Facebook is not an evil time-waster, a community just for “the kids,” or irrelevant for marketers – even nonprofits. In fact, according to M+R, larger nonprofit organizations average over 31,000 Facebook fans! Facebook can be a very useful tool for your nonprofit to connect constituents to your cause and volunteer opportunities they may be interested in. In fact, nonprofits can use Facebook to directly connect with event participants and donors.

It can be difficult to figure out how to use Facebook for nonprofit activities. It can also, be difficult to convince your executive director to let you incorporate Facebook or a larger social media strategy into your fundraising plan. But with the right knowledge and metrics, you can prove that it is highly beneficial and essential to growing your organization.

Nonprofit Goals to Set on Facebook

  • Get found by people who are looking for ways to support your cause
  • Connect and engage with current and potential supporters
  • Create an online community around your organization
  • Promote the content you create including webinars, guides, blog articles, press
    releases, videos, and photos
  • Generate potential donors, fundraisers, volunteers, and activists for your organization

Profile vs. Nonprofit Facebook Page

On Facebook, profiles are meant for people, and pages are meant for organizations, businesses, and institutions. If you would like to fully engage and leverage Facebook’s features, you should create a personal Facebook profile for yourself, if you do not already have one.

As the online donation is a personal decision, relating to the people behind the cause can help drive donations. When creating a Facebook presence for your organization, begin by creating a page. Facebook has created a great deal of functionality into pages, specifically to benefit nonprofits.

Nonprofit Facebook Pages

You can designate multiple pages administrators on your nonprofit’s Facebook Page, providing you with the option to have more than one person manage the account. While technically called “business” pages, these pages are used by a wide variety of organizations and causes, including public nonprofit organizations. Pages are public by default, allowing them to rank in both Facebook searches and in search engine results. Pages are also categorized (chosen by you), which helps your organization appear in relevant results. This means that the people who are on your page are actually interested in your content. Anyone can become a fan of a nonprofit Facebook Page, whereas personal profiles require mutual acceptance.

Personal Profile

Your personal profile is connected to your organization’s page and is essential in making your first organization page. Your personal profile is different than an organization page because you can set privacy settings to make certain posts, photos, etc. private. Your personal profile is where you can communicate with your friends.

NOTE: Creating your nonprofit’s page with your Facebook
profile will not make your organization’s page fans your friends
on Facebook.

Tips for Optimizing Your Nonprofit Facebook Page

1. Apps

You can connect various apps to your nonprofit Facebook Page. A few of these apps
include Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. These apps allow you to connect your social media accounts and other applications that may be useful for your organization.

2. Create Engaging Content

Post a variety of content, from photos and status updates to videos, events, and polls. Ask your constituents’ questions and have them post their answers in the comments section of your post. Not only does this engage your current supporters, but it will also, make the most visible in the New Feeds of your fans, thus increasing your reach to their friends who may not yet know about you!

3. Respond to Users

Respond to users’ questions and complaints. A supporter that posts a negative comment needs to be responded to quickly in order to decrease the negative effect they could have on your mission. Remember, Facebook is public, and anyone can post anything. The best thing to do is to handle negative
comments in a polite manner and build a cause with a positive image.

4. Advertise

Use Facebook ads for paid promotion. To increase the reach of your organization name, you can use Facebook
ads to promote your content and your nonprofit’s page.

5. Join Facebook Groups

Groups on Facebook are slightly different than nonprofit Facebook Pages. In some cases, it makes sense for a nonprofit to create a group as well. The main difference between a nonprofit Facebook Page and a group is that pages represent a brand, while a group is a place for a community of people to discuss common interests. A group is essentially a page that is used as a chat room for a specific group of constituents. In a group, members can post all kinds of content just like on personal timelines and nonprofit Facebook Pages.

Best Practices For Facebook Nonprofits

  • Be interactive, fun, and helpful. Give people an insight into your organization. Highlight different
    individuals within your cause, why they’re involved, and what they do. Put a face to your organization for your audience to relate to.
  • Show the impact of your mission and share all the milestones, big and small, that you accomplish over time. Highlighting outstanding fundraisers and donors on a weekly/monthly basis is another way to do this. Posting videos from events or on location is effective as well.
  • Post interesting industry news. Make it a place people want to visit, keep up to date on your mission’s progress, and entertain themselves. Posting things going on within your cause and volunteer opportunities are a great way to become a leader and increase your supporter base.
  • Like related nonprofit Facebook Pages. Facebook is a social place after all, and connecting with partners, complementary missions, and other like-minded groups can strengthen your cause and your nonprofit Facebook Page credibility.
  • Focus on engagement. You’re trying to connect with and get a response from your community. Ask questions, post helpful tips and link to articles that your audience will Like and share. When you make your posts about your audience and what they need rather than simply soliciting donations, you will develop a richer and deeper relationship with your community.
  • Don’t constantly ask for donations or volunteer drives. No one likes a never-ending sales pitch, even for a cause, they believe in. By the same token, make sure you do highlight your donor opportunities from time-to-time! Use the 80-20 rule for fundraising
    drives vs. content/connection posts. So if you decide to post five times a week, one of the posts should be a campaign message and four posts should be about other informational or fun content