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How to promote your non-profit's cause on Facebook in five easy steps

Lori Halley  05 June 2007  20 comments

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'.

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!

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Tuesday, 05 June 2007 at 4:24 PM


  • Giving Matters » More networking opportunities said:

    Wednesday, 06 June 2007 at 2:40 AM
  • Think Personality said:

    Thursday, 07 June 2007 at 11:14 AM

    Social networking just became socially conscious. It started when the 24-million-strong Facebook (compared to MySpace's 57 million) launched a new developer's platform that allows third-party companies to create bits of software that plug into Facebook.

  • angela said:

    Monday, 02 July 2007 at 12:54 PM

    It's a good way to increase our charity awareness.  

  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Tuesday, 03 July 2007 at 6:14 AM

    Today marks a special day for the Wild Apricot team - it's a one year birthday for our product and our

  • Carie Lewis said:

    Wednesday, 11 July 2007 at 7:20 AM

    We (The Humane Society of the United States) have had great success on MySpace and have just recently gotten into the Facebook world. With Groups (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2539101144), the Causes app, the Change.org app, and the new Care2 app, we've found many different ways to reach a whole new group of people and spread our message. People are creating causes and raising money on their own for issues they are passionate about, and we're here to give them additional resources if they need it.

    I'd love to share experiences and stories with anyone else that is just getting started on Facebook.

  • Heather said:

    Thursday, 26 July 2007 at 2:04 PM

    I know I'm joining the conversation a bit late, but I just had a quick thought about this post.  It's interesting that, even though everyone's all a-flurry about the Causes application, it still relies on a "top-down" structure -- registered nonprofits set up a cause that supporters then join.

    We, at PledgeBank, just launched an application ("Pledges") that reverses that power imbalance.  Rather than treating "supporters" as passive petition signers or donors, we offer up a platform that allows both casual and long-time activists to craft their own initiative (or "pledge").  I don't want to get too much into a commercial here, but it's interesting that Facebook users have accepted the Cause application as good enough for us...because I don't think it is.

    In a world of citizen-centered, citizen-directed action, I think we should demand more of social networks (and more of nonprofits!) to give more control (and more transparency) to supporters.  Is that too much to ask?

  • Vladimir said:

    Sunday, 19 August 2007 at 6:54 AM


    Here's a post about the 12 most prominent Facebook applications for nonprofit : http://theblong.com/wordpress/archives/418

    Very clear tutorial here ! Thanx


  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Monday, 15 October 2007 at 11:58 AM

    Did you know that most visitors leave a website within 10 seconds of landing on the home page? And they

  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Tuesday, 23 October 2007 at 9:28 AM

    Britt Bravo of Have Fun * Do Good has an excellent post about using the social web for social change.

  • Facebookster said:

    Monday, 05 November 2007 at 1:28 AM

    Facebookster - We can provide a full range of facebook application strategy,design, development and marketing for your business. Our service offerings will allow you to maximize and leverage the facebook social graph of 32+ Million users.

    We have been providing new media strategy, consulting and development for Fortune 100 Clients & Start-ups for several years. Our team of consultants, project managers and programmers are intimately familiar with the DNA of facebook and how to build an application that meets your business requirements.

    <a href="http://www.facebookster.com">www.facebookster.com</a>

  • Facebookster said:

    Monday, 05 November 2007 at 1:31 AM

    Facebookster - Need a Facebook application? Well you've reached the right place. Usually in typical companies you will find information about structure, policies, and ideologies. At *Facebookster*.com we focus on one thing: *Get it done*.

    Visit Now: www.facebookster.com or www.facebookster.net

  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Friday, 16 November 2007 at 7:16 AM

    I often receive questions from nonprofits about how to effectively use Facebook . So here are ten different

  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Friday, 16 November 2007 at 7:17 AM

    I often receive questions from nonprofits about how to effectively use Facebook . So here are ten different

  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Monday, 10 December 2007 at 10:21 AM

    It looks like there's been a lot of interest in using Facebook. As of November, our Facebook posts (new

  • Rebecca said:

    Friday, 22 August 2008 at 7:36 AM

    I am starting a non profit facebook for the organization I work for.  Now, I am very much at the learning stage, and reading a whole lot, but how do I get the organization name to show up instead of my name?  I am worried I registered wrong?

  • Blake Raab said:

    Saturday, 08 November 2008 at 4:31 AM

    These are good suggestions.  I just started a new cause on Facebook, and this will help to get it going a bit better.  Thanks.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Sunday, 09 November 2008 at 5:04 AM

    Hi Blake - we're glad to help! You may find some of our other posts about Facebook to be useful, too, if you're just getting started over there:


  • Andie said:

    Sunday, 22 March 2009 at 4:43 PM

    My only problem with Causes is that users have to add it as an application. Some users may not be comfortable with that. Causes has an advantage in that you can do fundraising within it, but you'd have to be registered with Guidestar.org.

    Another way in using Facebook is to create a Facebook Page for your nonprofit, it's also free and does not require for an application to be added; people can just click the link "Become a Fan" and they get updates on your nonprofit.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Monday, 23 March 2009 at 3:55 AM

    Andie, Facebook's New Public Profile Pages: Good News for Nonprofits (our most recent post about Facebook Pages) may interest you - a great deal has changed at Facebook, and it's change for the better!

  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Monday, 24 August 2009 at 11:33 AM

    The following is a list of some of the currently most popular posts on this blog for June and July 2007

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