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Nonprofit on Facebook ROIGet ready for a roaring point vs. counterpoint, thanks to Facebook for Nonprofits expert John Haydon, who shares his Yay below.

I’ll be following up with mini case studies and links to research supporting my recommendation. Please share your Facebook plan (or plan not to use) and why here, and/or tell us what it does (or doesn’t do) for your organization.

NAY, IN MOST CASES
You’ve probably noticed the raging discussion about the value (or not) of Facebook for all organizations (profiteers too)—it even made the most mainstream ever Time magazine.

There are two main reasons Facebook use is in question:

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Nancy Schwartz in Social Media | 23 comments
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Urge Facebook to offer Facebook Ad Grants to nonprofits like yours—Please add your name now to this petition.

Facebook is a vital tool for most of us, and their attention to the nonprofit market (as with the introduction of the Donate button this week) is fantastic. However, they change the platform’s ways and rules at a million miles an hour, making it tough for us nonprofit marketers to use this important channel well to move our missions forward.

There’s no debate that Facebook is a productive platform on which to interact with supporters and build your base. But each change they make generates a lot more work for organizations like yours (our clients too!) to learn the latest and greatest techniques, and shift campaigns accordingly.

But one of Facebook’s recent changes is far worse than that—several months ago Facebook introduced promoted posts. I want you to understand what this is—a pay-to-play approach limiting the ability to reach Facebook fans on a regular basis to marketers who pay to promote their posts.

That’s going to cut many of your orgs out of the Facebook game altogether and put the rest of the sector at a significant disadvantage. But there’s something you can do about it!

Please join me in urging Facebook to introduce an ad grant program for nonprofits, so organizations like yours aren’t silenced by promoted posts. Sign this petition now

Thanks for joining me! I’ll keep you posted.

 

Nancy Schwartz in Social Media | 0 comments
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Take charge of your nonprofit’s Facebook future, right now.  If your organization uses Facebook to any degree beyond having a page with nothing on it, you have just 24 more days until your page is converted to the new timeline design. Here’s what you need to know and do to work these changes to your organization’s advantage:
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Nancy Schwartz in Social Media | 0 comments
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I’m thrilled to welcome Holly Ross, our newest guest blogger. Holly has spent seven+ years at the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), working with community members to identify technology trends —  from ubiquitous access to technology leadership — that will reshape the nonprofit sector. Full Disclosure: I’m an NTEN board member and a huge fan.

“Social media is not a megaphone, it’s a conversation.” You’ve doubtlessly heard this phrase uttered at dozens of conference sessions and read it in many blog posts. Although that’s the first lesson most of us learned about social media, it’s been the hardest to implement. Having a “conversation” with people you may not know very well, on a platform you’re not entirely comfortable with, isn’t easy to pull off. It’s a skill that has to be developed.
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Guest Blogger in Social Media | 2 comments
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Planned Parenthood faced a communications crisis last week when a clinic manager was videotaped covertly by actors working for an anti-abortion group, while she giving advice on getting medical care for under-age prostitutes. The stunt was designed to power the group’s campaign to cut off public financing for Planned Parenthood.

But Planned Parenthood responded to this crisis swiftly and comprehensively, emphasizing its commitment to “stay focused on giving women the health care they need and deserve.” Most importantly, Planned Parenthood didn’t leave it at traditional crisis communications. It acted swiftly to articulate the strategy behind the video stunt and to terminate the manager in question, as the organization does not provide health services to minors. And it leveraged the strong relationship it has with its community online…

I was pleased to hear from Planned Parenthood almost immediately after the news hit, via Facebook. I’m one of the organization’s 97,000 likes which means I saw this update before I heard the story elsewhere:

That was followed by several updates over the next few days, dripping out the organization’s response as the sequence of events became clear. Planned Parenthood’s use of Facebook for immediate and ongoing outreach — positioning the action as part of a de-funding attach, reinforcing its own values and focus, asking for support, pledging to do the right thing — motivated strong and vocal support for the organization.

Ironically, Planned Parenthood’s outreach to its Facebook community on its Facebook presence (a.k.a. audience research) had caught my eye earlier last week:

What better way to hone your social media presence than asking your community? Planned Parenthood has received 194 comments to date in just one week. The staff has taken an active role in the discussion, asking for clarification and thanking commenters. And the feedback they’ve received is really useful. Here’s a sampling:

  • It would be great to have info about volunteering/interning opportunities for young people with plenty of free time to give to good causes.
  • Seems like a lot; I see several posts per day, and I glaze over at least half of them.
  • Great idea to poll your supporters! Have you developed a formal strategy for utilizing social media? You can include more posts, links, and information without clogging the newsfeed by using customized tabs. If you want tips/strategies, I’d be happy to share! Keep up the good work.
  • I don’t know if I’d separate the info– I like the posts; hard to separate health info from the political since a lot of yourr health services are constrained by politics.

P.S. Learn how to strengthen your nonprofit’s marketing impact with the new 2011 Guide to Nonprofit Marketing Wisdom.

Nancy Schwartz in Social Media | 0 comments
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Get Ready to Grab Your Org's Custom Facebook Address for Pages and ProfilesSome call them vanity URLs, other Facebook user names but you can grab your organization's moniker starting starting at 12:01 a.m. eastern on Saturday, June 13. At that point, you'll be able to choose a username on a first-come, first-serve basis for your personal profile (many folks have a personal profile that's work oriented or doubles as personal and professional) AND the Facebook Pages that you administer (only those established by May 31, 2009 and with 1,000 fans or more). Do it here.

If your organization's name or program names are trademarked, go here to prevent the registration of those as usernames by others. But most critically, think carefully about the username you choose. Once it's been selected, you won't be able to change or transfer it!

Here's more on usernames for Facebook pages.

This is a great branding opportunity, and one that's particularly important as more giving moves online. It'll allow your organization to feature a Facebook page URL that's easy to remember — something like www.Facebook.com/CommunityFoodBank — and should be incorporated in all marketing communications, including your email sig lines when appropriate.

If your page doesn't meet the mark at this point, keep checking back with Facebook. It's likely they'll relax the criteria for being able to designate a username after a month or so!
Flickr photo: KevinH

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Social Media, Social Networking | 1 comment
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