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An engaged Facebook community can make all the difference in achieving your fundraising goals.

Just ask Rachael Zoe Miller and The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean! Since we first shared this case study in 2017, Miller’s fundraising efforts have gone even further above and beyond her original goals.

4/26/17 update: 8,635 backers have pledged $353,461 to further bring this project in this case study to life.

10/9/19 update: You can now purchase Cora Balls online or at these fine retailers.


Reaching 100 percent of your fundraising goal is a pretty good feeling. But how would you feel if your organization reached 25 times that?

Rachael Zoe Miller is the co-founder and executive director of The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean. For the past year, she’s been focusing its communication strategy squarely on Facebook. Now their page has become the primary and most frequent way they connect with supporters, share information about the cause, and inspire action to help protect the world’s oceans.

In 2017, Miller launched the group’s first Kickstarter campaign in support of its new Cora Ball, which captures microfibers shed off our clothing while in the washer.

Fundraising Goals

They primarily advertised the campaign through the project’s active Facebook page. But Miller had no idea just how active it really was.

Miller’s initial fundraising goal was $10,000. She thought maybe they’d reach in a couple of weeks. Imagine her surprise when she reached that goal only three hours later!

Why was this campaign so successful? Facebook. And we can prove it.

The Perfect Fundraising Jumpstart

With an already active Facebook community, this Kickstarter not only got off the ground easily—it rocketed off.

“Our awesome and enthusiastic community jumped in right at the launch! Because of their amazing and immediate response, we managed to get on Kickstarter’s popular page on that first day. From there, things started snowballing, mostly via Facebook!”

Nonprofits know that change comes from reaching the right people at the right time and with the right message. Today Facebook gives organizations an incredible opportunity to do just that and on a huge scale.

The project’s Facebook page accounted for 30 percent of the project Kickstarter traffic and monetary support.

“Facebook has been our single biggest source for pledges. I am sure it is the ease with which people could share our story that made Facebook the fastest vehicle for spreading the word about our Kickstarter.”

The fact that this fast support led to a feature on the Kickstarter page was likely the tipping point into “mainstream” awareness for the cause. As a result, NowThis featured them in a video, Martha Stewart featured the Cora Ball on her sites, and Kickstarter itself choose to feature the Cora Ball under Projects We Love and Project of the Day.

None of this would have been possible without the initial support from their Facebook community.

How Did She Do It?

Fundraising Goals

A year before Cora Ball was launched on Kickstarter, Miller recognized the potential of Facebook. She knew that to be truly successful online in the way she envisioned, her organization would need a strong Facebook presence and community. That’s why she threw herself into learning as much as she could about Facebook best practices and strategies.

We asked her what helped her the most and what she’d recommend to others. Here are her top tips:

— Post content your audience loves to engage with.

If a post falls flat, learn from it! Ask yourself: Why didn’t this post take off like others?

“Our breakthrough moment came from an ActionSprout webinar when I learned that you can’t force an underperforming post to go big by boosting it,” Miller explained. “Pay attention to the analytics on Facebook and ActionSprout and use any dollars to boost posts proven to be engaging. I am sure that saved us a lot of money and helped me zero in on what our audience likes.”

— Post content consistently.

“I think consistent posting really helps build an audience and keep their engagement,” Miller told us.

We agree. Posting at least once a day is a must, and even two to three times per day is ideal. Not everyone will see every post, so this helps ensure your message gets through.

— Post when your audience is on Facebook.

Scheduling posts for times when you know a lot of your followers will be on Facebook can lead to greater organic reach and engagement. Miller used both Facebook and ActionSprout to get this information — and you can, too!

— Post related content proven to resonate with your audience.

Miller used ActionSprout’s Inspiration feature to find and share trending content about our oceans.

“ActionSprout’s data is so valuable. Being able to easily know when to post, see what’s resonating with our audience and find stories from other sources that are likely to connect with our audience has saved us so much time. It also keeps us from having to guess,” said Miller.

Sharing other’s trending articles, images, or videos can greatly increase the reach of your Facebook page.

clean ocean inspiration

How Can You Do It?

Give yourself plenty of time to invest in Facebook and grow your community before your next big project. You’ll need at least six months or so. Whether you have a Kickstarter coming up or a more traditional fundraising effort, having a solid Facebook community can make all the difference in getting the word out and raising those necessary funds.

