3 min Read
November 21, 2013

Facebook for nonprofits: Moving your marketing beyond the ‘Like’

Facebook: it’s a small social network you may have heard about… yes? Since its roll-out to individuals beyond college campuses and high schools in 2006, and then to businesses and organizations in 2007, Facebook has become a formidable communications channel for all—including nonprofits. With over one billion active users, there’s a good chance some or all of your community lives there. So how do you reach your supporters and get them to do more than “like” your page? The trick is good content. In fact, one of my favorite tips was that nonprofits should aim to create content that “educates, entertains, and raises your brand awareness.”

As a co-organizer of 501 Tech NYC, a local meetup for NTEN members and their friends, I asked Kaiya Waddell, client partner at Facebook, and Amy Bryant, managing editor of Planned Parenthood Online, to share their insights and examples. You can view their slides, watch the video, and dig through a rocking recap further down in this post. I also wanted to share some resources our wonderful speakers shared after the event (and a few of my own):

  1.  Get support from Facebook: There are two ways that most nonprofits can obtain support: through this form and through the support form located in Ads Manager. Any advertiser who has spent money in the previous 28 days should see a link on the left hand side of their Ads Manager that reads “Email Support.”
  2. When posting text on images, nonprofits should strive to make their content compliant with Facebook’s text overlay policy. This content will perform better and will be “ad ready” in case you decide to promote the post. To confirm whether the content is compliant with the policy, you can use this tool.
  3. If you want to reach your community that’s on Facebook with advertising, try Custom Audiences. Custom Audiences is a way for nonprofits to take their CRM data (email list, donors, etc.) and match them to Facebook for targeting. Kaiya recommends you different Custom Audiences that are reflective of different types of high value segments. For example: Audience 1= lapsed email openers, Audience 2 = low dollar donors, Audience 3 = Online activists that you want to re-engage, and so on.
  4. You can also experiment with prospecting on Facebook using “Lookalike Audiences.” Lookalike Audiences are created from a Custom Audience, and allow you to find more people who LOOK LIKE my audience.
  5. Your nonprofit should try get in the News Feed as much as possible. To help do this and drive meaningful offsite conversions, Kaiya recommends that you use “Link Page Posts” as your ad unit. To create Unpublished Link Page Posts (i.e. those that are not published live to the Facebook page, but are simply ads) should go to: and select “Website conversions” as your objective. That process will walk you through creating a conversion pixel (which will track website conversions in Facebook) and also set up your Link Page Post ad.
  6. Looking to better track what’s happening on your page? Here are more details on Page Insights —the analytics Facebook provides to all Page admins.
  7. New to Facebook? Check out this guide for beginners from Mashable and this guide for causes and nonprofits from Facebook.
  8. Want to dig into how you can use Facebook for your nonprofit? One of my favorite resources is the collection of posts, tutorials, and tips from John Haydon.

Relive the magic with the slides, video, and recap from this great event by one of my co-organizers, Jereme Bivins. I’d love to hear if anything surprised you.

Special thanks to Lane Beauchamp and Mo Brady of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for donating their awesome video skills and filming the event.

If you are in town, come on by our 501 Tech NYC holiday party on December 2. You are also welcome to donate to my campaign to support NTEN and support for the nonprofit community. Oh and please do feel free to join our group of nonprofiteers on Facebook—it is open to all.

Have you had any luck engaging your community beyond the like? Tell us about it in the comments below.