Your Non-Profit’s Facebook Page: 3 Rules for Success

by Joe Garecht

Facebook for Non-Profits

Is your non-profit’s Facebook Page successfully bringing new supporters, donors, volunteers and friends to your organization on a regular basis?  Many non-profits put up a Facebook Page because they want to have a presence on the site, but aren’t quite sure how to make the most of this online real estate.

The real art in setting up your Facebook Page is figuring out what to include as content.  When setting up your non-profit’s Facebook Page, and as you add content to it, keep these 3 simple rules in mind:

Content Rule #1: Tell a Story

The most important thing to remember is that your Facebook page tells a kind of story of your organization. When people visit your page, they are skimming it over to see if they want to read more, engage more, or connect with your organization further. They are using everything they see on your page… pictures, text, videos, comments, etc… to form the story of your non-profit in their mind’s eye.

What kind of story are you telling on your page? Do your updates, your videos, your pictures, your discussions, etc. tell the story you want them to tell? Are you proactively designing an experience for your followers, or are you just posting updates?

For example, one non-profit I know has a very compelling story to tell about how they offer food and shelter to thousands of homeless men every year in one of the toughest neighborhoods of a major metropolitan area. But instead of posting the stories of the men they serve, video of their workers in action, and pictures of the hungry and homeless, they are constantly posting updates on their Facebook page about their upcoming fundraising events. They run a lot of events, and 9 out of every 10 posts are about their events.

What kind of a story is this organization telling on Facebook?

I’m not saying you should never post updates about your fundraising events on Facebook. What I am saying, though, is that most of your posts should be telling the story of your non-profit and the work you do. Fundraising is only a small part of that story.

Content Rule #2: Show, Don’t Tell

People have short attention spans online, and they definitely have short attention spans on Facebook. Most of your followers and connections on Facebook aren’t there to learn about your non-profit. They are there to be entertained and to spend 10 minutes doing something fun, instead of work. So they browse their wall, and the walls of their friends, looking for interesting “stuff.”

This means you have to catch people’s attention. You have to make them want to engage with you. If you are simply posting text as your updates, you will have trouble getting people to engage. The basic rule of thumb on Facebook is to show, not to tell.

Thus, you should be posting lots of pictures and videos on your page, primarily of your work and the people you serve.

Content Rule #3: Make Your Case for Support Clear

Everything your non-profit does to communicate with your friends, supporters, donors and the general public should tie in to your case for support. This means that your Facebook page should clearly tie in to your case statement and, over the course of your posts, links, and updates, show people why they should care about your work and want to get involved.

This means that you should post updates and multimedia that clearly shows the need you are addressing. It also means that you should post items that show the outcomes of your work. You want people to understand what you do, why it is important, and what you are doing to fix the problem. Then, ask them to follow your page and get involved in your work.

 

Photo Credit:  Maria Elena

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