facebook goals

3 Facebook goals every nonprofit should obsess over

For too long, your average Facebook Manager thought it was about…

“Building Awareness.”

Today, we recognize how silly it is to think that awareness alone could somehow have a real impact on our mission.

Impact is the result of action, whether it’s supporters lending their voice or time to a campaign, or making a donation to support the cause.

“Engagement” is the term used to describe action online these days and the evolution from “awareness” to “engagement” is a very positive one indeed.

But, engagement is a two-way street. Engaging people requires action on your part, too.

So, how does a pro Facebook manager increase engagement? How do you track progress and know if you’re getting the most out of Facebook?

Here are three big bucket goals that you should be working to improve upon no matter if your page has 3,000 fans or 3 million fans:

  1. Reach a worthwhile number of the right people.
  2. Engage with them in meaningful ways that deepen relationships.
  3. Capturing Data so you can continue to cultivate your relationship over time.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into each of these three goals.


Reach is simply a measure of how many people your message gets to.

Let’s take a look at two Facebook pages to see what we can learn. How about OurTime’s and DoSomething.org because they both do a wonderful job.

And remember, only relative performance matters.

  • OurTime has 990 Likes.
  • DoSomething has 5,630.

If we look at fan count alone, DoSomething is putting OurTime to shame.

But not so fast! Let’s take a closer look at engagement:

OurTime’s stats:


Okay, the number to look at here is the 67,000 people talking about OurTime.org. That’s a substantial number, despite the relatively small number of Likes (exposure). Now, let’s look at the other example.

DoSomething.org stats:


64...so, which organization has greater reach? Clearly, it’s OurTime. And why are they reaching so many more people?

The answer is painfully obvious: OurTime is creating much more highly engaging, viral content. Which leads us to our next key objective.


Engagement and Reach are tightly intertwined, but it’s important to measure both separately so you know where, and on what, to focus time and energy.

Truth is, no matter how large your page is, if people aren’t engaging, your page will fail to provide return on investment.

If people aren’t engaging with actions that further your mission, how can they possibly have an impact?

Facebook is constantly making changes to the algorithm that determines which of your posts show up on which of your Fan’s walls and on which of their friend’s walls.

This algorithm is called EdgeRank.


It’s always been a source of frustration, but the most recent changes have made Facebook even less forgiving to pages that fail to post click-worthy content.

However, as we can see from OurTime’s page performance, edgerank isn’t hurting everyone.

EdgeRank can be your friend if you focus on engaging people. Posting content that engages is the only way you can hope to succeed as a Facebook manager without spending tons of money. Even if you spend that money, without engaging content, your ad dollars aren’t going to bring the return you hope for.

Measuring Engagement

This one is a little harder than reach.

Facebook provides good metrics that help us measure the overall engagement of a page, but it can be hard to really see and learn how we’re doing on a post-by-post basis.

What we really want to measure is how many people on average are engaging with each of your posts and identify those that fall flat.

Understanding average engagement per post, and being able to quickly find your top performing content are the key steps for a Facebook manager to learn what’s working.

Then you can make adjustments to the types of posts you share on your page. One quick and easy way to do this is ActionSprout’s free Facebook Engagement Analyzer.

Let’s do a quick analysis on OurTime’s Facebook pages to see how well they’re each doing with engagement.


By running the tool to generate the report, we can see that over the past hundred or so Facebook posts, OurTime, on average, has engaged 1,206 people per post. Keeping in mind that their current fan count is 990 we give them an engagement score today of 12,182. This is nothing short of extraordinary.

Okay, so posting content that gets people clicking “like”, “share” and commenting is required in order to succeed on Facebook. Does that mean you should just post softball images of kids and kittens?

Of Course Not!

Successful pages on Facebook do a good job of balancing the “cheese and broccoli. “That is, you don’t want a page that has nothing but cheap memes, however, a page with nothing but on-message all-business posts will fail over time.

The right mix is one that allows your page to continually grow while maximizing the quantity and quality of engagement you can drive from your Facebook page.

There are other important factors to be thinking about as you work to engage people on Facebook. These include:

  • Interacting with people in the comments stream.
  • Giving people who are ready for them, actions they can take that go beyond “like”, “comment” or “share”.

Now we need to explore your third key objective, as a Facebook Manager, that brings success and ensures your efforts directly impact your mission.

Capturing Data

Different organizations value different kinds of data.

Depending on what data you keep in your donor/supporter database, and on how you use email and advertising for support, you’ll be looking to capture different kinds of info from supporters.

For most organizations, the important pieces of data they can capture are names and email addresses so they can connect with their supporters directly.

Facebook can be a powerful tool for building your email list, and when coupled with your email strategy, can really help take your donor cultivation to a new level.

Capturing data is tightly connected to engagement on Facebook!

You need to be capturing information about every person that completes an action on your behalf so you can find your biggest supporters, and then reach them directly when you to.

OurTime uses ActionSprout. They’ve given us permission to share some insights gleaned from what they’re doing and the impact their actions are having.

  • Each week OurTime publishes a few posts that include a call to action asking people to do something beyond “like”, “share” or “comment”.
  • They use ActionSprout to do this, enabling them to keep action-takers on Facebook so that Facebook doesn’t punish them for driving traffic off site.
  • They’ve run 9 different actions, each of which has been included as calls to action on several posts.
  • Using ActionSprout OurTime has acquired email addresses for the equivalence of 10% of their Facebook fans.

Interestingly, of those who opted-in for email communication with OurTime on Facebook, only about 30% of those were current fans of their page.

The remaining 70% are new fans won through using engaging actions.

So there you have it.

The formula for getting the most out of your Facebook efforts, include three complimentary, intertwined objectives: Reach, Engage and Collect data.