Facebook Campaigns for Non-Profit Organizations

January 6, 2010 at 2:56 am 4 comments

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.

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


Entry filed under: Links and FYI, Social Media for Nonprofits.

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