Like their for-profit counterparts, most nonprofit organizations today have a Facebook page. For nonprofits, using Facebook is a cost-effective way to reach and engage with your audiences and increase your exposure to new proponents of your cause.
So what can you do to attract audiences and maximize the value of your donors? Here are 11 Facebook tips for nonprofits:
Be strategic about your posting frequency.
What time you post will vary depending on the audience you’re trying to reach. But knowing how frequently to post can also help amplify your impact.
Hubspot’s recent nonprofit survey on social media use showed most nonprofits spend approximately 1-2 hours per week on social media. One post per day should keep you in news feeds and at the forefront of audiences’ minds.
Write quality posts and don’t post for the sake of having a high volume of posts. If the content is not quality, it won’t garner many likes or shares and could even result in people unliking the page. In this case, the “everything in moderation” strategy works best.
Use video to tell your story.
One effective way to engage audiences is with video. Make sure to record at events such as fundraisers and volunteer efforts to show potential donors what’s happening with your organization. Additionally, conduct interviews with those who have benefited from your organization to illustrate how the work you do is meaningful.
United Way offers a variety of videos on its Facebook page encouraging people to volunteer, showcasing the organization’s work and advertising its service offerings. It effectively uses video to tell the stories of those impacted by the organization, further driving home the cause.
Sending these types of messages to those interested in your work showcases your efforts in an intriguing way. Don’t hold back on the creativity — use this method of communication to let people know why your organization stands out.
Tag volunteers, attendees and staff in your photos.
Posting photos is another great way to engage your audience. People want to see the faces in your organization — show them who works there and the people who benefit from your efforts.
The American Red Cross uses photos on its Facebook page to showcase blood donors and disaster relief efforts. Another way it uses photos is with quick tips, such as this one, which explains how to stay safe in dangerous flood conditions:
Another helpful way to increase positive engagement is to tag volunteers in your photos. Volunteers like being recognized for their hard work and will be more likely to leave a positive comment on the photo in response. As a bonus, those in your volunteers’ networks will be able to see the photos as well, leading to a potential boost in likes (and donors!) for your organization.
Link to your blog
Use your organization’s blog as a way to tell the story of who you’ve helped, those who still need help and the impact your organization is making on the world. Linking to this information on your Facebook page can help increase exposure so audiences can understand what your organization is all about.
The Susan G. Komen Facebook page consistently posts content from its blog, generating interesting discussions and leading to higher levels of engagement. Patients and family members can discuss their experiences and opinions and provide support to one another by commenting on the Facebook post and also in the blog itself.
Use hashtags (#) to start conversations
Hashtags are no longer just for Twitter — Facebook uses them, too. Create hashtags relevant to your organization (for example, your major keywords) and incorporate them into your posts. Using hashtags gets people talking and starts conversations about your mission.
A popular hashtag that gained traction in the last few years is #GivingTuesday. 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation started the movement as a response to the consumerism of Americans who participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It has since turned into a national day of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
Another route is to incorporate trending topics (hashtags that have sparked a lot of conversation) into your posts. Popular hashtags like #ThrowbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday are used by businesses, nonprofits and individuals each week.
Hold contests to increase engagement (and have some fun)
Who doesn’t love to be a winner? Your organization can get in on the fun by creating a contest that encourages people to donate, which engages your audience in a fun, interactive way.
For example, your nonprofit might hold a photo contest where, for a donation of $10, volunteers can enter for a chance to win a framed photo of something related to your cause. Be sure to include your organization’s name on the picture frame and send other informational materials with the prize.
Another easy contest idea is a quiz contest, where you can ask your audience a question and they must donate to answer/enter to win. Offer a prize to the winner such as a calendar, water bottle or other branded goodies your organization has in house.
Hold contests throughout the year to engage with your audience and increase donations. Make sure the instructions are clear, and respond to questions in a timely manner.
Use online fundraising apps for Facebook
Using apps for Facebook like FundRazr as a tool in your fundraising efforts can help raise money quickly and easily. Through the FundRazr website, you create your campaign for free and tell the story of your cause. Next, share it on your Facebook page and then wait for donations to come in. You can manage your account with others on your team and have instant access to funds.
Create a Facebook group for those affected by your cause
Not to be confused with a Facebook page, a group can be managed by anyone and acts as a shared space for users to communicate about an interest they have in common. In contrast, pages are managed by official representatives of a business, organization, celebrity or brand to communicate with those who “like” the page.
Creating a Facebook group for your cause has some advantages over a page. With a group, group administrators can adjust the privacy settings to require member approval, and members receive notifications when any member posts.
There are many Cleveland Clinic groups on Facebook for patients with various conditions, families of patients, medical interns, doctors, research teams and more to provide support to one another and share their experiences.
Having this option available to your audience can allow collaboration and participation with your audience in a laid back setting.
Utilize Facebook Ads to raise awareness
Advertising on Facebook is another way to raise awareness about your organization’s mission. When creating an ad, you can target each one to reach different segments of your audience using gender, age and location filters. You can set your pricing for as low as $5 and have the ability to measure the results so you can determine what’s working and what isn’t.
When you choose bidding that is cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression (CPM), you only pay for clicks or impressions received from your ad, which can be effective if the ads are well-targeted.
Set up Facebook Events and Places to stimulate interest
When your organization has a fundraiser or other type of event you want the public to attend, Facebook’s events feature allows you to send invites for free. If you have a Facebook group, you can even invite all members of a group to attend the event. When creating the invite, you can include information such as location, date and time. You are able to see who has responded and who RSVPs.
When you create an event, you have the option to add a location so people can check in when they arrive. This lets others know where they are and can stimulate interest in following this event. Make sure when you create an event, it shows the physical address of the location where the event is being held.
Be strategic about when you hold campaigns
Choosing the right timing for a campaign makes all the difference. Generally speaking, the period between Thanksgiving and New Year can be the most lucrative time for nonprofits to launch fundraising campaigns. Why? Because it is the season of giving and people are more inclined to open their hearts (and their wallets) to causes they care about.
According to LAPA Fundraising, this time of year is when the most money is raised for annual contributions. Create these campaigns for your Facebook page during this key time and test their performance. An option Facebook offers to maximize campaign exposure is to boost (promote) your posts, where it will extend its reach to not only those who like your page, but also their friends.
There are many ways to use Facebook to increase engagement with your audience and get more out of your donors while staying within your budget. Have you tried any of these and achieved success? Are there any important strategies we missed? Let us know in the comments below!