Facebook Campaigns for Non-Profit Organizations

How To:  Set Up a Facebook Campaign for Non-Profit Organizations

Facebook can be an extremely effective networking tool for non-profits.  It enables organizations to create awareness and nation-wide collaboration by allowing users to connect and share information on related subjects.  Information can be quickly shared and passed along on Facebook including:

  • Photos
  • Event invitations
  • Announcements
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Newsletters
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Articles
  • Blog posts

This list is by no means comprehensive, but you can promote anything your organization does quickly and effortlessly on Facebook!  The free service saves non-profits valuable time and donor money when facing challenging economic times.  There are also many tools available to help keep ongoing campaigns active with very little maintenance.   Some of the greatest benefits of using Facebook are #1 it’s FREE and #2 it’s easy to set-up and maintain.

Getting Ready for a Facebook Campaign

When using any type of social media application the most important question to ask before you begin is “what are your campaign and organizations goals?”  Since social networking is all about being accessible to your supporters, it is important to define exactly what information your group wishes to make accessible. 

  • Are you looking for more donors? 
  • Volunteers?
  • In-Kind donations?
  • Awareness? 
  • Promotion? 

Whatever your goals may be, once you decide on the overall purpose – plan the Facebook campaign around it or enlist the services of a reputable social media manager to create a campaign that is in-line with your specific goals.

On the flip side of defining your goals, you also have to understand that flexibility is a must with social media.  Launching a campaign without interacting with your groups and members is not an option.  If this means having conversations and building relationships outside of your planned goals – that’s okay.  It is the connections of these relationships that help promote each missions cause and the core of what makes social media so invaluable to non-profit organizations.  Don’t launch a campaign and think that it will grow itself.  Supporters love messages from board members, staff and people that have been helped by your organizations efforts.  These people are key to a successful campaign and should be encouraged to post as frequently as they can.  It is also important to have at least one person solely in charge of the account to post updates on a daily basis if feasible.  Even if this task is contracted out or handled at an administrative level, the benefits far outweigh the costs.  The purpose is to keep conversations going about the efforts of the organization and related community involvement.  In most cases, this only requires one person networking at least 1 hour per/week on Facebook to keep the ball rolling towards the organizations goals.

Customizing Your Facebook Campaign

There are many options for non-profits on Facebook.  Of course the first step is setting up your group page.  To get started you might want to look over other non-profit Facebook pages and how they are utilizing Facebook. 

Here is a list of some organizations that are currently using Facebook successfully:

 Pay close attention to the tabs at the top of each profile page, as well as the links on the side-bar.  Many include particular causes, donation information boxes, volunteer information, YouTube promotions, as well as links to the organizations website and blog – the possibilities are endless and should be designed according to your goal.  These options can easily be implemented or removed at a later date – but should be explored in order to decide which applications would be most beneficial to your purpose.

Finding Friends on Facebook

Once the actual page is set-up with information about your cause, you can easily invite friends using the email addresses you have already accumulated through other campaigns.  This should be a one-time invitation to avoid ‘spamming’  but most people who are currently involved in your organization will jump at the opportunity to stay in touch with its on-going efforts.  Make sure to include your Facebook link on all other organizational pages (website, blog, other social media efforts, etc) this encourages visitors to visit your Facebook campaign and include beneficial links and information to the cause on their own social media applications.

Groups on Facebook

Groups are a great way to start connecting with possible advocates for your cause.  There are thousands of groups on Facebook that you can join or become a fan of.  By joining these groups and affiliating yourself with like causes, your own posts on Facebook become even more visible, multiplying your organizations potential reach. 

You can also establish your own open group on Facebook which will also increase your organizations visibility.  Groups on Facebook are organized around specific interests.  This allows people to search through groups by keyword and find groups related to their own personal interests. 

Each group on Facebook has a “Fan” section where people can become fans of your organization.  This information shows up on their profile feeds, which all of their friends will see and hopefully visit and check out.  People can easily visit the group page and find out the latest events and information about the organization. 

Ongoing Maintenance of Facebook

In order to keep generating interest in your cause it is imperative to keep all conversations and networks active.  All groups should be visited daily and each comment should be responded to immediately.  Possible items you can post daily include links to news articles, blog posts, articles from newsletters (old or new), statistical information, or quotes related to your cause.  There are many items that can be quickly posted to keep a Facebook page updated – creativity is the only limit.

