When I’m speaking to nonprofit professionals about social media, the first question they want answered is this: “Do we really need a Facebook page?” (That is unless they already have a page for their organization. Then they want to know: “How do I get more people to like me on
My answer is usually along the lines of, “It depends.”
It’s not the answer they want, but it’s the right answer. That’s because the truth is, these questions aren’t your best starting point in thinking about social media – or Facebook. If you’re contemplating committing time to engaging people on Facebook – and it does take time – you need to ask yourself a bunch of other questions first.
The first question you should ask yourself as a fundraiser is, do you have your most basic online outreach in place? You shouldn’t be committing staff to Facebook if you don’t have a decent website home page or can’t email supporters.
Before you think about Facebook, you should have:
• A well-branded, easy-to-use website
• The ability to process secure donations
• An email campaign tool that complies with federal anti-spam laws
• A website analytics tool (like Google Analytics)
• A listening tool (so you can monitor online conversations)
• Great follow-up for online donors and supporters
• Smooth integration between online and offline efforts
• Regular reporting on all of your efforts so you can learn and correct as you go
If you don’t have these things, I wouldn’t be doing my day job if I didn’t tell you that Network for Good can help. Visit our For Nonprofits page and check out our DonateNow and EmailNow tools, as well as trainings and eBooks on all these topics.
If you already have all of the above, you may be ready for the next step: creating a social media strategy. If you’re actively conducting online outreach, monitoring results and listening to what people are saying about your issue, you will be able to put together a realistic strategy that identifies an audience you want to engage – and a goal for that engagement.
To help you maximize your success, Network for Good has asked Shabbir Imber Safdar and Shayna Englin to talk about what they learned in writing their new eBook on next week’s free Nonprofit 911Â® Teleconference - Tuesday, May 25 at 1 p.m. ET
They rightly point out that you are best off with clear, small goals that will give you sense of your progress and your return on investment for time spent on activities like Facebook engagement. They have great advice on exactly how to accomplish this – and they speak from experience. They took a year’s worth of data from US Fund for UNICEF’s Facebook fan page and website, studied it, and used statistical methods to find connections between certain activity and success in click-throughs and donations. They found some amazing things about how posting frequency affects engagement, as well as some ways to optimize your work when there’s a high-profile disaster tied to your issue.
Tune in to the webinar to get the benefit of their analysis and advice – and access to their book. They’ll even tell you how to get more “likes” – once you have your strategy in place. I’ll give you a hint – the answer isn’t by using Facebook to relentlessly hit people up for money. It’s about building relationships with people. That’s what always works best – not just on Facebook but wherever and however you fundraise.
May you have many great relationships!