As Miller says, Facebook is just so easy to share links with family and friends. And given Facebook’s nature, these links can quickly spread like wildfire to reach a lot of people.

Now is a time to focus on building relationships with your followers. Get to know what interests them, what resonates with them, and what motivates them. This will shape every piece of your Facebook strategy, from what types of content to share (image, videos, or articles), where that content comes from (Pew, Huffington Post, NOAA, etc.), the tone of your content (optimistic, angry, sad, etc.), the length of your content, and more.

It will take some time to figure out, but once you have it, you’ll be pleased with the results.

With two billion people on Facebook, you can find your tribe of supporters. Just put in the time, research, and effort to figure out what will resonate with them. Once you provide it, they’ll be there ready to chime in and lend their support.

About The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 11.43.21 AM

The Rozalia Project’s mission is straightforward: to fight to protect our oceans and keep them clean. Their ultimate goal is having thriving, healthy waters for all of us to enjoy. They accomplish this mission through education, innovation, research, hands-on work, and much more. You can learn all about the project and their good work here.

About the Cora Ball

Fundraising Goals

The Cora Ball is an easy-to-use laundry ball that catches microfibers that shed off our clothes in the washer. It’s inspired by the natural design of ocean coral and its ability to effectively filter water. Cora Balls are reusable, easy to clean, and take no extra time to use.

GivingTuesday (or #GivingTuesday) is an annual day of giving when individuals and groups around the world collectively contribute millions to nonprofits globally. This year, #GivingTuesday is on December 3, but for those planning a successful day of giving for their organization, the preparation work is already well underway. Make sure your #GivingTuesday campaign is on track for success with this month’s planning tasks.

Put Those Stories to Work for Your Campaign

In our post about October #GivingTuesday planning, we suggested that you collect stories about how your organization has made a positive impact on the community. Now is the time to put those stories to work for your #GivingTuesday campaign! Storytelling is a powerful way to show (not just tell) people why your work is so important. But client success stories aren’t the only thing to share. So instead of focusing only on clients, reach out to staff, volunteers and organization partners for inspiring stories about your impact.

Make The Most of #GivingTuesday With Social Media

This is a busy time of year for any nonprofit professional — but it’s no time to put your social media presence on the backburner. In fact, now is a great time to increase your posting frequency. Why? Look at your competitors’ social media pages. The more they post about #GivingTuesday, the less likely your posts are to populate the feeds of followers you both share. Without a consistent posting schedule, you could be bumped out of followers’ feeds in favor of competitor’s active and engaging accounts. Not good. Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to keep your organization’s #GivingTuesday campaign posts top of feed and top of mind.

Here’s what you need to work on in November:

— Maintain consistent posting frequency with curated content.

Not only is curated content the best way to make organic gains, but it’s also a huge time saver! Using the Inspiration feature in ActionSprout, you can find and schedule top-performing content related to your audience’s interests in a matter of minutes. 

— Tag and hashtag like you mean it.

Be a part of the global #GivingTuesday conversation with page tags and hashtags. Get noticed and increase post shares just by tagging GivingTuesday’s page! Searchable hashtags help connect you to new people and groups. Don’t forget: #GivingTuesday isn’t the only hashtag associated with the big day. For more hashtag and post copy suggestions, read the 2019 GivingTuesday Social Media Toolkit.

— Promote, promote, promote.

Facebook ads don’t have to be complicated — or expensive. Social Actions in ActionSprout is a one-stop feature where you can: 

    • Customize the look, feel and language of a call to action,
    • Promote campaigns to targeted audiences, and
    • Collect contact information from supporters.

Not sure how much to spend? There’s a lot you can do with an ad budget of any size. Promoting a post or Social Action with as little as $20 will significantly increase your reach and engagement. Plus, there isn’t a processing fee for promoting on Facebook through Social Actions! That means you can promote more #GivingTuesday campaign content faster and with fewer steps.

Now that you have your November plans set, check back with us for December tips to help you get to the #GivingTuesday finish line and end your campaign on a high note.

Everyone likes to be acknowledged, and your supporters are no exception. This year, don’t wait until the last minute to thank board members, volunteers, interns and donors. Use these end-of-year recognition ideas to create affordable, thoughtful ways to thank supporters for all they contributed.