Other Fun Things to do on Facebook

Photos – One of the most popular and fun ways to interact on Facebook is by uploading and sharing pictures with your groups and friends.  Facebook allows unlimited photos but restricts them to be categorized by album, limiting each album to 60 photos or less.  These albums are very easy to set up and have multiple privacy levels.  They can be set to be viewed by all, members only, or to members and their networks only.  You also have the ability to “tag” people in the pictures.  For example; if you have a volunteer event with pictures, you can acknowledge some of your special volunteers by tagging them in a photo.  The same concept applies for community events and can help highlight specific people, businesses and organizations in your community that assist your cause.  After tagging a person on Facebook, you have the option of notifying them by email, web-link, or Facebook (if they are already members).  This has an exponential effect regarding your cause’s exposure.  Regardless of the method of notification, each person is notified that your organization is on Facebook which encourages them to visit your profile, create their own and further expand your organizations network and reach.

Events – Whatever the event, Facebook is a great place to promote your organization’s important activities.   On Facebook you can very easily promote an event, add pictures, and invite all of your contacts to confirm or decline their participation in your upcoming events via RSVP.

Feeds – Facebook also provides different applications that enable an organization to create “notes” , donation “causes”, post videos and pictures, as well as add multiple RSS feeds to your profile page or group.  This makes it easy to import your external blog posts, send quick notes to all of your “friends” as well as promote all of your organizations available online media projects (such as YouTube and Flickr), and newsletters all in one quick step.  

Causes – Setting up a cause in Facebook is extremely easy to do and can greatly benefit 501©3 organization financially with online donations.   If your organization is set up with Guidestar ( www.guidestar.org) then it is eligible to be a beneficiary on Facebook causes. This gives members and everyone else on Facebook a quick and easy way to find and donate to causes they have a particular interest in.

The greatest benefit of using Facebook for your non-profit is that it easily allows people to keep in touch with members of growing organizations.  Facebook provides a “Wall” of information so that in one glance you can immediately see the activities of your networks and vice versa.  An organization can connect to other people who are writing about their specific cause as well as view pictures of events and read news articles that organizers may have never seen.  Facebook is an excellent example of community collaboration and is currently the best forum available for getting the most social media exposure for your non-profit organization.

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This article is available for publication with permissions on your blog or website by visiting Associated Content

January 6, 2010 at 2:56 am 4 comments

How to Create an Advisory Board

(In 6 easy steps!)

by Christine Comaford-Lynch

We all can benefit from advisors—they’re the friends from the trenches who’ve been on the business battlefield longer than we have. Or they’re friends who’re from a different industry or field who provide a unique perspective. Or they’re seasoned or high profile executives who lend you credibility, thus helping you secure customers, financing, or approval for an internal project.  You need advisors to bounce ideas off of, to provide a reality check, to tell you when you’re about to mess up, to confide in when you’re alone at the top of the organization or department.

Here’s a process for getting and keeping advisors on your team. Remember: life = the people that you meet + what you create with them. Let’s start meeting and creating.

Download Christine Comaford-Lynch’s
Entire PDF Article about
How to Create an Advisory Board

For more information on Creating an Advisory Board,
see Christine Comaford-Lynch’s book 
  

Rules for Renegades:
How to Make More Money,
Rock Your Career,
and Revel in Your Individuality

Rules for Renegades

 Read the first chapter today!
You can also read her column at BusinessWeek.com

February 5, 2009 at 1:25 pm 2 comments

Things to Remember When Starting a Business

Believe in what you do or don’t do it.  It’s that simple.  We only get one life to be who we are called to be, so if you are passionate about a certain topic, whether it’s helping kids or selling tofu, give it all you have, and then make a commitment  to finish what you start!

Distractions are temporary!  There will ALWAYS be a handy excuse preventing you from fulfilling your dreams.  Don’t allow temporary distractions to strip you of fulfilling your life’s dream.  If you know what you want to do, then DO IT.  Money isn’t everything.  Many organizations and businesses start out on a shoestring budget.  It takes hard work and persistence, not a big bankroll.  A little internet research will find you many low-cost resources to get you started – all it takes is you doing it!

