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Ten Innovative Ways Nonprofits Can Use Facebook

Lori Halley 16 November 2007 4 comments

I often receive questions from nonprofits about how to effectively use Facebook. So here are ten different ways that nonprofits can use Facebook. Many of these tips can be found in my Beginner's Guide to Facebook and How to promote your Cause on Facebook articles.
1. To raise funds for your organization's fundraising campaign
Example: The Humane Society of the United States raised $5,000 on Facebook and the ONE campaign raised $2,360 with 8,802 members.
2. To find and communicate with potential supporters
Example: The fastest growing Facebook group now has a million members - the Stephen Colbert Group. This is the strongest example of social network usage for political promotion. By spending very little time and money, Colbert has managed to gather one million supporters and communicate with its supporters.
3. To stir and broaden support for important social issues
Example: Alex Bookbinder, 19, who was backpacking around Southeast Asia, started the campaign "Support the monks protest in Burma" on Facebook seeking to draw attention to the violent crackdown by Myanmar's military rulers against pro-democracy protests led by the country's revered Buddhist monks, and using Internet as a vital tool to speak up about the real world. Within days, the campaign gathered more than 136,000 members who have already pledged to organize events around the world.
4. To empower members to engage in their own actions
Example: Advocacy efforts such as the recently-released Darfur scorecard are focused on giving members effective tools to engage in their own actions.

5. To organize, promote and manage events

Example: The World Education and Development Fund, an organization who transforms lives by supporting high-quality education for impoverished communities in Latin America, held an event at Babson College. This organization also has a group on the Facebook.

6. To promote your organization's blog, latest news and meetings

Example: There is a campus group for UNICEF at Indiana University. They started a group on the Facebook to announce news and meetings.

7. To raise public awareness and money for advocacy efforts

Example: Dollars for Darfur, the brain-child of high school students Nick Anderson and Ana Slavin, is a nationwide fundraising competition among high schools to raise money for the advocacy efforts of the Save Darfur Coalition and humanitarian assistance for Darfuri refugees.The Facebook page encourages students to post ideas for fundraisers and talk about the crisis. It also encourage students to visit the organization's website and create a personal fundraising page for their school.

8. To find and recruit volunteers

Example: Colleges have student organizations who are involved in volunteering and fundraising. There are also student groups of a nonprofit organization. Both college and regional networks hold events such as Relay for Life or Race for the Cure.

9. To create a single branded page of your organization''s work

With the new Facebook pages application, nonprofits can create a single branded page. As an example, check out the page Seth Rosin created for Malaria No More on Facebook. The best thing about these new pages is the ability to post videos focusing on the work of your organization. 

10. To stay in touch with core audiences on an ongoing basis

Example: Take a look at the Humane Society's Facebook page, which integrates multi-media, event management and more.  Facebook registration is required to view the page so take this as an opportunity to sign-up today if you haven't already.

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 Friday, 16 November 2007 at 9:00 AM


  • Mary said:

    Monday, 26 November 2007 at 11:31 AM

    Is there a way to invite friends through the non-profit's facebook page? I have been forced to invite friends through my personal page and connect them to my non-profits which can be confusing to my possible friends.

  • Jason King said:

    Sunday, 26 October 2008 at 8:33 PM

    My organisation (Baptcare) is about to start its first campaign on Facebook so I'm circulating your article round the dept.

    BTW, you didn't mention the Facebook Causes application.

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

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Friday, 07 November 2008 at 9:13 AM

    Jason, had the Causes application been released when Soha wrote this post? I can't recall... At any rate, thanks very much for mentioning it! A number of nonprofits have been finding Causes very useful.

  • Katie said:

    Monday, 15 December 2008 at 8:18 AM

    What is the best tool for a non-profit to use? Causes, groups, a page? I'm confused as to which allows the non-profit to do the most and be most visible. We want to collect members, raise funds, tell people about events and important issues in our field, and more.  Thanks!

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