by Erik Hanberg, Author, The Little Book of Gold: Fundraising for Small (And Very Small) Nonprofits
At some point in the past, every business had to have a phone number. It was odd if they didn’t have one. Then they had to get voicemail. Then they had to get a website.
Now it’s Facebook.
Your nonprofit needs to be on Facebook. People will notice if you’re not, just like they would notice if you didn’t have a phone.
Maybe you already have a Facebook page for your nonprofit, which is great. But there are some easy steps you can take to make sure that your presence really stands out.
Follow the Rules!
That means that you should not pretend that your organization is a person. The Smallville Historical Society should not pretend to be a person with the first name of Smallville and the last name HistoricalSociety. Facebook can delete your account if you don’t follow the rules, and after the hard work of building up an account, you don’t want to run that risk. And the benefits of being a real “page” are high enough that it’s worth a little more complication to set up.
Choose a URL
Your page can have a title like Facebook.com/SmallvilleHistory. Choose wisely, and spell check. Facebook won’t let you change it later. It may take a minimum number of likes to be able to do this, but when you have more than 30 or 50, look for this setting.
Fill in the blanks.
Take the time to fill out all the forms. This is free advertising! If you have hours of operation, post them. Include the URL of your website (or your blog). Include your address, so people can “check in” when they arrive. Add your mission statement, your founding date, your history.
In other words: if there’s a blank space, fill it. You don’t want any empty page once people have taken the time to find you.
People on Facebook love to look through photos. In fact, it’s one of the main activities on Facebook. Put up an album of photos of a particular service you provide. Maybe photos of an event (especially if they’re good, and not more than a year old).
And don’t forget to update your profile picture. A logo works well here. If that’s not a great option (because you don’t like your logo or don’t have one) then use a picture of your building, service, or something else that is illustrative of what you do.
Facebook’s “cover photo” feature will allow you to have a big picture at the top of your page too. This too should be filled with a picture that clearly shows what your nonprofit does.
Like the page.
From your personal account, “like” the page. Invite your friends to as well. Email your board members and staff, and send them the URL inviting them to like it as well if they’re on Facebook.
Next week: we’ll talk about strategies to get more people to like you page!