Fight Poverty

Can Supporters Effectively Fight Poverty Through Social Media?

Co-founded by Bono, ONE is an international campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 6 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. They primarily work with political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases; increase investments in agriculture and nutrition; and demand greater transparency so that governments are accountable to their citizens.

Recently, we had the pleasure to talk with Garth Moore, the U.S. Digital Director at ONE.

How has your strategy / options about Facebook changed over time?

It’s constantly evolving as Facebook changes their algorithms. Originally, Facebook felt more like a broadcast medium. But, as our base has grown on it, so has our strategy. Facebook leads people to ONE with our great content; engages members with local event postings and comments; and gets people to take action on our issues (primarily signing petitions, but also doing other things).

Tell us a bit about your Facebook Page (What’s the audience like, what kind of content do they enjoy the most, how often do you post?)

ONE has several Facebook channels and we post to our main channel probably 4–7 times a day. Our audience is pretty responsive and we encourage them to comment, ask questions, and even push back on our content or actions. We don’t shy away from engaging directly with our members—we love it!

Like most organizations, our fans love listicles and photo albums! We also try to make sure to share news items with them and keep them informed on when our issues make the news. And our fans love content on girls and women programs, which is a big focus in our work this year.

Tell us about a successful action. Can you tell us what went into creating the Action?

Our best action, so far, has been our Poverty is Sexist petition. There will be new development goals for the world decided on this year, and we think the key to success in beating poverty starts with supporting girls and women. Our petition tells world leaders to put their issues on the forefront of the new global goals to end poverty.

We had thousands of petition signers within a day or two. Then, when we reposted the action a month later, we got even more signers. It’s our flagship petition for the year leading up to the United Nations Week in September, so we’ll run it a few more times and expect great results.

What did you learn from this success more broadly? Is there anything you do differently now?

Our actions with the broadest appeal do better. Now we want to test language and images to see what works and what will inspire people to add their name to an action that already has almost 1 million names on it.

What did you learn about your audience from this success?

We learned that a few of them take more than one action. We love these members! So, we want to get every action that will be on the site into ActionSprout and then really target our Facebook Page likers to take these actions in Facebook.

Do you have any advice for other nonprofits based on your learning?

Test! Test! Test! Test petition or event headlines and language. Test the same action with 3–4 images and see which one does the best. Test 2–3 promoted posts against each other to see which ones drive the most actions. You could do a test a week and in one month, have a highly optimized action and way to promote it. It’s worth carving 3–4 hours max each week to do it.


  • Broadcasting channel to community outlet. Over time, Facebook Pages have shifted from broadcast channels to places of community engagement. Fans today come to Pages with the expectation of community involvement and participation. They expect an answer to their comments and questions, and desire a connection with Page managers. It’s important to keep this frame of mind when running your Page. The more you can create and encourage this atmosphere, the more successful your Page will be.
  • Repost actions for even greater engagement. Garth states that reposting one of his most successful actions led to even more success. This is an important example that illustrates the significance of reposting: even successful actions can benefit from being reposted. We recommend reposting each action 3–4 times for maximum results. Many organizations have even enjoyed success reposting actions hundreds of times.
  • Test everything. As Garth states, one of the most powerful things you can do is test and experiment. You’ll never truly know what will lead the most people to take action for your cause unless you experiment with different angles, asks and formats. You have little to lose and much to gain in the game of testing
  • Post multiple times a day on Facebook. This gives your supporters lots of opportunities to engage with your content and mission. The more engaged they are, the more likely they are to complete your actions.