Nonprofits: Lost in the Social Media Sea?

Pages. Apps. Groups. Causes. Likes. Shares. Plugins.

Do you feel like you’re doing well to just keep up with the lingo of Facebook – much less how to best utilize the space for your nonprofit?

You’re not alone. And for that very reason, Facebook has recently announced the opening of their nonprofit resource center – chock full of tips, case studies and tools.

We often stress to our clients that there is not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to utilize Facebook, as every situation calls for a different action. A page may work for one organization – while a group may be more appropriate for another. And when it comes to content, apps, ads and the day-to-day details of social media, it’s best to be flexible and prepared to make changes based on changing technologies and on what seems to work for your organization.

If you make your way to www.facebook.com/nonprofits, you will find two valuable sections on the left-hand side of the page: ‘Resources’ and ‘Success Stories’. Take time to dig around in these areas as they can save you time and frustration, and may spur new ideas of ways to use your Facebook page to spread awareness of your cause and develop a sense of community for those already aware and on-board. Under ‘resources’ you can download three PDF documents that share the basics of setting up a page, tips on getting started, and a comprehensive guide specifically for nonprofits. The ‘success stories’ tab is regularly updated with examples submitted by users like yourself who have found what works best for them.

One of our nonprofit clients that has enjoyed success using Facebook is Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program, an organization that provides a cuddly educational tool in the form of a stuffed animal duck to children’s hospitals across the country. These ducks are for children with cancer who are going through chemotherapy, and are used by doctors to show them what is happening to their body. The duck is equipped with scrubs and chest portals – and includes educational books and resources that comfort both the child and guardian. They have found that their Facebook page is a great way to allow the families around the country with Chemo Ducks a place to share their stories and hear encouragement from others going through long hospital stays and the stress of chemotherapy. They celebrate surviving cancer and they give tribute to those who have lost the battle. The organizations ‘mascot’, Connor, has his own personal page and connects with families with Chemo Ducks as they share photos and stories.

The organization takes care to be respectful of its fans and does not see fund raising as a sole purpose of the page. It is there to support and encourage a community of remarkable parents, siblings and care-givers who are fighting for these children each day.

We hope that one lesson Chemo Duck’s page can share is that heart matters. Be genuine and ‘human’ in all that you post.