It’s okay to start out small.  If you want to sell herbs, you don’t have to build a 10,000 sq. foot greenhouse.  Start one plant, grow it, sell it, and then plant another.  That’s the way all businesses grow.  One day at a time, one-step at a time, and then one day you’ll look up and discover YOU DID IT!

Never give up on a dream.  Do you know how many times Edison failed before he succeeded?  What if he would have given up, would we still be living in a dark world?  Of course not.  You have a great idea, but if you give up, somebody else will succeed and live the dream you only imagined.

November 21, 2008 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

Free and Low-Cost Business Resources

  1. Get a Plan – Business plans are easy to write if you know the basic outline.  My Own Business, Inc. is a nonprofit organization committed to helping people succeed in business. This organization is a great place to get your feet wet, offering a free course in business start-up, creating a business plan, and all the other little details people often don’t think about when they start a new business.  http://www.myownbusiness.org
  2.  Strategy Session Self-Assessment – Whether you are in the planning stages or just getting started, want to launch your next phase of business growth, or have experienced business losses but aren’t ready to throw in the towel, A Mighty Ventures Strategy Session is one of the smartest things you can do for your business.  http://www.strategysessionnow.com/
  3. Organize – However you decide to organize your business, Secret-Angels can help walk you through the process and mentor you step-by-step.  https://nonprofitassistance.wordpress.com/need-help/ 
  4. Get a Website – Don’t think it’s too complicated!  Domain Registration and Hosting is getting easier and cheaper every day.  Most hosting companies offer cheap website builders, which means you can have a website up and running in minutes.  Gossimer LCC offers domain registration, email hosting, website hosting as well as an easy to use website builder.  Once you register your domain (usually under $10 dollars per/year), your website can cost as little as $2.99 per/month through Gossimer Web Hosting. http://gossimer.biz/ 
  5. Start Networking – The greatest way to market your business is to get out there and start selling it yourself.  Nobody will ever have the same drive or commitment that you do, and it’s easy to talk about things that you are passionate about.  The internet is full of free Social Media Sites, such as:     

         a. Linked In – http://www.linkedin.com/
         b. Blogging Sites –  http://www.wordpress.com/      
         c. Other Social Media Websites
              i. www.Facebook.com
              ii. www.Myspace.com
              iii. www.twitter.com

There are countless others, for a more comprehensive list visit http://www.prelovac.com/vladimir/top-list-of-social-media-sites or just Google Social Media Websites and browse through them yourself!

November 20, 2008 at 3:39 pm 1 comment

Articles of Incorporation

The next step of an incorporated nonprofit is drafting the legal incorporation document.  This document may be called the certificate or the articles of incorporation depending on your state.  Call your Secretary of State or Attorney General and request written information on filing for incorporation; ask specifically if it includes an example of your states Articles of Incorporation. This will give you some guidelines to follow while forming your articles.  Once you have completed the document consult an attorney to review them for you.  The IRS is very specific about the wording in your organizations articles and you may be rejected for tax-exempt status if you have not included specific IRS language.

Besides the legal language you will be inserting your specific organization information.  This information includes the name of the organization and where its main office will be located.  You also need to include your organizations primary goals.   Keep your goals very broad so that you do not limit your organizations expansion in the future.

 A couple of decisions need to be made throughout the articles.  The first being what type of organization you will be.  For the purpose of becoming a 501© 3 organization your nonprofit should be established as one of the following:

CHARITABLE
EDUCATIONAL
SCIENTIFIC
RELIGIOUS
LITERARY
PROMOTING AMATEUR ATHLETICS
OR EDUCATIONAL

 (A more thorough list and explanation can be found at:
www.SumptionAndWyland.com – FAQ -General activities of nonprofits
or through www.IRS.gov)

 Next you will need to decide whether your nonprofit will have members, not have members or reserve that decision for later:

 shall have no voting members.
may (but need not) have voting members
shall have a voting membership

There are advantages and disadvantages to each choice.  You need to consider the long-term future of your nonprofit before making this decision.  Although you may start out as the founder and serve on the board of directors, after incorporation these decisions will follow strict voting procedures as laid out in your bylaws.  Voting membership is an opportunity to elect and remove directors as well as vote on changes and amend bylaws.  This prevents the nonprofit from being completely controlled by its board of directors.  This decision also places some liability in protecting member rights and outlining all responsibilities of each member.  Study several different types of membership organizations and ask questions concerning their voting procedures.  This will help you decide if it is the best decision for your nonprofit.

