Facebook Exec: "Facebook is Not Only For Fundraising" [Updated]

Elmer Sotto, head of growth for Facebook in Canada, addressed the attendees of the 30th International Fundraising Congress happening this week and explained exactly why non-profits shouldn't use Facebook only for fundraising - and what they should use it for.

Non-profits have often complained that Facebook-centric fundraising campaigns aren’t raising as much money as they’d hoped – and this week they found out why. According to Elmer Sotto, head of growth for Facebook in Canada, Facebook should not be treated only as a fundraising tool. Instead, non-profits should be focusing their energies on engagement and building a loyal audience. Sotto’s address to attendees of the 30th International Fundraising Congress happening this week explained exactly why non-profits shouldn’t use Facebook just for fundraising – and what they should use it for.

**Update: We wanted to clear up some confusion surrounding a remark made by Elmer Sotto at the International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands. Elmer was making the point that charities should not just look to Facebook for fundraising alone, rather that they should use the site to build a relationship with their audience as part of their overall fundraising efforts. The assertion that Elmer said that Facebook isn’t a good tool for fundraising is just incorrect.**

Sotto was quoted in Civil Society as saying:

“This is not simply a tool for fundraising. If you think it is, you’ve missed the whole thing. It’s a means to build a relationship… Facebook allows you to build a relationship slowly over time with a lot of people”

He believes that Facebook should not be the only tool used by non-profits looking to raise funds. Instead, charities should be using direct mail and email in order to mobilize potential donors. These are more direct and targeted methods of raising money, whereas Facebook is designed for a completely different type of user engagement.

Sotto went into detail about what Facebook does offer non-profits, and it’s all about engagement.

He urged charities to spend some time learning the ropes – how to engage people and build “likes” on their page. These “likes” are critical. The more “likes” a non-profit has, the more likely their updates will appear on their followers’ newsfeeds, thus increasing their exposure even more.

He emphasized that Facebook is all about the social, and non-profits should remember this. They should use their stories and their members’ stories, while remaining authentic. This will appeal to people, and help them connect to followers.

He also gave some specific tips on managing a non-profit page that could be applied to a business or personal Facebook page as well. Every post should be accompanied by a photo in order to garner more visibility on people’s newsfeeds. Posts should also be simple – no need to inundate followers with large chunks of text. And finally, Sotto reminded non-profits that the best posts always have a question or a call to action attached, to really increase user engagement.

Sotto was speaking at the Digital Masterclass at the 30th International Fundraising Congress (IFC) in Holland on October 19th. The IFC is a conference that attracts over 900 non-profit representatives and business leaders from 55 countries each year, and focuses on non-profit training, education, dialog and networking opportunities.