Ideas for Different Types of Supporters

Board Members

Fun — and affordable — ideas for thanking board members:

Girl holding sign that says thank you

An image like this is perfect for personalized note cards that your supporters will love.

  • A jar of Lifesavers candy for the board member who’s always there to help out in a pinch.
  • A travel mug with a coffee shop gift card to recognize the board member who is notorious for bringing high energy in everything they do.
  • A small potted plant is a perfect way to welcome new members and thank them for the growth they’ve brought to your board.
  • Ask colleagues to share fond or funny memories from their interactions with board members and use those insights or inside jokes to personalize the gift.
  • Coordinate a photo of your team and some of the individuals you serve holding up a sign that reads “THANK YOU!” Use the photo to create custom notecards you can use to express personalized, handwritten thanks from everyone at your organization.

Volunteers and Interns

Thank you gift examples

These gift ideas from WeAreTeachers.com will get big smiles from volunteers without spending big bucks.

Depending on the number of volunteers or interns your organization has in a given year, this can be a tricky group to recognize. Instead of individual gifts or gestures, it may make more sense to host one big get together for everyone to attend. Whether you cater or make it a potluck affair, this is fun for everyone. Make the breakfast or luncheon extra special with a slideshow of your volunteers and interns in action over the past year!

Large gestures aren’t a good fit for every organization, so now is a great time to be creative and think of small objects or symbols that relate to your mission.

Get mission-minded for creative ways to thank volunteer and interns:

  • Is your organization dedicated to education? Enlist the help of students to create a piece of art you can copy and distribute with a thank you note.
  • Is your work all about the environment or sustainability? Think of seed packets with a message on the wrapping or a reusable water bottle branded with your logo. Bonus: Super-functional, branded gifts are a great way to get volunteers talking about your organization when they use your gift on the go. 
  • Volunteer survival kits are easy to customize based on your org’s mission! Think of nonperishable snacks, sunscreen (for volunteers who are often outside), bandaids and hand sanitizer (for volunteers who get their hands dirty) and something sweet to boost energy and morale.
  • A personal letter or infographic postcard that tells the volunteer or intern how their hours impacted your organization.  

TIP: When giving individualized gifts, remember to give equitably! Personalize small things like candles, coffee tins and goody bags for gifts that vary in type, not in value.

Donors

Last, but never least, your donors. Will you use giving levels to determine how you recognize supporters, or will everyone receive the same end-of-year gesture? This is an important decision because it usually indicates how much time and money you’ll need.

For donors who keep your nonprofit afloat financially, resist the urge to overspend. An expensive or flashy donor gift could alienate some of your supporters because it sends a message that your organization is flush with resources. Lower-cost items are usually better received because they demonstrate that you are using funds wisely. Depending on the donor, public recognition may also be a small gesture that makes a big impact. Any of the gifts above would be a wonderful way to thank donors, but here are more donor recognition ideas:

  • An end-of-year slideshow featuring messages of thanks with pictures of supporters in action at your organization. Play your slideshow at an event or embed it into your monthly newsletter. And don’t forget to post it on Facebook where others can help celebrate the generosity of your supporters!
  • Did one major gift help fund a big project like a library, garden or a new service this year? Invite the donor(s) to experience firsthand what they made possible! Private tours, luncheons or community celebrations are always memorable ways to recognize donors and gifts.
  • Write an end-of-year giving ask and acknowledgment. As you’re sending your end-of-year appeal, remember to be thoughtful and grateful. If there are board members whose friends have donated, perhaps ask them to sign their appeal personally. And if it’s appropriate to include quotes from the people you serve, do so! Small details and personalization will go a long way.

Final Thoughts

End-of-year recognition can be the difference between losing or retaining a supporter. No matter your financial budget, the time you spend recognizing supporters is a guaranteed investment in your organization’s future.

Storytelling is the best fundraising tool a nonprofit has. In a world where we are completely bombarded with information and input, storytelling is a refreshing and inspiring way to show the world who your organization is, what your mission is and why everyone should care. 

This post will give you ideas for finding and sharing stories so you can stop simply telling the world about your organization and start sharing the real story: why your work is needed and why they should get involved.

Why Storytelling Works

Effective storytelling for nonprofits takes an abstract problem or idea and turns it into a real situation that affects real people. Use your organization’s mission and values to help identify stories that will draw supporters into your world and encourage donors to invest in your vision. Why just inform when you can tell a story that engages audiences and inspires action?

