facebook Posts

Building a Donor Community on Facebook

Mandi Frishman, a Product & Marketing Intelligence Manager for Make Me Social joined us on Tuesday for the fifth session of the Online Fundraising Academy. She discussed how to build a community of supporters on Facebook and us Facebook analytics to improve communications and audience engagement.

Mandi has managed social media promotion for companies in the finance, manufacturing, hospitality, education, and retail industries. She uses research, persona analysis and data to create strategies that drive measurable results. In this session,

Session Recording: http://www.anymeeting.com/WebConference-beta/RecordingDefault.aspx?c_psrid=ED59DC84854E

Session Notes:

Facebook is just a new way for us to tell stories. It’s about creating and sharing media and publishing content to acquire new donors. You’re working to drive action, which leads to donations.

Storytelling is important on Facebook because compelling stories are shared. Whenever something is shared, more people see your content. On Facebook, the number of people who see your content (even if they don’t act on it) is referred to as impressions. You want to increase the number of impressions in an effort to increase the amount of likes, comments, and shares that your posts receive.

Set Goals and Integrate Efforts

Example: drive people to sign up for your email newsletter

Make sure to align Facebook efforts with larger, organization goals (such as certain fundraising goals)

Facebook is NOT an Island

People have vibrant lives outside Facebook. Don’t forget that you should apply a holistic approach to your communication and management strategy. Make sure to engage people on and off Facebook using similar messaging.

3 Tips to Prepare for Fundraising Success

1. Examine your audience – Understanding your donors is key

  • Build everything around your audience. Use Facebook Insights to learn where your audience is based and see when people are responding to your posts. Identify ideal times to post content.
  • You can always test, learn, and improve your post times.
  • Test things for about 30 days to determine if something does or doesn’t work. You need to see if a pattern develops.
  • Think about what might appeal to you as a member of your audience. You would probably not be responsive to constant requests for donations.
  • Use Facebook to build a personal connection with your supporters.

2. Look Professional & Trustworthy

  • Cover photo: 851 pixels wide X 315 pixels tall; 20% text limit, update periodically
  • Profile picture: 160 X 160 pixels; upload at least 180 X 180 pixels; fit to square
  • Avoid blurry photos!

3. Plan Your Story – There is power in the process

  • Build out a content calendar to streamline the process of creating content and to ensure that you are posting regular content
  • A content calendar may include:
    • Date and time of post
    • Post content & theme
    • Target audience
    • Platform (if you’re using multiple types of social media)
    • Post style (picture, link, status update, etc.)
    • Media & links
  • It’s important to have a visual story on Facebook because different types of media (particularly photos) are more heavily promoted
  • Your stories are going to come from the community you serve, inside your organization, and your external supporters
  • One way to get your audience involved in storytelling is to ask questions!
    • If you think about the way Facebook works, every comment helps to increase the chances that others will see your content.

Facebook Funnel: Awareness => Engagement => Donation


  • It’s not just about asking people for money. It’s about getting people to connect with your mission and engage with your content.
  • To build awareness, you need to make sure that people are seeing your content.

Engagement & Donation

  • A smaller percentage of people who see your content will like, comment, or share it. The more likes, comments, and shares that you receive, the more people who will see your content.
  • Of those who engage, a smaller percentage will act on your calls for donations.

Edge Rank Algorithm 

  • Edge Rank is the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine whether people will see your content in their news feed (the stream of content that they first see on their dashboard when they log on to Facebook).
  • If people can’t see their content, they are unlikely to engage with you. If your content does not show up on their feed, they are unlikely to go to your Facebook page to read your content. You need to get in front of them!
  • Here’s a break down of this formula:
    • Affinity score between the person viewing the content and the person who created the post. This is dictated by how recently and frequently the user engages with content from the page that posted. The stronger your posts, the more consistent engagement you’ll get, and the more likely it is that your followers will see your post.
    • Weight of the edge type: types of engagement are weighted differently in the Edge Rank
      • Comments are weighted more than Likes because they have a larger time commitment.
    • Time decay is based on how long ago the post was created.
  • Learn more about Edge Rank here: http://www.whatisedgerank.com/


