The Usability of FaceBook
“My organization’s website is static and boring, frankly. Our FaceBook page is updated all the time and very popular.” The Executive Director of a local nonprofit told me that.
This local humane society has 1,214 friends on FaceBook. That’s 3.3% of the rural population of the county it serves! That’s equivalent to a national organization having just over ten million FaceBook friends!
When I pressed her for details, the following additional contrasts arose:
• One reason our FaceBook is updated more often than our website
is that it’s easier to update FaceBook.
• There are many more people, even our own supporters, on
FaceBook at any one time than there are on our website. Of course
there are more potential supporters on FaceBook!
• It’s easier for supporters to share thoughts with us on FaceBook
because of the ease of leaving comments and tagging us in photos.
(FaceBook users are already “trained” in using your FaceBook page;
they may have trouble navigating your web site.)
Taking these observations to actionable recommendations, it makes sense to put some serious effort into “FaceBooking” your nonprofit:
• Build and maintain your organization’s FaceBook page. Add photos,
use the FaceBook involvement widgets like surveys, and
encourage friends to tag you in their posts (friends bring friends).
• Consider FaceBook ads, which let you target to a great degree and which
only cost money when people click on them (and come to your
• Create a “welcome” tab for your FaceBook page that new visitors come
to first. It can entice them to “friend” your page and encourage
• Add FaceBook’s widgets to your website, which will update with your
FaceBook activity and encourage web visitors to join your FaceBook crowd.
• Consider adding donation tools to your FaceBook page.
PayPal has some tools, and third-party widgets like Razoo and FundRazr
allow you to use the PayPal interface to set up fundraising pages that your
FaceBookfans can promote on their walls!
The humane society takes a photo of every family as they leave with the animal they’ve adopted, and posts it to FaceBook immediately. Can you think of similar ways to use FaceBook to demonstrate the effectiveness of your organization?
Questions about online social networking? Or, how to improve your results?
Rick Christ has been helping nonprofit organizations use the internet for fundraising, communications and advocacy since 2009, and has been a frequent writer on the subject. He delights in your questions and arguments. Please contact him at: RChrist@Amergent.com or at his LinkedIn Page