5 Ways To Improve Your Nonprofit's Page On Facebook

How do the best nonprofits make the most of Facebook, as opposed to other social media sites? Here's some answers from the American Red Cross, Share Our Strength, and Causes.

Facebook wants do-gooders to continue to do their thing on this site and not go running off to startups like the one started by one of the company’s original founders.

Perhaps that was the motive for this afternoon’s chat that Facebook’s Washington D.C. office hosted with Wendy Harman, social media director for the American Red Cross; Clay Dunn, online community director from Share Our Strength, and Sarah Koch, manager of nonprofit services for Causes.

Based on the half-hour video discussion of their best practices, here are five ways to improve a nonprofit’s page on Facebook.

Educate people about the issues and your practices

Use active language to describe your organization’s activities and objectives. Quantify accomplishments: number of people helped, amount of money raised, scope of aid given. Similarly, supply statistics measuring the extent of the problems that your group is addressing or solving. The more specific you get, the better.

Have two-way conversations with fans

Encourage those who “like” your organization to post on your wall. Ask appropriate questions and create compelling content that will inspire participation. Make a point of reading others’ postings on your wall because the feedback can help you shape your group’s policy. Also, these practices have a way of growing your fan base.

Gather donations

Options for soliciting donations on Facebook continue to grow. So far, Causes has raised $30 million for nonprofits on the social network. Other charitable ventures are just beginning to make use of programs incorporating Credits into donations. These things have only just begun to get going, but already they appear cooler than going door-to-door or telemarketing. When your friends can see your altruistic inclinations, they often get inspired to follow in your footsteps. And vice versa.

Get signatures and other participation

Whether you’re trying to get lawmakers to hear your side of a story, or get your local elections officials to include your issue on a ballot, Facebook offers a highly effective way to reach large numbers of supporters quickly. The same goes for organizing rallies or protests that would occur offline. Make good use of the events feature to remind people to attend your events or show up at the polls.

Network with other nonprofits

Unlike how for-profit brands approach social media, there’s really no such thing as competitors for non-profits — all are potential partners and role models that will likely show you everything you want to see under that proverbial kimono. Reach out to the page administrators of charities and other organizations that have goals similar to your own. Once you make that first connection, the possibilities are virtually endless. Compare notes on what you currently do, would like to do better and possibilities for collaboration.

Readers, do you agree with these five suggestions? Are there any recommendations you’d like to add? And what has your experience been with either running nonprofit pages or interacting with them as a fan?