Using Facebook

Before the main topic, just a quick note about today, November 16...It's Give to the Max Day (www.givemn.org)!  Today is the day all of Minnesota focuses on charitable giving. (We don't ignore it the other 364 days, but today is really special.) To date, GiveMN has helped Minnesota nonprofits raise over $30,000,000.00. Let's raise that by another few million today!

And now to the topic of the week...

ResultsPlus doesn’t have a Facebook page. To date, Facebook doesn’t seem to bring much to the table from an engagement perspective. But that’s for ResultsPlus. I’ve seen a number of nonprofits with very active Facebook pages. And they’re often active because of people posting about their attendance at events. They may be indicating that they are attending, or that they did attend and had a great time. You’ll see great stories about their plans to attend or an interesting thing that happened at the event. I’ve sometimes found myself posting to these pages, commenting about some cool aspect of the event or another. When asked, I’ve even invited my Facebook friends who live in the area to attend these events!

Why am I sharing this? Because these are examples of effective use of Facebook by the organizing nonprofits. It seems to me that a number of incredible objectives are met, and none of those objectives is “Make a Donation.” That doesn’t mean I don’t believe you can raise money on Facebook; it means that, from my perspective, the donations are a side effect of other opportunities for engagement. In this post, I intend to share the objectives met, as I see them, and to ask you to share with me what you do on Facebook. What are your objectives, and how do you meet them? I’m not an expert on nonprofits’ use of social media, so I’m hoping you will help out and correct me where you feel I’m wrong, and to add your own 2 cents’-worth (or even a whole quarter’s-worth!) of experience with using social media effectively.

Here are the objectives, as I’ve experienced them:

Engage those who are aware (increase loyalty)

  • Invite people you know to attend
  • Provide space for people to post their own thoughts about the event
  • If you need help, ask people if they can provide help.

Induce those already aware to make others aware (increase awareness)

  • Ask fans of the page to invite their friends to attend

Share interesting content (increase awareness)

  • As you ramp up for the event, post progress updates. If applicable, post pictures of the “work in progress.”Induce people to attend your event (develop awareness and loyalty)
  • See above!

The interesting side effect is that these people are not only more engaged with the specific event, they talk about it with their friends, they purchase tickets, they learn more about the organization, they volunteer, and they may even donate!

As I mentioned above, I’m no expert. I invite you to post comments, success stories, lessons learned…whatever experience you have regarding social media, and specifically Facebook. We’re all in this crazy world of evolving technology together!