Facebook: make sure it’s worth your time

If you’re interested in how to use Facebook effectively, check out Five Nonprofits That Have Found Their Facebook Voice at Nonprofit Tech 2.0.

Beside showcasing five organizations that make good use of the social network, the post points out the importance of learning how to reach Facebook followers:

If your nonprofit rarely earns Comments or Thumbs Ups in response to your Status Updates, then it’s time to start experimenting with different content and making a commitment to finding your Facebook voice. At the very least, you should have a goal of two Comments or Thumbs Up per Status Update per 1,000 Fans.

As with any new skill, you could spend a lot of time getting it right. The question you should ask first is this: Is it worth it?

Two Comments or Thumbs Up per status is a good goal, but what does it get you? If the answer is two Comments or Thumbs Up, you don’t really have a meaningful Facebook strategy. You should be able to connect activity-on-Facebook goals with tangible goals.

The time you’d spend “finding your voice” on Facebook would likely be better spent crafting effective emails to your donors; that will bring in revenue for the cause. Better yet, spend it on direct mail, which will bring in many times more revenue than email. Or even improving your abilities and knowledge in those areas.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t spend time mastering Facebook. Just make sure there’s a meaningful reason for doing so.

One of the five nonprofits mentioned in the post about Facebook is Operation Homefront, an organization I’m proud to say is a client of TrueSense Marketing.

Check out Operation Homefront’s Facebook page. You’ll see that Operation Homefront on Facebook is not about fundraising, and it’s not aimed at donors. It’s part of the organization’s mission of supporting the families of deployed military people, and in fact it’s part of an overall social media strategy of social that includes a Twitter feed and other outlets. It’s all aimed at the organization’s beneficiaries, not its donors (though there is some crossover between the two groups).

Facebook isn’t a good fundraising venue for most organizations: Response is low, average gift is low, and donor retention is pretty much zilch.

If you’re spending a lot of time working Facebook and hoping for big financial return, you’re working in the wrong place. If your Facebook goal is something other than fundraising revenue, you may be in the right place.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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