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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.

 

Yes, there are new Facebook ad requirements. And yes, this policy change even affects your nonprofit page! Effective November 2019, any U.S. Facebook page that wants to create or edit ads about social issues, legislation, elections, or politics has to go through the platform’s page authorization process. And since promoted posts or ads are the fastest way to grow your email list, find new donors, and increase your reach, we recommend that every organization or group page complete the new Facebook ad authorization process. Yes, even you! 

Whether or not you have promoted Facebook posts in the past or not, completing the new ads authorization process will ensure that your page can participate in collaborative advocacy campaigns with other organizations and build a stronger community of supporters on Facebook.

But wait, why are nonprofits affected by this change if they don’t run political ads?

Great question! Nonprofit organizations may not post about specific political candidates, but Facebook standards do consider most nonprofit content to be issue-based. So whether you’re promoting a fundraising drive post or an article about a public policy that affects your work or those you serve, that post is likely to be flagged as issue-based content and can’t be promoted until you get your ads disclaimer set up.

Why worry about it now?

Setting up your disclaimer and authorizing your Facebook page does take time, so the best time to get authorized is before you want to run ads. That’s why, even if you haven’t used ads before, there’s no benefit to delaying your nonprofit page authorization. The best time to set up your disclaimer and get authorized is now.

Ready to get started? Let us walk you through the steps to help get you set up to run political or issue ads on Facebook.

Step 1: Set up a new Facebook Business Manager account.

Go to https://business.facebook.com/overview/ and click “Create Account.”

Create Facebook Business Manager Account screenshot

Step 2: Add Facebook page(s) to Business Manager.

Remember: Only the page administrator can complete the entire ad authorization process, so make sure you have that access.

Step 3: Create (or add an existing) Facebook ad account.

Facebook ad account overview

 

Step 4: Add a payment method to the ad account.

Your payment method will never be charged unless you create an ad or take steps to promote a post.

Step 5: Add people to Business Manager and assign to page and ad account.

Adding trusted members of your team means you won’t be the only one with access to Business Manager, making it easier for others to support ads and campaigns when you’re not available.

Step 6: Apply for authorization to set up “paid for by” ad disclaimers.

For Facebook to confirm your identity, you must have two-factor authentication enabled on your account. You’ll also need the following materials available:

  • A U.S. state driver’s license, U.S. state ID card, or U.S. passport — make sure to take a clear and focused close-up picture showing all four corners on a flat, dark background
  • A U.S.-based residential mailing address
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number

Once requested, a letter containing a code to confirm your identity should arrive at your address within three to seven days. If your letter doesn’t arrive within seven days, you can request a new one here: https://www.facebook.com/id.

Step 7: Setup “paid for by” disclaimer for a Facebook page.

Advertisers have five ways to get disclaimers approved:

Advertisers will receive a “Confirmed Organization” icon on their ads if they provide a U.S. street address, phone number, business email, a matching business website, and complete one of these three options:

  • Tax-registered organization
  • Government organization
  • Federal Election Commission (FEC) registered

Smaller businesses or local politicians who may not have these credentials can choose from two more options. Advertisers who go through these options will receive an “About This Ad” icon.

  • Submit an organization name (still requires a U.S. street address, business phone number, email, and matching website).
  • Give the page admin’s legal name (same as on their ID documents).

Each ad account used to fund your page’s ads about social issues, elections, or politics must be linked to your page and have a disclaimer for each.

To link your ad accounts and set up disclaimers:

  1. Go to your Facebook page and click “Settings” in the top right corner.
  2. In the list on the left, click “Authorizations.”
  3. Below Step 2: Link Your Ad Accounts, click “Begin.”
  4. Accept Facebook’s terms and conditions.
  5. Enable the ad accounts that will be used to pay for your page’s ads about social issues, elections, or politics.
  6. Click next and choose an approved disclaimer for each ad account specified.

If you want to run ads about social issues, elections, or politics on Instagram as well as Facebook, you’ll need to authorize your Instagram account.

  1. Go to your Facebook page and click “Settings” in the top right corner.
  2. In the list on the left, click “Authorizations.”
  3. Below Step 3: Authorize Your Instagram Account (Optional), click “Begin.”
  4. Check the “Review this Instagram” box.
  5. If your Instagram and page names aren’t the same, explain why in the text box.
  6. Click “Submit.”

Step 8: Confirm Facebook page settings are correct (country, city, category, about).

 

See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? With just eight simple steps you can increase user trust in your page and make it possible to engage in collaborative advocacy campaigns with your industry partners or coalitions. There’s a lot to lose for Facebook page managers who neglect to have their page authorized — and even more to gain for those who complete the process. 

 

Want to learn more? Check out this video playlist with step-by-step guides to help you complete the new Facebook ad authorization process. 

 

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.

Can a few simple modifications to a Facebook social action drastically improve the number of supporters driven to take action?

Simple answer: Yes!

Here’s a great example of how one organization improved the performance of their Facebook social actions by 300%.

What Are Social Actions and Social Engagement?

First, let’s talk briefly about how we track social engagement on a Facebook page. Engagement is the foundation we build success on, so understanding it is key.

