Facebook Marketing for Nonprofits 101

Still convinced that Facebook is a shallow tool for teenagers to share pictures and judge each other by how many ‘friends’ they have? Think again. When utililzed to its full potential, Facebook is a valuable tool for non-profits and social enterprises to engage stakeholders and increase visibility. Yet many non-profits are still wary of social network marketing. They fear that spamming users and asking strangers for donations will hinder, rather than bolster their fundraising efforts. But there are many different ways to utilize the service to your advantage, from creating an application, setting up a store, or buying Facebook ads.

By creating a Facebook page, as opposed to a group, you can publish directly onto the news stream where you connect with your fans through a variety of media, like video, polls and status updates. Pages also allow you to analyze how fans interact with your page via the Insights Dashboard, which provides instant feedback to help you adjust your marketing approach. But your Facebook page shouldn’t just be a replication of your website. You can use your page to give users insights into the daily life of your organization and updates on your successes, events, meetings, and other goings on. You can also ask your fans what they think using polls, getting comments on videos and pictures and through other links. When your fans use the Share option to publish to your wall then friends in their networks can also learn about all the good work you’re doing.

One application, Causes, helps Facebook users be able to make a difference using the social network. The application provides a way for any individual to tell friends about causes, ask them to donate and spread the word using their own page. Also, you can make a user-created advocacy group on which administrators can post announcements, foster discussions, share information and sign petitions as part of communicating with group members. It also houses a Nonprofit Partner Center that facilitates managing multiple chapters using the application.

By creating your own application you can continually find fresh and creative ways to engage your fan base.  By creating a game, quiz or other fun content that they can post to their walls, you can spread the word without repeatedly sending the same messages or blatantly asking for funds. Adding a store or donations box to your page allows fans to buy merchandise or give you money. That way fans don’t have to leave Facebook to support you. In addition, Facebook has a page, facebook.com/nonprofits, specifically to help non-profits use the site. So ride the wave of the future and check out all the features that Facebook offers to engage your tech-saavy fans.

Photo Credit: Ben Stein