Recommended paperwork for members should include some type of letter of agreement.  This needs to be signed by each potential member and includes the rights allocated to the member through the bylaws.  You will also need some kind of nominating procedure stating who is eligible to become a member and the voting procedures to accept them.  You can have several different classes of members and allow different voting privileges to each class, each with separate dues amounts.  All of this information is established through the nonprofit bylaws and will be discussed more thoroughly at that point.  The only decision to be made here is which type of organization you will be.

The articles of incorporation are not as intimidating as they appear.  They do need to follow certain state and federal guidelines but your Secretary of State will provide those details and then all that is left to do is plug in your own information.  Once your attorney reviews them there may be slight modifications but you will have the basic document ready for them to work with.

March 11, 2008 at 1:23 pm Leave a comment

Board of Directors

The Purpose of a Board of Directors

Your organizations board of directors will help manage, discuss, implement and maintain your mission and goals. They should be able to attend regular meetings to ensure successful organizational planning and see that all resources are managed effectively.

Directors supervise all aspects of the organizations operations and evaluate its performance and success. Directors need to follow all activities that affect the mission or goals. All directors must be able to set aside any potential conflict between their personal or individual business interests to support the ongoing growth of the organization.

A Board of Directors gets its authority from the articles, which will be discussed in the next lesson. This governing document specifies, for example, its name, the purpose or mission of the organization, place of business, primary officers, etc. 

Duties of a Board of Directors

Several states have statutes adopting duties, which can be used in court to determine whether a board member has acted improperly. These standards are usually described as the duty of care, the duty of loyalty and the duty of obedience.

Duty of Care

The duty of care describes the level of competence that is expected of a board member, and is commonly expressed as the duty of “care that an ordinarily prudent person would exercise in a like position and under similar circumstances.” This means that a board member owes the duty to exercise reasonable care when he or she makes a decision as a steward of the organization.

Duty of Loyalty

The duty of loyalty is a standard of faithfulness; a board member must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization. This means that a board member can never use information obtained as a member for personal gain, but must act in the best interests of the organization.

Duty of Obedience

The duty of obedience requires board members to be faithful to the organization’s mission. They are not permitted to act in a way that is inconsistent with the central goals of the organization. A basis for this rule lies in the public’s trust that the organization will manage donated funds to fulfill the organization’s mission.

Requirements of a good Board of Directors

The people you elect to serve on the board of directors should have:

·        Passion about the mission

·        Knowledge of all the ins and outs of the organization

·        A wide variety of expertise

·        Understanding of the overall mission and vision

·        Commitment to the mission and it’s goals

·        Time available to serve the organization

Job Descriptions of a Board of Directors

Most states require at least 3 members on the board of directors, which constitute the organizations officers.  These must include a president (board chair) and a secretary.  For this lesson I am including the basic job descriptions of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and the basic Board Member

PRESIDENT / CHAIR / CHIEF VOLUNTARY OFFICER (CVO)
(adapted from The Board Café)

General: Ensures the effective action of the board in governing and supporting the organization, and oversees board affairs. Acts as the representative of the board as a whole, rather than as an individual supervisor to staff.

Community: Speaks to the media and the community on behalf of the organization (as does the executive director); represents the agency in the community.

Meetings: Develops agendas for meetings in concert with the executive director. Presides at board meetings.

Committees: Recommends to the board, which committees are to be established. Seeks volunteers for committees and coordinates individual board member assignments. Makes sure each committee has a chairperson, and stays in touch with chairpersons to be sure that their work is carried out; identifies committee recommendations that should be presented to the full board. Determines whether executive committee meetings are necessary and convenes the committee accordingly.

Executive Director: Establishes search and selection committee (usually acts as chair) for hiring an executive director. Convenes board discussions on evaluating the executive director and negotiating compensation and benefits package; conveys information to the executive director.

Board Affairs: Ensures that board matters are handled properly, including preparation of pre-meeting materials, committee functioning, and recruitment and orientation of new board members.