What Makes a Good Story?

The recipe for a good — or effective — story is based on three simple ingredients:

  • Hook

Your story only has a matter of seconds to catch your audience’s attention, so you need a hook that elicits an emotional response. Your hook could be a surprising fact, shocking outcome or narrative that paints a powerful scene. 

Let’s use an animal shelter as an example. Instead of saying, “Our animal shelter rehabilitates homeless pets and helps find people to adopt them,” you might write, “Tonight, more than 3,000 homeless pets in this community will struggle to find food and shelter from the cold.” See the difference? The first version provides a fact but doesn’t elicit emotion while the second version paints a picture of homeless pets that really tugs at the heartstrings.

  • Problem

If there wasn’t a problem that needed solving, your nonprofit wouldn’t exist! So what’s the problem your mission seeks to address? How does your work make the world a better place? Many organizations miss the mark by saying only what the problem is without making people understand why it’s a problem.

Continuing with the example of an animal shelter, here is a clear but uninspiring problem statement: “There isn’t enough space at our shelter to take in all of the animals who need care.”

Now let’s incorporate language that offers a better understanding of how this is a problem for the community, not just the animals: “Without space and resources to serve all of the homeless animals in our community, hundreds of cats and dogs will continue to breed and spread curable illnesses to both wild and domestic animals in neighborhoods across the county.

People are more likely to support your work when they can clearly see how your organization benefits the larger community, not just a specific or isolated group.

  • Hope

Be careful not to present the problem as something so big and severe that it seems unsolvable or incurable. Your story should provide audiences with hope for a better future — one that’s made possible by your organization’s work. It doesn’t matter if your organization can’t solve the problem all on its own, but an effective story must give audiences a feeling of hope or you risk the danger of audience apathy.

Where Are the Stories?

If your nonprofit provides direct services for individuals, animals or families, client success stories are a great place to start. But for organizations whose impact isn’t always tangible — or whose services require protective confidentiality — client impact stories may not be an option.

Here are some other potential sources of storytelling content:

  • Volunteers

Ask them to tell you why they chose to volunteer at your organization and what connects them to your cause. Encourage them to share any special moments or experiences that have touched them as a volunteer. Chances are, those stories will touch donors, too!

  • Staff

Interview your colleagues using the same approach as we discussed for volunteers. Staff with a longer history offer a great perspective on how the organization has changed and grown. Ask them to tell you a story about a client that really affected them professionally or a project that has been especially important to them.

If service isn’t the focus of your organization’s work, think about your coworkers personally. Ask a colleague to share how the organization has helped them grow professionally or achieve a personal goal. New employees are a great source of storytelling content, too. Use their enthusiasm to spark interest from potential supporters and get you back on the radar of former (or fatigued) donors.

  • Partners and fellow advocates

One of the most successful fundraising videos I ever made didn’t focus solely on client stories. Instead, we also included partner testimonials that couldn’t have been more glowing than if I had scripted them myself. This was a great way to discover the power of peer promotion. As the audience sat captive watching our video, they heard how our organization made others’ work possible and how we were critical leaders in our industry as well as effective service providers. When thinking about who you impact directly, remember to think outside of services and about the larger community you are a part of.

Have the Stories But Don’t Know Where to Share?

  • Facebook posts

Suggest a Story button on ActionSprout

Choose the Stories tab on ActionSprout to find Recommended stories for your feed. To make your own recommendation, click the Suggest a Story button on the top right of the Recommended Stories page and follow the prompts.

Not only will posting your stories through your social media feed help your existing supporters stay engaged and informed, but it also makes it easier for others to share updates and stories with a larger network who may not know much about you (yet). Want to make it even easier for others to find and share your storytelling posts? With the Suggest a Story function in the ActionSprout Stories tab, you can recommend your posts as a story in ActionSprout topics like Social Media & Nonprofits as well as topics directly related to your work. By recommending your storytelling content, you’re putting your story in front of thousands of ActionSprout users who can extend your reach even further than a traditional Facebook post.

  • Newsletters

This is a no brainer! Everyone on your newsletter distribution list is already a fan of your work and wants to see your organization succeed. This is the perfect stage for you to share an inspiring story and remind your network about the major day of giving coming up!