  • Insights gives you an idea of how your content is performing on Facebook.
  • Admins will see an admin bar at the top of the page on Facebook where you can click on Insights.
  • Access to simple analytics about the activity on you Facebook page.
  • You can isolate certain time periods and export the data to play around with it more in excel.
  • You should set goals that you can track with Insights, like the number of Likes, comments, or shares.
  • You can also look at data by post to see how many people have viewed, liked, commented, or shared it.
  • Insights also gives you information about your audience including gender, location, languages.
  • Insights may not be available if you have less than 30 Likes on your page or if you have not had any activity in the past 7 days. It’s important to remain active in order to have access to this information.

Content Guidelines

  • 180 characters (not words!) or less. Remember, characters include spaces, punctuation, etc.
  • Mixed media – Photos are more engaging and more highly ranked in Edge Rank.  Mix things up! Include photos, videos, and links.
  • Give your audience a clear direction.
  • Consistent updates. Don’t let your page get stale. Don’t be afraid to update multiple times a week but make sure not to inundate your supporters (no more than 3 posts a day).
  • Make sure your content is audience-centric. Use posts to create community and engage your audience.

3 Best Practices for Content

1. Less is more

  • Posts between 100 and 200 characters (less than 3 lines of text) receive about 60% more likes, comments, and shares than posts with greater than 250 characters. – Facebook
  • Can’t cut it down? Break it up! Separate out last line or links.

2. Mix up media

  • Posts with media receive 120% more engagement! – Facebook
  • High resolution photos: 403X403 pixels. Don’t post small photos.

3. Fill in the blank posts generate about 90% more engagement than other posts on average. – Facebook

Question & Answer

Q: How do you schedule a post?

A: There is a clock at the bottom of the box where you enter your post. Click on the post to schedule a post for the future or the past (so that the post appears on your timeline but not in your fans’ news feed).

Q: What Facebook pages do well?

A: Foundation Fighting Blindness and charity:water. Also look at organizations that are similar to yours. What are they posting that does well? What lessons can you learn from their social media?

Q: How much money should be budgeted to Facebook?

A: That’s a tough question because it of course depends on the size of your budget and the other things you’re budgeting. As Facebook evolves, it is becoming more important to spend money to make sure posts are seen on Facebook. This is something to consider and to watch closely.

Q: What is the return on investment?

A: It’s very hard to measure because Facebook isn’t isolated. Someone may learn about you on Facebook, but choose to donate offline. There’s a lot of value in creating awareness and building relationships that will benefit you in the long-term.

Q: How do I get people to Like my page?

A: You can upload your email list to Facebook and invite people to join that way. Partner with other organizations and close supporters to ask them to help share out your content and direct individuals to your page. When you’re having conversations with people, make sure to ask them to Like you on Facebook. Make sure that your website links to Facebook and that your donors can connect to you on Facebook through any of your other communications and outreach. Make sure your Facebook strategy is well-integrated into your organization’s overall outreach.

Q: What should I do if I have multiple pages for my organization?

A: Facebook makes it possible to merge your pages, which makes it easier to have your audience all in one place.


Facebook: To Promote or Not to Promote? (…and Is That The Question?)

GlobalGiving’s Experiment With Promoted Posts
by Alison Carlman and Oscar Norsworthy

This case study was originally posted on Beth Kanter’s blog as an example of an experiment with social media measurement. We hope you’ll find it useful as you think through your strategy for Facebook.

Promoting a post on Facebook

Listen. Post. Learn. Repeat.

On the Unmarketing team at GlobalGiving, we put a lot of effort into figuring out how to use Facebook to support the thousands of charity projects on our website. The more we learn, the better able we are to advise our nonprofit partners. One of the newest features on Facebook is the “Promoted Post.” Promoted Posts are pictures, links, videos, or text that administrators can pay to appear on more Facebook users’ news feeds. (Did you know that only an average of about 15% of your fans see your posts in their news feeds?) We conducted a month-long experiment to see if Promoted Posts make sense for our strategy.

