"How Non Profits Can Use Social Media – Facebook Edition"

Why Use Facebook for your Non Profit? Good question, well here are some facts that might get your attention.

  • Facebook is one of the largest social media sites on the web:
  • More than 200 million active users
  • More than 100 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day
  • More than two-thirds of Facebook users are outside of college
  • The fastest growing demographic is 35 and older

And their users are very active:

  • Average user has 120 friends on the site
  • More than 4 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day
  • More than 30 million users update their statuses daily
  • More than 6 million users become fans of Pages each day

(want some more demographics on users, check out Nick O’Neil’s Demographic Page)

So may want to take serious consideration about getting your NGO involved and engaged in this new media.

In this post I address two skill levels on Facebook for Non Profits: 

(Facebook 101) Basic for Non Profits and a more in depth part of the post (Facebook 102) Advanced for NGO’s for which I have Beth Kanter to thank for her deep and extensive coverage of the topic.

So if you already are an experienced Facebook user skip Facebook 101 and go to Facebook 102

Facebook 101 : How to get started on Facebook 

These nine points are meant to be a starting point for you to get your nonprofit on Facebook and into the social networking world. 

1. Sign up and create a Facebook Account

To get started, go to Facebook.com, click “Register” and fill out a short online registration form. Once you’re signed up, you’ll need to have a profile to share information and photos about your organization with others. What to include in your organization’s profile? Photos, links to your website and videos can all be added. 

2. Find friends and connect with your community

Now that you have a Facebook account, connecting to people in your community is easy. Start by using the search feature to find friends who are already using Facebook and request to be their friend. You can add just about anyone you can think of including your members, supporters, volunteers, staff and even your board members. Don’t worry if you don’t have a big list right away. Once you have two or more contacts, you’ll be able to expand your social network by locating mutual friends and contacting them.

3. Send and receive messages

Facebook offers a message board feature called “The Wall” that displays member profile pages. You can use it to post all kinds of messages to your network.

4. Create a group for your organization or event

Just like every other social networking site, you can create and join groups on Facebook. And there’s a growing number of groups dedicated to social change. Why create a group? Creating groups allows you to share information about pretty much anything. You can create groups for your organization or event to make announcements, join discussion groups or even to share pictures. There are two kinds of groups on Facebook – open and closed groups. So be sure to create open groups so that people can find it and your members can invite others to join.

5. Upload and share pictures

One of Facebook’s most popular features has been the ability to upload and share pictures. Facebook also offers an unlimited quota with their only restriction being a 60-photos-per-album limit. The process is very simple. Start by creating an album which you can then assign limitations to (e.g. visible to my members only) and upload photos within them. The album is then put into your profile, and other users can see and comment on them. You can also “tag” your photos with the names of people you mention and share the photos via a web link or by e-mail. What’s more is that you can order prints online!

6. Promote your events

Facebook is a great place to promote your organization’s events. Simply create the event, add pictures and invite your contacts to join. In addition to groups, you can post details of events in your profile so people can RSVP for an event. You also have the option to leave the event open to people in your network or open for everyone.

7. Promote your blog or newsletter

Facebook also helps you to promote your blog or newsletter. This feature allows you to share information beyond what’s in your profile in two ways. You can either post a note on your page or import your external blog. It is a nice way to communicate with your constituents and update them on your organization. You can also integrate an RSS feed in to your blog with notes. When you post it, the note is displayed in your profile and every one of your “friends” is notified and other members can add comments.

8. Keep in touch with your members

Facebook has a feature called “News Feed” that allows you to see all kinds of activity within your network. It’s very similar to an RSS feed, in that when you log in to Facebook you immediately receive an update of all of the actions your contacts have taken. And if someone posted a new photo album or RSVPed to an event, you’ll be notified right away.

9. Maintain some privacy

On Facebook, you are in control of what information is out there about your organization and who can see it. You can retain some privacy by blocking certain people from viewing your profile or by creating a limited profile to hide  information you might not want to share with your contacts.

  

Facebook 102

This includes a post from Beth Kanter, which is an extensive and exhaustive review of how to use Facebook for your NGO and a link to NTEN’s webinar on best practices for non profits and includes additional resources regarding how a non profit can setup and use Facebook.

NTEN has a fantastic Webinar featuring Randi Zuckerberg, Director of Marketing at Facebook and Adam Conner from the DC Office on the emerging best practices for nonprofits who want to set up Facebook Fan Pages.

Here’s the description

This webinar will be a resource for non-profits and other organizations for social good. Expanding on the Non-Profits on Facebook page, we want to help you harness the power of Facebook and bring positive change to the world. Facebook empowers non-profits by enabling them to mobilize communities, organize events, increase fundraising, reduce costs with free online tools, and raise awareness through viral networks.

 There are  3 Categories on  Facebook

  • Profiles: For Individuals  
  • Groups: These don’t have to be official or registered organisations
  • Pages: This is for organisations such as companies and non profits and when you set up the page you are supposed to be an official of that organisation according to Facebooks “Terms of Service”

“Profiles VS Pages”

  • Profiles are for individuals,  Pages for Organizations
  • Recently redesigned pages to be more like profiles
  • Pages are optimized for mass communication
  • Profiles are optimized for individual communication 

A question that everyone asks – “When should my group set up a Fan Page versus a Facebook Group?
Best Answer yet:   Set up a Facebook FanPage as your main presence or outpost and use a group for more adhoc, smaller organizing.