  • Eblasts

Sure, you told your networks about #GivingTuesday in your last newsletter, but that was a whole month ago! If your constituents are anything like me, they’ll need a reminder (or two) before the big day. What does this have to do with storytelling? A compelling story with an emotional appeal is the difference between an email asking for money and an email that inspires giving. 

  • Blog posts

Capturing and sharing stories through website articles or a blog is helpful in a few ways. First, it creates an organized archive of your best stories so that they are easy to share, reference and revisit. Next, sharing your story link via social media, eblast or newsletter drives traffic to your website. Two birds, one stone.

  • Social Actions

For the best donor conversion or completion rates, you need to use the Social Action feature in ActionSprout. Not only will you see an increase in fundraising results, but the tool also makes it easy to write, target and track your campaign asks on Facebook. Pledging donations with the user-friendly Social Action interface is fast and completely safe. Then, Social Actions make it painless for your donors to share their contributions on Facebook. By doing so, your supporter encourages those in their personal network to read your story and learn more about your organization.

Storytelling is a powerful communication tool. And with the right tools to share your story, you can raise more awareness — and funds — for your nonprofit. With all of the tools and support available for fundraisers online, sometimes I wonder how we ever raised money before social media! Do you have a great storytelling example to share? Send us your best storytelling story for a chance to have your campaign featured in the ActionSprout blog.

Direct stories, suggestions, and ideas to candice@actionsprout.com.

 

GivingTuesday (or #GivingTuesday) is an annual day of giving when individuals and groups around the world collectively contribute millions to nonprofits globally. This year, #GivingTuesday is on December 3, but for those planning a successful day of giving for their organization, the preparation work is already well underway. Make sure your #GivingTuesday campaign is on track for success with this month’s planning tasks.

Schedule Regular Messages on Facebook#givingtuesday ad on facebook

You already know how important a consistent Facebook posting schedule is, and now is no time to let up! Put together a shortlist of post messages that you can schedule two to three times per week from now until #GivingTuesday. In addition to clear, direct asks, use these posts to tell supporters the story of why they should support your organization.

Collect Fresh Stories to Share

Storytelling inspires and engages donors in a way that the traditional direct ask just can’t. Rather than writing #GivingTuesday posts and emails that describe what your organization does, consider highlighting a success story that really shows your audience why what you do is important. Check out a sample press release from the #GivingTuesday toolkit.

Activate Your Board

First, be sure to set clear expectations for involvement. Many organizations require board members to make personal contributions to fundraising efforts, but what about fundraising through their networks? Give your board members a campaign timeline with the dates of your #GivingTuesday posts listed and encourage them to share those posts on their personal pages. Even better, show board members how easy it is to create their own individual #GivingTuesday campaigns for your organization on Facebook. 

Still not getting the engagement you need from your organization’s board? Bring out the competitor in each of your board members with a peer-to-peer fundraising contest! Track and report on the group’s progress regularly to keep the competition alive, and include tips and ideas in your updates to help get lower-performing board members back in the game. 

Update Email Lists and Boost Your Facebook FollowingFacebook invitation to like page or campaign

You’ve planned, written, edited and rewritten your eblasts so that each one includes a compelling story about your work as well as an irresistible call-to-action to give — nice work! But without an updated email list and Facebook following, you risk leaving a lot of individual donations on the table. Now is the perfect time to comb through your email list and make sure you have current addresses for your constituents and that all of the supporters and friends you’ve made over the past year have been added to that distribution list.

Next, let’s boost your Facebook following by inviting people and other organizations to like your org’s Facebook page. Inviting Facebook friends to like your page is one of the fastest and easiest ways to grow your audience — and a bigger audience means more eyes on your #GivingTuesday campaign posts! Don’t wait until next month to get moving; use these October tasks to build a strong foundation for #GivingTuesday campaign success in December.

Creating a Facebook page for your nonprofit was a smart move, but what’s next? It’s time to really think about why you made the page, to begin with. What are those big, pie-in-the-sky dreams you have for your nonprofit that Facebook will help you achieve? Using these three essential Facebook goals, you can make your nonprofit organization’s page work harder for you.

