[WEBINAR]: Understanding Facebook Metrics

Big thanks to everyone who was able to join us live!

Live Recording:

Presented by Shawn Kemp on March 29th, 2016.

Notes and Resources:

  1. Don’t worry too much about page likes. Mostly they are a vanity metric.
  2. Pay attention to engagement rate of posts above all else.
  3. Get to know your Facebook Insights.
  4. Use our free reporting tool to receive weekly reports on the overall health of your Facebook page.

[WEBINAR] Understanding Facebook’s Algorithm

Big thanks to everyone who was able to join us live!

Live Recording:

Presented by Shawn Kemp on March 28th, 2016.

Notes and Resources:

  1. A written guide to the algorithm.
  2. The core values of the news feed algorithm that will never change.
  3. How the algorithm effects nonprofits according to Facebook.

Facebook can be your most Powerful Fundraising Tool

Increasingly, Organizations are Finding Success in Facebook Fundraising

Between 2012 and 2014, social donations rose by 32%.

90% of these social donations were made through Facebook. To really put that in perspective, the next highest platform, Twitter, sits at 3% of all social donations.

[well]The obvious conclusion: Social donation is growing and Facebook is king. [/well]

These findings came from a study conducted by DonorDrive, and are really quite eye-opening.

Increasingly, users are growing more comfortable with giving on Facebook and nonprofits, are getting better at encouraging and asking for these donations.

Social media (Facebook in particular) is the new frontier of giving. If your nonprofit isn’t fundraising on Facebook, you could be losing thousands in donations every year.

Here are some pro fundraising tips that will lead to more donations and passionate, engaged supporters:

Be Audience-centric

The most important part of creating a donation action is putting your audience first. Get to know them—look for patterns and clues. What actions and issues have done well previously? Past performance is a great predictor of future success. Look at past fundraising efforts and see what worked and what didn’t. You can also use Insights or the Page Analyzer to look at your posts and find what’s working. This will give you some clues on what your audience will engage with and support.

Be Solvable

Your audience has to believe that their donation will lead to positive change; can you express that? Let potential donors know how and where their money will be used. Make them believe their money will have an impact. The better you paint this story, the more donations your cause will receive, so spend some time here.

Practice the Right Content Strategies

Whether writing in the Facebook post or on the donation landing page, these tips work in all formats:

  1. Donate for change: Your supporters, no matter how loyal they are to your organization, are really donating to effect change on an issue they care about. That should be your ask.
  2. Chip in: It’s been shown in some nonprofits tests that using the word ‘donate’ actually reduces donations. Try something like ‘chip in’ or ‘pitch in’.
  3. Motivation: Using a motivational format can help catalyze activity. Try this simple format (whether in a few sentences or few paragraphs—depending on what’s appropriate): state the problem, share the solution, and tell people how they can take action to make that solution a reality.
  4. Emotion: Can you evoke an emotional reaction that will compel your audience to donate?
  5. Urgent: You only have your supporters’ attention for a few seconds. Is there a way to convey that this donation needs to be taken right away?
  6. Looking Good: Facebook is a social space. Your action should be something they want to be seen supporting. Will taking this action make your audience look good to their friends and family?
  7. Clear: Is it relatively simple to understand this donation action?
  8. Directed: It helps if the action is directed at a specific goal, e.g. keeping open a children’s hospital, saving a local park, passing legislation, etc.
  9. Goals: Set targets for donations and outcomes achieved. Targets put perspective on your campaign. No matter how much or little someone gives, they know they are chipping away at the set goal. They can easily see that their donation had an impact.

Top Tip: Issue not organization: Keep the fundraising appeal tied to supporting an issue, not the organization. Even your most dedicated supporters ultimately care more about the issues than the organization that works on them.

Pick The Right Image

Make sure that the image is powerful and attention-grabbing, but also relates directly to your action.

  1. Consistency: Your image should be the same for both the post and the landing page.
  2. Link Post: The link post format for images is optimal because when clicked, it will take your supporters directly to the landing page. Make sure that it is 1200×627.
  3. Text: If you have the ability, add your donation ask on the image text. If you decide to run ads as well, keep the text to no more than 20% of the image.


Some organizations have found that they can raise almost as much from using an upsell strategy as from doing direct fundraising appeals. If you haven’t heard of it, an upsell is a secondary action. In other words, if you have a non-fundraising action such as pledging, the next page that the action-taker will see will be a fundraising appeal.

This upsell strategy can work well because many of your supporters who took the initial action will be the same type of people who are motivated to take a fundraising action. In fact, they might already be more committed because of the initial action.

  1. Relevant: Relate the upsell fundraising appeal as much as possible to the action or issue that the action-taker is supporting. For example, if your supporter is pledging to stop bullying, ask them to fund the effort to launch an anti-bullying campaign.

  2. Clean Transition: Make sure that the transition from the action to the fundraiser isn’t jarring. Think about elements like consistent voice, style and web address.

Don’t forget to Repost!

If you are finding a fundraising action that works, keep posting it until it’s not doing as well. Jewish Voice for Peace created 11 different posts to promote their one fundraising action, whereas the Bob Brown Foundation did three posts.

Make it Simple for Supporters to Give

38% of social donations happen from a smartphone. That means the simpler and more straightforward your donation ask is, the more likely supporters are to give. Eliminating unnecessary steps and being upfront with your ask will increase the number of mobile users who complete the donation process.

Do you have the Necessary Engagement?

There is one caveat to the strategies above. Outside of the rare exception of a serious viral moment, direct Facebook fundraising first requires a sizeable engaged community. Peter Deitz puts it like this:

“Consider engagement like an open rate. According to M+R, .07% of people who receive NGO fundraising emails donate. That means, on average, you need 10K people on your email list to receive seven donations.”

Let’s look at a successful donation action that illustrates the importance of this.

  • 2,800 people engaged with the action

  • 53 people donated

  • The average donation was $25

  • Bob Brown raised $1,300 total

This kind of response requires some serious engagement.

The lesson: You’ll need a lot of regularly engaged people in order to accomplish meaningful outcomes from social fundraising.

So if you don’t have at least a few hundred people engaging with your posts, consider putting a little more time into building your engaged audience first.

At the end of the day, it’s important to be flexible and not afraid to fail. Every supporter base is as different as the causes they support. It can take a little time to figure out what your audience responds to and how they like to give.

Be patient, learn as you go, and the pieces should fall into place.

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.