Social media has opened up new avenues for networking and connecting with new people and cultures. It has also opened up a new horizon of possibilities for promoting social causes. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, when used effectively, are powerful tools that can help spread awareness about social causes, alter audience perceptions, induce change and encourage positive actions.
Facebook with over 300 million users is simply the best way to promote a non-profit organization. It’s flexible, easy-to-use and has a wide array of applications and tools that make promoting a social cause, a whole lot easier. Besides, where else can you connect with so many users in one go. And where else can you generate awareness about your cause at the click of a mouse.
Here are ten easy ways to promote your non-profit organization through Facebook.
- Create a Facebook Profile
Start your Facebook promotions by creating a Facebook profile. It’s your online address on Facebook. Just login and create a page (the page needs to be created by a Facebook user. After logging in to Facebook go here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php to create a new page. Read this brief PDF guide to understand more about Facebook Page).
You can add your logo and a small write-up about your organization. Add photos if any are available.
Keep updating if you want ’em coming back for more! Add more information and update your Facebook profile regularly. Most Facebook causes fail because visitors get disinterested when there is hardly any new information.
- Add applications to make it interesting
Add quizzes, add polls, get visitors to voice their views, add games, and puzzles, in order to get your supporters interested in your cause. Remember not to over burden your Facebook profile with tons of applications. Choose few and choose wisely.
You can use this application to create interesting polls pertaining to your cause. http://apps.facebook.com/opinionpolls/create_poll.php
Check out this interesting application that lets you create games for your eco-friendly cause: http://apps.facebook.com/planet-saver/
[Read this guide to get some help with adding applications to Facebook Page]
- Join relevant Facebook Groups/Pages
Now that you have a Facebook profile and interesting content, you need to focus on building awareness about your cause and leading more people to your profile page. You can start doing this by connecting with other users through Facebook groups/pages. Take a look at a few groups that you may find interesting like:
I Support Non-Profits
Ngos in India
Visit groups like these where you can connect with people who have a passion for helping others or visit groups related to your area of operations, say, environment groups if your organization works for afforestation. Seek to genuinely help people solve their problems or give out information they need while connecting with them through these groups. That way, you can get more people interested in your work while generating a whole lot of goodwill.
- Support through other channels
You can get more support for your Facebook profile and greater visibility through other channels like Twitter tweets, Youtube videos, Flickr images etc. All these channels can be connected to your Facebook profile. So, your profile gets content-rich, while eliciting visitor interest through other channels.
- Start blogging and connecting with bloggers!
Start a blog. Write about your organization, your vision, your passion, your commitment, add success stories and testimonials. Promote your blog extensively through your Facebook profile. People can read about your non-profit and relate better to your cause, this way.
Another great way is to connect with bloggers. Talk to them about your cause. Show them how committed you are to spreading awareness. Request bloggers to give more visibility to your cause and your Facebook profile through their blog posts.
Bloggers can help you get more mileage for your cause simply by putting in a few words about your organization along with a link to your Facebook profile. It’s a great way to reach out to a large group of audience, who may or not may not be active on Facebook. Also a word from a reputed blogger will build your brand online and add a touch good will to your organization among the online community.
- Raise funds
You can raise funds for your cause successfully through Facebook. Most of the popular non-profits are doing it and so can you. For example, organizations like The Nature Conservancy and Mercy Corps are working to raise funds through Facebook. And very recently, there is a large drive on Facebook to raise funds for the earthquake survivors in Haiti.
- Manage events
You can manage events online or promote offline events through your Facebook profile. It’s a great way to encourage participation in your cause. Seven for Seven uses Facebook to talk about upcoming events and even asks for registrations online. Use the Events application in Facebook to create events for your non-profit or invite fans to your offline events.
- Call for volunteers
Do you need volunteers to pitch in for a cause? Schools and colleges are using Facebook to encourage youngsters to volunteer for social causes. Whether it’s cleaning up the neighborhood or planning a tree or visiting an old age home, you can always find volunteers from any part of the world through Facebook. Take a look at Singapore 2010 Volunteers on how to utilize Facebook to attract volunteers for your non-profit.
- Get into discussion mode!
Another great way to encourage participation in your Facebook profile and keep visitors engaged is by urging them to discuss their points of view. It’s a great way to start a conversation, keep the ideas flowing and get the visitors talking about your cause. Use your discussion forum to talk to your visitors, hear them out, seek out ideas and encourage participation in your cause.
- Inform. Engage. Educate.
Remember, give visitors information that is useful to them. Like why it’s so important to vaccinate children against pneumonia (Prevent Pnemo) or how hospital births can save more lives in a developing nation like India (Sure Start Project). Keep visitors engaged, then, educate them about your cause. When you offer information that’s interesting or useful, people are more receptive and more willing to spread the word about your cause.