Goal: Build Awareness for your Nonprofit

Original content 

Creating your own original content by tapping into the talent and expertise of your colleagues is just plain efficient. Industry-specific posts

Facebook megaphone

Facebook is like a powerful megaphone for your brand messages. Are you using it to its maximum potential?

or articles by your organization along with captioned shots of your team in action give life to your Facebook feed! And this content doesn’t just raise awareness about what you do, why you do it and how it makes a positive impact. Original content helpt retain existing supporters, too! Your expertise – or thought leadership – is a time and talent investment that really returns.

Content curation

Content curation sounds like an easy way to keep your feed active without having to create daily content yourself, right? What may not be clear is how sharing stories from other pages will help build awareness for your nonprofit. It’s simple: Facebook pages that post daily get more organic traffic and grow faster than pages that post inconsistently. In other words, the more content you post (original or not), the more your Facebook page – and your organization – will get noticed. 

But before you decide to make curation the center of your content strategy, remember that curation isn’t a quick fix.

Why? Because when you’re using curated content (i.e. content made and published outside your organization) source reliability, reputation and quality matter. Like, a lot. The content you curate should be targeted to the interests of your audience, is shareable, and curated from respected and fact-checked sources. No time to research every article you read before posting? Learn how to get free ActionSprout access for your nonprofit and kickstart your feed with custom content curation today.

Goal: Grow your supporter network on Facebook

Volunteers & Staff

Are you wondering why more people don’t participate in volunteer activities? It’s probably because no one asked them to! Start your volunteer recruitment efforts within your community of existing supporters on Facebook. You could simply post a call for volunteers, but it’s so much easier to catch a scroller’s eye with a flashy image or by linking to a Facebook event page where you can meet hopeful volunteers and interns. Recruiting volunteers on Facebook also makes it easier for existing supporters to invite new volunteers who may not know much about your organization – yet. 

Announcing staff openings on Facebook is a great way to create an industry buzz about the position and an even better way to find a candidate with a demonstrated passion for your cause – especially if they are already one of your followers or are tagged in the job post by a friend who is. Posting on Facebook also helps your existing staff share employment opportunities within their personal networks.

Partner organizations

As a nonprofit communications manager, the most valuable tool I had in the box was an awesome network of like-minded professionals and agencies that my team collaborated with to host events, build coalitions and advocate for policy change. Whether your organization is already part of a larger network or if you’re just looking to learn more about other programs, services, and industry announcements, Facebook networking is an invaluable tool that will benefit your organization by keeping you in-the-know about grant opportunities, industry resources and trends, policy and advocacy news, and so much more. This Facebook goal is essential, but often missing from nonprofit social media strategies. Do yourself a favor and make sure to include it in yours!

Goal: Raise Money for your nonprofit on Facebook

Direct asks

Remember what we learned about volunteers? The answer is always no if you don’t ask! Want to fill a food pantry fast? Or provide dozens of Thanksgiving meals to families in need on-the-fly? Need 1,000 individuals to each donate $5 for a new school library? All of these projects are made easier with Facebook.  Your post or event page can be used to inform supporters exactly what you need and make it easy for them to help – especially if your ask includes a range of ways to get involved for potential donors at all levels. Don’t want to muddy your feed with donation requests? See how you can use direct asks and the Facebook fundraiser event tool to raise more for your next fundraiser or drive without spamming your audience.

Host and promote fundraising events

From start to finish, Facebook is a nonprofit’s best friend when it comes to hosting and promoting events. Let Facebook act as your event assistant by sharing important event info (like maps, menus, schedule) and last-minute guest updates (“The location has changed due to weather!”). With Facebooks, you’ll know when guests post questions on the event page and even telling you who has RSVP’d. Then, after the event, you can share photos and thank attendees for their support. So much easier than individual email or phone calls, right?  

Finally, let Facebook help others fundraise for you! Once your page has been signed up to accept donations, you can also choose to allow people to fundraise for you. Your supporters can choose to use this feature to get involved in a bigger campaign you’re already hosting (say, #GivingTuesday?) or they can even host a fundraising effort on your behalf in honor of a birthday, anniversary or baby shower. Whether the event is live or 100% online, Facebook is every nonprofit’s best friend when it comes to event communications.

 

Are these essential Facebook goals a part of your nonprofit’s social media strategy? 

Tell us how you’re using ActionSprout to work smarter and see bigger results on Facebook.

