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Facebook Publishes Guide for Nonprofits and Causes

Facebook Publishes Guide for Nonprofits and Causes

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Facebook has produced a guide to help nonprofits build their organization's presence on the world's top social media platform.

Here are some highlights with a few extra resources.

Take Advantage of Facebook's Key Features

Post an eye-catching photo up front and center. (As Frank Barry wrote in his post, choose a photo that keeps your brand in mind, but also shows off your culture, history, mission, and values.)

photo on a nonprofit Facebook page

Use Facebook's Timeline feature to share photos and videos or ask questions. This will help you build a good relationship with supporters.

Tips for Setting Your Strategy

Know your story, audience, and goals. How can you bring your story to life in a compelling and genuine way?

Ask yourself who your constituents are. What content will be important to them: projects that have reached completion, fundraisers, or volunteer events?

In setting your nonprofit's goals, think about what kind of relationship you want to have with the people who connect to your page.

Also, how much time are you willing to spend updating your nonprofit's page? Defining and prioritizing your goals will help you set your page posting strategy.

How to Find Your Voice

Be conversational, personal, and sincere. Here are some ideas for how:

  • Speak in the first person. Your supporters want to hear from you in your posts. Have a staff or board member of your nonprofit post in their own voice to add a personal touch.
  • Build an online presence. Whether your tone is witty or just the way you would normally talk to your friends, this personality will engage your followers.
  • Contribute candid, personal stories.

How to Create Rich Engagement

Here are some tips for what to post.

  • Schedule regular posts on particular topics, such as a weekly post that highlights "volunteer of the week" or a fundraising update.
  • Post lots of photos and videos. Facebook is a natural medium for them. They also give you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of engaging with your supporters (see more about this here).
  • Share links to breaking news (ideally with your take on it), articles highlighting your nonprofit, or media about your cause.
  • Celebrate your organization's milestones. When you reach your fundraising goal, let your supporters know, and thank them from the heart.

How to Grow Your Audience

  • Take advantage of social plug-ins. Add a Like box and Like buttons to your website so visitors can view your updates and share your content with friends through Facebook's newsfeed.
  • Create a custom URL.
  • And read the tips for making the most of your current connections on Facebook and elsewhere.

Measure How Well You're Doing

The guide also includes an introduction to Facebook Insights. These can give you important information about visitors to your nonprofit's page and help you increase connections and interactions.

Facebook Insights graph

Download the full guide here. And, for an inside scoop on Facebook's outreach to nonprofits and causes, read Beth Kanter's blog post on her interview with Libby Leffler of Facebook.

  • Interesting - is there anything about how to *engage* with the audience? Even if a nonprofit follows all of these tips, the thing that is missing is that the organization must *engage*: they must "like" comments promptly, they must respond to criticism promptly, and they should ask questions and for feedback in their posts -  not just post "Here's what we did/what we need." To me, it's the focus on engagement that takes a nonprofit's Facebook page from just another web page to truly utilizing "social media." Other's thoughts?

  • @jcravens42 - Yes, the guide does have some tips for engaging with the audience sprinkled throughout it. However, responding to comments and criticism promptly and asking for feedback are also very important - excellent points!

  • I agree with the two previous comments. "Social" networking is supposed to be just that...social. That means it needs to be two way communication. To do it right, it takes a lot of time and dedication. Most non-profits don't have the luxury of having a dedicated employee for Social Media so it can be difficult. One tip that I will share is that if you share a post from another organization or company, make sure you thank them for sharing and tag them in the post. This helps your organization to get exposure to the supporters of the organization that you have just tagged. (Hope that makes sense.) We currently have over 11,500 likes on our page and most of those likes are because of being truly "social" and giving credit to other organizations and companies for sharing their posts.

  • This guide from Facebook has been around since January, FYI.

  • Even though this is a very old guide, I'm sure they'll update it to include the new timeline features, refined targeting and promoted posts.

  • Here's the updated guide, folks: The post has a link to the old guide (pre-timeline) ... Here's the new one: developers.facebook.com/.../Pages%20for%20Causes%20and%20NP.pdf

  • Thanks for your help, johnhaydon! I've updated the post so that it links to the newer version of the guide, which has information about using Timeline added to it.

  • @Laura- I hate to be stupid, but I sometimes am. What format is the download in? I've downloaded, saved, etc, but can't get it to open. Even though it says it's a pdf, Adobe is not recognizing it.

  • @sdg1230 - yes, the guide is a pdf file. You could try downloading the very latest version of Acrobat Reader; sometimes that helps. http://get.adobe.com/reader/

  • @sdg1230 - You could also try renaming the file "attachment.pdf" (i.e. add the .pdf) -- sometimes that does the trick.

  • Thanks, Laura. Adding the pdf to the name did the trick. And thanks for the resource!!