So you've signed up your nonprofit group for a Facebook Page -- now
what? It can be challenging to know what to put on your Page
to make the best use of the space, especially if you're setting out to build a new page from scratch. And if you're new to Facebook, it may seem there's a bewildering array of applications
to choose from.
Michelle Bake, who runs Make Poverty History Etobicoke
(a community chapter in support of Canada's nationwide anti-poverty
campaign), shares some of the thinking that went into building her
organization's Facebook Page:
First off, I chose a Facebook Fan Page over a Group for my local
Make Poverty History group because the Fan Pages are more engaging, and
the updates are non-intrusive like the Group emails that would flood my
FB Inbox. I like my Inbox to be from friends not filled with badly
written, all caps (people still do that?) spam. I've left many a group
because of that.
FB Fan Pages have enormous potential that you
can tailor to your specific NP. After comparing some good vs bad ones I
knew that I wanted my group's page to be clean and the messaging to be
clear and consistent.
Instead of these long, drawn out and very text heavy explanations/intros, I used formatting and spacing to express the MPH platform. After all, sometimes if the brand is strong you don't need to go into extensive background info.
When you first sign up your organization for a Page, Facebook makes
some of the content choices for you, based on the category of Page you
Businesses will get one set of information categories and
applications, for example, while artists and bands see a different set
of default options.
For nonprofits, Facebook's default selection of topics and
applications does give a useful place to start, although some of the
wording ("company overview," for example) sounds rather commercial for
- Profile Picture (the main picture that will represent your group on Facebook)
- Basic info (the year your organization was founded)
- Detailed Information (website address, company overview, mission, and products)
Fans of your Page are shown by default, as is the Mini-Feed that
reports your activities related to the Page such as adding new
photographs or applications.
Most of the information-sharing and
interactive applications you're likely to want or need are installed by
default on non-profit Pages, too. These include:
- Discussion Boards
You do have the option to install other applications if you
like. Most commonly suggested applications, as of this writing, are the 'My Merch Store' and 'Causes':
- My Merch Store
lets you create products for sale and post them to your Page --
T-shirts, posters, cards, stamps, mugs, hats, and so on, to help
promote your cause or raise funds for your group.
- Causes on Facebook
lets you create a cause, recruit your friends into that cause, keep
everybody in the cause up-to-speed on related issues and media, and,
"most importantly, raise money directly through the cause for any U.S.
registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit or Canadian registered charity.
For her group's Page, Michelle substituted the YouTube Box application for the somewhat limited Facebook Video application, and placed it high up in her righthand sidebar:
My main goal of the page was to engage people, to stay for
a while and hopefully to get involved. Since most people are visual
adding the YouTube box app was a no-brainer. My tip here is to change
the title of the video when you upload to your page so that it's a
short, concise phrase so it doesn't loop to a second line. Something
that evokes the message of the video and gets people to click on it.
Placement is also important -- I've put mine above the cutline because
as we all know not everyone scrolls down.
Because the Page is intended to complement the Make History Etobicoke blog, RSS Feed was added to display the blog's 5 most recent posts.
There are a number of popular feed-serving applications for
Facebook, but "what's nice about this app is that when you click on the
post link it takes you straight to the blog page instead of forcing you
to download another app (like some do)," Michelle says. As well, the clean
and simple display box will not compete for reader attention with the
graphics or other features of your Page.
Posted Items is
undoubtedly one of the most widely adopted applications, familiar to
almost any Facebook user. "It's a favourite of mine," says Michelle,
"because you can post basically anything related to your group from
most any source i.e. FB event, news article, external video, etc. It
also allows for a comment so that you can highlight why it is an
important piece of news."
I like this application, too, and especially for nonprofits -- it
meets head-on one of the criticisms of Facebook (that it is largely an
insular social site) by creating meaningful links with the broader
The one feature that Michelle Bake says she'd like to be able to add to her nonprofit's Page is Music
in the form of a profile song that would reflect her nonprofit much as
the profile picture helps to set the tone. That's one example of
category-specific options for Facebook Pages, however, she notes: For
legal reasons, Facebook allows the direct upload of music files only by
musicians themselves, or by their official representatives.
What about you? Which features or apps make your "wish list" for a
Facebook Page for your nonprofit 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!