the overall performance of your organization’s FB Page.