According to the 2018 Global NGO Technology report, 93% of NGO’s worldwide have a Facebook page.
Across the globe, most, if not all of your competitors vying for the attention of donors (who also have the capacity to give to you), have a presence on Facebook.
But that doesn’t mean they’re using it to its full potential.
In the same report, only 32% of NGOs admit to having a written social media strategy, and as we know “success is 20% skills and 80% strategy” (Jim Rohn).
Merely having a Facebook page isn’t enough to guarantee your success and you also need to make sure you’re using the channel to its fullest potential. Facebook sharing is how content goes viral so with the right strategy in place, you have the power to get your brand in front of every single one of Facebook’s 2.23 billion monthly active users (https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/) to raise awareness and help you further achieve your mission.
Here’s how to use Facebook to its best potential to connect with your audience:
Mix the style of your posts to help build your brand
Facebook isn’t just a platform to ask for support. It’s also a place to develop and strengthen your brand, build stronger relationships with your existing and potential donors, and raise awareness of your cause within your immediate and the wider community.
Post images that resonate with your brand voice. Point to articles in line with your key messaging and create engaging content that puts your charity front and centre in the mind of your donor.
Utilise Facebook groups
Facebook groups are an excellent way to build a community of support for your cause. Groups are more personalised than your public page with people having to request to become a member and join in the conversation.
Make sure the objective of the group offers value to the members. This could be updates on a program or project, thanking supporters who help consistently, competitions, business networking, or any other creative purpose of your choice.
Group members may not join the group directly because of your charity but provide enough value to them while they’re in the group, and they’re likely to end up supporting you in some way.
Take your followers behind the scenes
There are many misconceptions around charities and how they operate so give followers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the trials you face, as well as celebrating your successes with them.
Use Facebook Live and video updates to post content that will make your followers feel like they’re involved in your organisation and a valuable part of your team.
Use instant chat
Today’s online culture is gearing towards the fact that when people want to talk to someone, they want to do it now. Switch instant messaging on for a few hours a day to directly chat with your followers through a medium that they choose.
Perhaps someone’s browsing online trying to select charity to donate event proceedings to. Maybe an existing donor has a payment concern. Either way, seeing your little green ‘available’ dot shows your followers how accessible you are showing that you’re prepared to go one step further.
Facebook wants your page to be successful. The more views and engagement you get, the better the exposure for the popular platform and the more ‘air time’ they give you. Because of that, Facebook offers in-depth analytics to help you discover the type of content your audience loves so you can create more of it. Facebook also provides information on who your followers are including gender and location, to help you tailor content to a specific audience.
Create a content calendar
At least every three months, sit down and create a content calendar of upcoming key dates to make sure you don’t miss anything significant.
Giving Tuesday, International day of Charity and volunteer celebrations are examples of worldwide events that you should focus on and run promotions around. There’s nothing worse than logging into Facebook to find the event has already past, and you’ve missed a critical opportunity to showcase your cause or thank those involved in helping you achieve your mission.
Share your appeals
Whether you run a direct mail campaign, are asking for support via EDM, or you have an in-house call centre, Facebook is an excellent method of communicating your need for assistance with your donors.
Bear in mind the attention span of Facebook readers is often shorter than those who like to read direct mail appeal letters, but Facebook is an excellent place to build suspense about your appeal, let people know that it’s coming, and provide updates on funds raised and how they’re making a difference.
In a busy charity where staffing budgets are tight, management of the Facebook page often falls to someone who has a long list of more pressing tasks to complete too. Don’t leave Facebook posts to the last minute. Even if you’re not directly asking for support, they’re a crucial opportunity to connect with existing and potential supporters of your charity and every post should reflect this significance.
Facebook has a sophisticated scheduling tool that allows you to choose the time and date your content will post. Your metrics will show you the times of day that posts receive the most engagement, so it’s advisable to consider this when scheduling.
Allocate time each week to schedule well-crafted Facebook posts in advance to guarantee you have a good mix of posts to appeal to a wide audience.
Integrate your Facebook page with your donor database
Facebook is an app on most people’s phone and its how many people choose to connect with you. If you have a ‘donate now’ button on your page, make sure you track those who use it and log this as their preferred method of giving.
You can get to know donors really well through their Facebook interactions and this information must be recorded in-house to help you build relationships and enhance your fundraising efforts.
One last tip…
Whatever you post on Facebook, make sure the majority of your posts link back to your website, because, after all, that’s where the ‘donate’ button is and that should be the end goal of any Facebook strategy.
There’s a big difference between having a Facebook page and using it to its maximum potential. Make sure you do the latter to raise awareness, increase community support and – ultimately – get more donations.