By now, it’s no secret that Facebook is an incredible marketing tool. It enables even small organizations to reach a massive audience. And where nonprofits are concerned, Facebook provides some pretty powerful features.
Today, we’re going to talk about how your own charitable organization can leverage those features to maximum effect.
Encourage Followers to Share
Arguably one of the most interesting features on Facebook is that it allows users to independently raise money for a business, charity, or cause. Better yet, this is something that can happen without requiring any direct action on your part. Users can simply select your organization from a list of nonprofits when setting up their fundraiser.
Now, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are a few qualifiers here:
- Both you and the individual starting the fundraiser need to be located in a country that allows donations. You can find a full list on Facebook’s help site.
- You’ll need a Facebook Page for your organization, and that page will need to be categorized as a Charity, as outlined on Facebook’s Social Good Support Site. You’ll also need to go through a verification process.
- Your Facebook Page must be set up to accept donations. You can start the process by clicking here.
- Your Facebook Page must allow individual users to create fundraisers. You can configure this option under Publishing Tools -> Fundraisers -> Donation Settings.
Of course, unless you’re a massive nonprofit with a well-established brand, you can’t simply kick back and let the donations roll in. Instead, you’ll need to offer your audience a bit of encouragement. This can be as simple as a quick ask during holidays, or a Facebook post during a time of year directly relevant to your cause (for instance, an awareness month).
As noted by the nonprofit marketing agency Whole Whale, it may even be worthwhile to foster a bit of competitive spirit with a fundraising challenge, offering recognition and shout-outs to your top donors.
Generate Buzz With Facebook Live
Facebook’s value extends well beyond the digital realm. It’s also a powerful tool for real-world fundraisers, thanks to its video streaming service, Facebook Live. Whether giving your audience a front-row seat to a fundraising event or simply entertaining them with a Livestream, including a donation button in a Facebook Live broadcast can provide a huge boost to your cause.
As an added bonus, you can give donors direct shout-outs as the donations roll in, potentially inspiring even more people to give.
Interact. Engage. Cultivate.
Facebook is, first and foremost, a relationship management platform. Through a combination of messaging, media, and analytics, it gives you the potential to connect with your audience in a way that’s functionally unmatched elsewhere. Leverage it to do exactly that.
Use Facebook’s Audience Insights to get a better idea of who your audience is and what they’re interested in. Respond to messages, comments, and questions as best you can. Share relevant news and updates not just about your nonprofit, but surrounding your larger cause.
In short, don’t just treat Facebook as another fundraising platform. Treat it as a way to know, understand, and connect with your donors. Their donations, believe it or not, are secondary to the relationships you’ll cultivate with them.
In Closing: Elements of a Good Nonprofit Facebook Page
I’d like to wrap things up with a brief overview of how your nonprofit can effectively establish itself on Facebook. In my experience, the most successful charitable organizations on the social network all share a few key traits. These include:
- Good content. More than just updates about your cause, you should post content that informs, entertains, or inspires. Provide your audience with some value beyond plugging your need for donations. High-quality photos and videos tend to perform quite well, and your copy should be kept short and sweet.
- A proper content cadence. One of the most common mistakes I see organizations make on Facebook is that they either over-post or under-post. It’ll vary by audience, but generally, you should be aiming for a few posts a day, at most.
- A complete, optimized profile. In a lot of ways, the rules for a nonprofit’s Facebook Page are almost identical to those for a for-profit. You need to provide as much information as possible for your audience and include high-quality imagery that paints an accurate portrayal of your brand.
- Created with a plan in mind. Ask yourself why you’re on Facebook in the first place. This core goal should inform everything else you do.
About the Author: Brad Wayland is the Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.