Non-profits organizations using Facebook can now launch a social-networking-based fundraising drive for their cause, promote it to their friends and network, and raise money. That in a nutshell is what a new mini-application within Facebook called Causes is all about.
Launched by Project Agape, this new service extends the “group” features and allows users to create causes, take donations, and recruit members. Why is this feature good for charities? According to digitaljournal.com:
“This is a good step for charitable foundations, and will be a defining move as more and more of these groups begin to pop-up on Facebook. There are many worthy charities already on the site, so I see this feature taking a huge lead and pushing some action with the groups. The demographic of Facebook users is also younger, thus more likely to donate to charity.”
In my recent beginners guide to Facebook I covered some of the ways that you can get started using Facebook. In this follow-up post, I'll take you through five simple steps you can do today to promote your cause on Facebook:
1. Create a new cause and choose to have it support your campaign.
To create a new cause, click the 'start cause' button from your Facebook profile page. Fill out the following five sections: Basic Information; Category and Tags; Geography; Picture; Choose a nonprofit organization that will benefit from your cause. When you’re done, you will be asked to add a contact email address and it will be featured in your profile as an 'application widget'.
2. Invite your friends and network to join and support your cause
Once you’ve created a new cause, you can either invite your friends to join or just wait for people to find your cause and join your group. Facebook’s “feed” feature will automatically notify your friends. You can also send messages to personally invite them to join your cause.
3. Tell your cause with photos
Facebook’s Cause application only allows you to select one picture or logo to go with your cause. But you can upload pictures on a photo sharing site such as Flickr or Smugmug and add a link to your page. You'll find some good information to help you get started with Smugmug on this post.
4. Use your cause to get media coverage
Public relations is one of the most important aspects of promoting non-profit organizations. It works because you can get a lot of free publicity through it. So why not use your cause and the funds raised to write a press release about your achievements. You’ll probably need to have a lot of members signed up or a significant amount of money raised for the media to pay attention, but it’s worth it. One good example is the ONE campaign which has raised $2,360 with 8,802 members.
4. Involve your friends and supporters
Looking for ways to involve your members and supporters? After a donation has been made, a scorecard on your member’s profile page tracks how many people your members recruited and how much money they have raised.
5. Promote awareness about your fundraising events
If you have a fundraising event coming up, create a new cause to promote awareness and raise funds for that event. Promote your new cause on your organization's website, event website, other social networking sites that you are part of, etc. Facebook is all about getting the word out and the more causes. groups and friends you add, the more visibility and awareness you will get for your organization.
Examples of nonprofit causes on Facebook
Here are a few examples of causes on Facebook that you can join or support:
A lively debate on Facebook
I learned from the Social Signal blog that there's an interesting debate going on about whether Facebook is a developer's worst nightmare or dream scenario. To join this lively debate, you’ll need to join Facebook (if you haven’t done so already) and then head on over to the discussion that's currently unfolding on the Facebook Developers Group.
Want to learn more about how your non-profit organization can make the most of social media on a small budget? Get updates from the Wild Apricot non-profit technology blog by RSS feed or by email, free!