Social Media channels have distinct characters.
If LinkedIn feels like a job interview, it kind of is. Facebook feels casual, friendly. Twitter pops with knowledge and asks for more. There are paths and rules, but they are not hardcoded.
Users find their own way into the game. And they keep changing it. Nonprofits should recognize and embrace this as collective work.
For organizations on Facebook, the Like can be a gateway to giving.
Being on Facebook is a simple, flexible way to animate nonprofit identity. The advantage is intrinsic. Users anticipate a personal connection. There is a psychic upshot to a Newsfeed blended with posts from friends and organizations. These are your people, who chose you. They want to know more, and they have opted in at no cost.
Your page tells your story, but your story changes. This is not direct response. It is a rolling conversation.
Many nonprofits are up on Social Media without a plan or integration into analog (real life) efforts. I think it is important to stay in, take chances, and adapt with the online community. They will probably ferry you along in fantastic ways. Nonprofits on Facebook is a good place to start and find resources.
Here are a few ways to be on Facebook from three organizations:
Back on My Feet challenges homelessness through running. Together, volunteers and homeless people train and race. Running is a bridge to job interviews and independence. Their Facebook presence is uncluttered with spot on mission. BoMF shares the story with posts from leaders and fundraisers, news coverage, and lots of photos. No top-down messaging. Here’s the BoMF New York Group page on Facebook.
Created with a Status update, Yellow Boats of Hope now exists as a foundation. They provide boats to children who swim to school in the Philippines. Notice the similarity of their website and Facebook Page. The ask is very pure, and the need undeniable. This is an example of a digital nonprofit. They know who they are.
Sports, Facebook and fundraising fit naturally. The photos from volunteer fundraisers are amazing, the stories compelling. My running charity (NY and Paris Marathons 2013, and two past events), Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, uses Facebook in multi-faceted ways. LLS has outreach on organizational pages, and Facebook Groups for runners and coaches each season. Check out their Facebook stats for current Likes and mentions.
Because Likes are public, they are essentially badges. There is a Facebook effect on participation. Mutual appreciation stems from it. And a sense of being vested in an organization’s future.
The Likers have stepped up. Some with deep, true passion. Others with curiosity or mild interest. Nonprofits should greet them, cheer them, thank them and make them part of the experience.