It’s made up of four things:

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Post-clicks

Engagement is important because it influences how many people a particular action will reach on Facebook. The more engagement an action has, the more people it will reach, increasing the number of people who have the chance to take action.

Without further ado, let’s get to our example!

First, you might want to put on a couple more layers of clothes because it’s about to get chilly! We recently worked with Polar Bears International, a Montana-based organization dedicated to saving these gorgeous creatures.

polar bear header

They launched a successful social action campaign during Polar Bear Week, annually held the first week of November. The first Facebook page social action they posted inspired:

  • 1,142 people to like, share, comment and/or click on the post.
  • 161 ended up completing the action and providing their contact information.
  • Their conversion rate was 14.1%.

Given the size of their Facebook page and engagement activity, those are solid results — but we thought there was room to do even better. We analyzed that first effort and made a few simple changes to its format and content — all based on lessons from some of the best nonprofit social media managers. The results:

  • 1,980 people engaged with the content through likes, shares and comments.
  • 577 people completed the action and provided their contact information.
  • Their conversion rate was 29.1%.

Our simple little changes to the post and action increased the response rate by over 300%. How cool is that! These changes weren’t dramatic and were the kinds of things anyone can do.

The Post: Before and After

before_and_after_polar_bears

 

As you can see, the before post really isn’t too shabby. The key to social action optimization is in the fine details. There are many seemly small things you can do to optimize for success. Let’s look at how we changed the action and the seven tips you can use to get the same results, or better, on your own Facebook page.

Tip #1: Paint a Clear Call to Action.

Providing a clear call to action (CTA) early on in a post can substantially increase the chances of a person seeing and completing it. Look again at the difference between the two: See how much more our CTA communicates urgency and reward?

The vast majority of Facebook users are first seeing this while scrolling through their News Feeds on mobile devices. By immediately explaining exactly what the action is and why completing it will make a difference, we increase the number of people that follow through.

The best actions have a clear, directed target. They provide an easy explanation. Expressing urgency, having an emotional hook, and using powerful language will boost supporter engagement and participation.

Tip #2: Use Powerful Images.

Pictures are still worth a thousand words, but on the internet, pictures have the power to go much farther and faster.

See how the second post uses a more sympathetic and shareable picture? We went with vibrant colors, a clear illustration of the impending problem, and cute polar cubs with their mommy for a perfect fit.

When in doubt, you can reuse a photo that you’ve seen work before on your own Facebook page or elsewhere. Remember, the more engagement, the more potential action takers!

Tip #3: Leverage Link Posts.

There’s a growing debate about whether link posts are better than photo posts. Well, link posts generally do a better job at driving action. Users seem to prefer this format because when they click on the image of a link post, it takes them to the social action page.

For this reason, Facebook chooses to prioritize link posts, noting that these posts receive twice as many clicks. And, from a Facebook page manager’s perspective, it gives yet another opportunity to add a title and more of an action description below the image.

Use that extra real estate to your advantage!

The Social Action: Before

example-facebook-social-actions

The Social Action: After

after action cap

See how much more emotionally engaged the second is? It grabs your attention, and you can practically feel something as you read it.

Tip #4: Set Goals.

Goal-setting is an age-old trick to drive up form completion rates on online petitions. Notice that the second version of our action post set a clear goal. When a problem seems too big or overwhelming, people are less likely to respond.

Posts that have the action presented as “bite-size yet meaningful to the cause” is where we’ve seen posts and social actions gain traction. Goals make users feel like their individual actions will add up to something bigger and result in change.

Tip #5: Blatant Privacy.

People care about their privacy and their data. Right? This is the case more and more as time moves forward. The second version has an explicit privacy statement that many supporters appreciate because it tells them exactly how their data will be used.

Tip #6: Motivate Your Supporters.

If you want to TRULY understand what causes people to take action, start with yourself. In our better performing post, the language below the image is far more detailed. It presents the problem, provides a solution, and moves supporters to take action to make that solution a reality.

This action also used emotion and a sense of urgency to motivate the audience to engage and get involved.

Tip #7: Have an Explicit Button.

In the end, the button matters. See how on the second action, we revised the button to be both simpler and more straightforward? Doing so makes it clear that the person is signing a petition when they click the button — dummy-proofing at its best.

Bonus tip: Tap into comments!

For extra brownie points, Polar Bears International enabled commenting on the post-action page of the second version of their social action. This gave supporters a way to personally express themselves after completing the action. The cool thing is, every comment also shows up on their friends’ News Feeds. This helps increase virality and sharing. Moreover, people are more likely to share when they have an invested interest, which a comment helps to provide.

By making this simple change to their social action, Polar Bears International increased the number of supporters who took action on their Facebook page over the course of Polar Bear Week. With a goal of 25,000 signatures before December’s climate talks in Lima, Peru, the organization is well on its way to making a significant impact, one Facebook page user and action at a time!

Remember these tips next time you want to whip your Facebook page community into action:

  1. A Clear Call to Action
  2. User Power-Pics
  3. Leverage Link Posts
  4. Goal-setting
  5. Blatant Privacy
  6. Motivation
  7. Explicit Button
  8. Use Comments

Find out how organizations and campaigns are learning more about their supporters, growing their following and inspiring action with ActionSprout and Facebook.