VICE PRESIDENT / VICE CHAIR
(adapted from The Board Café)

General: Acts as the president/chair in his or her absence; assists the president/chair on the above or other specified duties.
Special Responsibilities: Frequently assigned to a special area of responsibility, such as membership, media, annual dinner, facility, or personnel.

Some organizations choose to make the vice president, explicitly or implicitly, the president-elect.

TREASURER
(adapted from The Board Café)

General: Manages the board’s review of, and action related to, the board’s financial responsibilities. May work directly with the bookkeeper or other staff in developing and implementing financial procedures and systems.

Reports: Ensures that appropriate financial reports are made available to the board. Regularly reports to board on key financial events, trends, concerns, and assessment of fiscal health.

Finance Committee: Chairs the Finance Committee and prepares agendas for meetings, including a year-long calendar of issues. In larger organizations, a separate Audit Committee may be chaired by a different person.

Auditor: Recommends to the board whether the organization should have an audit. If so, selects and meets annually with the auditor in conjunction with the Finance and/or Audit Committees.

Cash Management and Investments: Ensures, through the Finance Committee, sound management and maximization of cash and investments.

Board Secretary Job Description

The following description was adapted from materials from the National Center for Nonprofit Boards.

1. Is a member of the Board

2. Maintains records of the board and ensures effective management of organization’s records

3. Manages minutes of board meetings

4. Ensures minutes are distributed to members shortly after each meeting

5. Is sufficiently familiar with legal documents (articles, by-laws, IRS letters, etc.) to note applicability during meetings

 Board Member Job Description
(The following description was adapted from materials from BoardSource)

1. Regularly attends board meetings and important related meetings.
2. Makes serious commitment to participate actively in committee work.
3. Volunteers for and willingly accepts assignments and completes them thoroughly and on time.
4. Stays informed about committee matters, prepares themselves well for meetings, and reviews and comments on minutes and reports.
5. Gets to know other committee members and builds a collegial working relationship that contributes to consensus.
6. Is an active participant in the committee’s annual evaluation and planning efforts.
7. Participates in fund raising for the organization.

© 2005 – See Disclaimer 

All information provided is for educational purposes only. If you forward this information please leave copyright and disclaimer intact

March 4, 2008 at 5:20 pm 2 comments

FAQ: Trademarks and Service Marks for Not-for-Profit

What Is a Trademark or Service Mark?

The terms “trademark” and “service mark” refer to words, designs or logos that are used to indicate the origin or source of goods or services. 

There is no difference in the legal protections afforded trademarks versus service marks. The distinction is only with respect to what they identify. 

When used to identify a tangible product (such as jewelry or glassware), the word, design or logo is considered a “trademark.” 

When used to identify services (such as charitable services or educational services), the more appropriate term is “service mark.” 

“Trademark” also may be used broadly to identify both types of marks. For example, we refer to “trademark rights” and the “Trademark Office.”

What Is a Common Law Mark versus a Registered Mark?

In the United States, registration is not a prerequisite for using a mark or protecting a mark against infringement. Trademark rights can accrue simply through actual use of the mark in commerce, although there are significant benefits to registering a mark (see below). Those marks that are not registered but nonetheless are eligible for protection are called common law trademarks or service marks. 

We’ve Discovered Another Entity Using A Similar Name, Who Owns The Trademark?

The determination of whether a trademark is being infringed can be quite fact specific and will often require the advice of trademark counsel. 

Broadly speaking, however, the entity that first uses a mark in connection with a particular good or service has trademark rights that supersede the rights of later users of a similar mark for the same or related goods or services. In other words, the mere fact that another entity is using a similar or identical name does not necessarily mean that there is  a trademark conflict. Highly similar marks and even identical marks can often coexist peacefully so long as they are used on unrelated goods. 

Thus, in determining whether there is a true trademark conflict, one must consider not only whether the marks themselves are similar, but also whether the respective goods or services on which the marks are used are similar or otherwise related.

If your trademark counsel concludes that a genuine conflict exists, then the prescribed course of action will depend on which entity is found to have used the mark first. 

Copyright 2005 Pro Bono Partnership

More info at http://www.probonopartnership.org/publications/trademark.htm 

February 28, 2008 at 8:31 pm 1 comment

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