If you’re not already practicing content curation on your nonprofit’s Facebook Page, you absolutely should be! Content curation is the practice of finding and sharing high-performing content from other Pages. This practice allows you to post more often and increases organic reach and engagement on your page. This case study shows the effects curation had on Northshore Veterinary Hospital’s Facebook Page after just a week of practice. (If you’d like to dig into the strategy of content curation further, this article is for you.)

Northshore Veterinary Hospital’s Facebook Page

Brita Kiffney is one of the lovely veterinarians at Northshore, and is responsible for managing their Facebook Page. We had the pleasure of sitting down with her one day and diving into their Facebook Page and strategy.

When we first spoke to her, she was posting as little as one post or fewer per day. When she had the time to upload an original picture of one of her patients, she would do so. If she didn’t have time that day, she wouldn’t. But even with how little she posted to their Page, they still enjoyed solid engagement from their fans. This told us that Northshore’s Page had a ton of untapped potential and organic reach waiting to be unlocked.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 3.17.46 PM

Learning to Curate

After meeting with us, Brita decided to give ActionSprout, and a content curation strategy, a try. Here we’ll walk you through the steps that she took to get her ActionSprout account and new strategy off the ground.

Following Pages

First, Brita had to follow the right pages through ActionSprout. Fine-tuning who she followed was the key to the rest of the strategy working. After all, these are the sources whose posts she should be sharing on Northshore’s own Facebook Page! Ensuring that they posted content that was on topic and tone, compared to their own Page, was really important.

Brita landed on the following mix of Pages:

  • Fellow veterinarians that she respected
  • Local and national humane societies
  • Pet publications
  • Fun Pages that posted cute pet videos and images

This mix of followed Pages gave her an awesome sampling of fun and serious material to post to Northshore’s Page. (We call this the broccoli and cheese strategy.)

Using the Inspiration tool inside her ActionSprout account, following these Pages was as simple as typing in names and keywords:

organic reach

Once followed, Brita was even able to add custom tags to the Pages. She tagged the fun Pages as such, the fellow vets, and so on. Now if she was short on serious material one day, she could sort by those tags and only surface the content options that applied.

Scheduling the Content

Once she had her followed Pages, she figured that it was time to start scheduling! Finding the right content to post to her Facebook Page was as easy as browsing through her new Inspiration feed, and sorting and filtering as needed:

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 12.26.20 PM

When she found something that she liked, she simply clicked the share button on that piece of content. This opened up the sharing menu, where she could schedule the post for the next time when most of her fans and supporters were on Facebook:

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 12.33.31 PM

How did the tool know when her fans and supporters were on Facebook? Facebook gives this data to all Facebook Page managers. When connecting your Facebook Page to ActionSprout, ActionSprout is able to look at this data and pull out the best times for you.

The Day to Day

With everything in place, Brita was able to pop in and out of the app as needed. On busy weeks, she could come in on Monday and schedule three to four posts for each day of the week. When she had the extra time, she would pop in once every day or so and schedule things as they came up.

And, as always, when she had cute pictures of her patients, she published them.

The Results

We were blown away by the results after just a few days! Through the use of ActionSprout and her new content curation efforts, Brita was able to increase her posting frequency to a consistent four to five posts a day! The ActionSprout app allowed Brita to schedule posts for the entire week so that, as she got busy, her posting stayed consistent. Consistent posting is key to consistent reach and engagement on Facebook.

The results are astounding! The highlighted day on the graph, April 28th, was when Brita added an additional four posts a day of curated content to their Facebook Page. As we can see, her organic reach sharply goes up from there. All in all, she enjoyed a 400% increase in organic reach on their Page:

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She also noticed a change in engagement on their Page. The number of likes, comments, and shares on their posts noticeably increased.

Conclusion

Content curation can feel uncomfortable for many nonprofits when starting out. It feels counterintuitive at best, and like stealing at worst. What we have to keep in mind is that Facebook is not a traditional communications channel.

Facebook and social media, in general, are social spaces where ideas, content, and stories are freely shared among users. Sharing is hardwired into Facebook; proper attribution is automatically included and the sharing of worthy content is expected.

Most of all, the results speak for themselves! So, what are you waiting for? Start your own content curation strategy today and start seeing the same organic reach growth and success as Brita at Northshore Veterinary Hospital. Ready to learn more about measuring Facebook success?