16 Tips for Setting Up Your Fan Page

  1. Keep your page name short and accurate, can’t change after you create it
  2. There is a day or two lag for it shows up in search
  3. Content is lifeblood of your page
  4. Start with information tab: be complete, accurate, and honest
  5. Fan Page backend is like a cms and if you know a little HTML you can do some spiffy stuff
  6. Not all applications are optimized for pages, visit the app page to check
  7. All pages require ADMIN – designated FB profile – for security reasons because they want a real person
  8. Admin are not public – add multiple admins –  always have multiples as a precaution so you don’t loose access to the page. 
  9. Wall Tab – accuracy updates of information.  “Write Something” lets you post rich content”
  10. More interactive content is better – the Wall is a history of interactive
  11. Worst thing you can do with a page is dump an RSS feed into the Page – won’t be as successful
  12. When you make updates to the Page, it appears in the streams of your fans or people who have joined your page.  This is very powerful viral marketing
  13. When you start to write in the “write something” you get options to add links, photos, videos – post things that are beyond promotion content. Be interactive, make it interesting, provide behind the scenes content.  Incorporate events into your page.  “Exclusive content is good”
  14. Shed the tradition PR schtick content and make it real.
  15. Red Cross Fan Page is a great example.  So is One Campaign and Stanford University.
  16. Lexicon on Facebook lets you track words and phrases 

Some Good References

www.facebook.com/facebookpages
www.facebook.com/nonprofits
www.facebook.com/influencers
www.facebook.com/help
www.facebook.com/advertising

Q&A Nuggets

  • Nonprofits on Facebook set up as a mechanism to share nonprofit best practices on Facebook.  That’s the intent of Facebook.com/nonprofits so everyone can learn from it.
  • Fan Pages have a metrics tool that has just been upgraded.  It’s called the insight tool — you can see better metrics for the Fan Page
  • If you set up your Fan Page before the nonprofit category, don’t worry.  They are working on having the ability to change it, but not high priority.  Doesn’t control the search.
  • Why can’t you invite Fans to your page?
  • It’s intended to prevent spam. Nonprofits are nicely behaved, but others are not so nicely behave.   That’s why there is a limit 30 people to invite to your page
  • You can send an update to your members, it’s like an email blast and encourage them get people to join.
  • Yes, you can link Causes to your Facebook Page – Causes will be rolling out some new information next week, so be sure to check the Nonprofits on Facebook.
  • It is useful to have a group for more intimate conversations, where a  page is more public
    You can have both.  Groups are good for small scale organizing. Pages are more public presence
  • Nonprofits vanity urls are now here  (Don’t know what the heck a vanity url is?  Read Nick’s post

How to let people know how to join your page?
(1) Put the Name of page so when people search for it – they will find it
(2) No direct way to subscribe
(3) Fan of your page via SMS – text fan name of your page to the Facebook short code (FBOOK (32665))

Can we delete our group?
Deleting groups is difficult – there is a form you can fill out to have the group deleted – use the help page to do it.

The real scoop about a successful fan page.

“We want to encourage you to experiment. Let’s be honest, takes an effort to build a community
Just because Facebook is free doesn’t mean it is easier to get a million fans.  Don’t start from scratch – look at the other groups that are already talking about your cause and experiment or piggy back or do cross promotion.”

Add Apps Strategically To Your Fan Page – at minimum you want video, photos, Causes, and a few others.  “Think like a user, what would encourage your to click through?  Your fans don’t think about you 24/7.  So for the few minutes they might visit you, what do you want them to know?” (Here’s some good nitty gritty how-to information on which apps to add to your Fan Page)
 

Facebook

So have you used Facebook or Social Media for your non profit or organisation? What were your experiences. Would love to hear from you.

Comments

  • http://www.carped.org Indian NGO

    This article was really informative and had assembled a number of important points at one place.

    Thanks
    Carped.org

  • http://www.tickyes.com Peter Applebaum

    Fantastic post, Jeff. Thanks! I have a friend who is the CEO of a NFP here in Australia, I’m going to pass it on to him.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mickgriffin Mick Griffin

    I am a Social Media consultant and would like to offer my services free of charge to any non-profit looking to get started.

  • http://www.rossmcculloch.com Ross McCulloch

    Brilliant article Jeff. I’ve added it to my 10 must-read Facebook resources for non-profits: http://www.rossmcculloch.com/10-must-read-facebook-resources-for-non-profi

  • http://www.educationgeneration.org Ashley

    We have had some difficulty with events and sending reminders to people attending when the event is set up in connection to our Fan Page. Groups seemed to have better functionality with regards to this. Any suggestions?

  • Mark W. Prasek

    I’ve developed a facebook app that makes it possible to reach not only fans – but the “friends of fans” as well. White Paper is at http://bit.ly/c2CKeq

    Let me know your thoughts. Could be a real winner for non-profits

  • http://www.shareusprofit.com Sohaib

    I saw this idea in the following Social Network: http://www.shareusprofit.com
    ShareUsProfit.com is a website which shares the revenues with all members.

  • http://twitter.com/stacyknows stacyknows

    Thanks for this outline. I am helping a non profit tomorrow and now at least I have some direction. Stacy doesn’t always know.

  • http://twitter.com/rupzies Rupa Palsingh

    I think this is a good story how Facebook was used to raise funds to help a British teacher in coma: http://bit.ly/NaeY09 .. Friends, family and even strangers donated to help him.