First Thing First: What’s our Goal?

We wanted to see whether or not Promoted Posts help us reach our goals on Facebook. One way to explain our Facebook strategy is the social funnel. People interact with us on Facebook at all levels of this funnel. While ultimately we’d love to see every fan make a donation to a project on our website, our goal on Facebook is first and foremost to develop an active community of fans around the topics of philanthropy and social change. We wanted to see how well Promoted Posts reach our fans on all levels.

Here’s what success – or a positive return on investment (ROI) – at each of the levels would look like for us:

The Social Funnel
Awareness: Getting our messages into the news feeds of people who haven’t heard from us in a while – or never have before. Key metric: reach
Engagement: Inspiring interactions (clicks, likes, comments and shares) from people who don’t usually interact with us. This helps the content spread to their networks.Key metric: clicks
Donations: Telling a story that is compelling enough that people give to a project on GlobalGiving.org. (Ideally donations exceed the cost of the post!)Key metric: donations; net dollars after the cost of the post.


Our Promoted Posts Experiment

During the summer we promoted three posts, each about a different topic. We spent less than $100 on each post, and we only promoted the posts to our fans. We also posted regular (non-promoted) links and photo posts related to each of the three topics so that we could compare the performance of regular posts versus paid posts. While we couldn’t control all variables, we did our best to aim for consistency with as much as possible, including the time of day we posted and the content of the post, so that we could draw better conclusions when comparing our results.

Below are the nine updates (under three topics) that we posted this summer as part of the experiment, and how they fared in terms of reach (views), engagement (clicks), and donations (dollars). You can see that the promoted posts were the only ones that drove donations, and they drove significantly higher view and click rates.

ROI: Reach, Engagement, and Donations
From Regular and Promoted Posts on Facebook

Post Topic: Natural Disasters
(Promoted Post net revenue= $667)

Link 4,035 views; 62 clicks
Photo 5,483 views; 66 clicks
Promoted 20,282 views; 218 clicks; $750 donations

Post Topic: Everyday Project Stories
(Promoted Post net revenue= -$30)

Link 3,311 views, 24 clicks
Photo 6,347 views; 58 clicks
Promoted 22,498 views; 301 clicks; $30 donations

Post Topic: Special Campaign
(Promoted Post net revenue= $550)

Link 4,204 views; 51 clicks
Photo 4,975 views; 45 clicks
Promoted 31,510 views; 363 clicks; $600 donations

What we learned

We learned two main things from our experiment. First, as you can see above, promoted posts did drive more engagement at all levels of the social funnel. On average, our promoted posts had five times higher reach and seven times higher click rate (!) compared to posts that weren’t promoted. The financial return, however, varied greatly based on the content of the post. We found that promoting general, ‘everyday’ project stories didn’t drive many donations (in fact, it lead to a negative net financial return), but promoting very timely stories or unique campaigns resulted in a significant uptick in donations (netting approximately $600 per post).

Perhaps the most interesting thing we learned actually happened while we were designing the experiment. When figuring out whether to promote links or photos, we found that photo posts drove more Facebook interaction, achieving a higher reach and better overall engagement (the middle of the funnel!). On the other hand, posting links sometimes led to higher click-through rates to our website, generally driving more donations (the bottom of the funnel!). When we looked back in our Facebook Insights data, we found that this pattern seemed consistent with other posts over the past several months. This information is useful to us whether or not we’re talking about promoted posts.

What does this mean for our strategy?

We found that Facebook’s Promoted Posts can get the job done, successfully driving both engagement and donations. It’s important to note though that we’re still not planning to rely on Promoted Posts to push all our fans through the social funnel.

At GlobalGiving we have an “unmarketing” approach to engagement. This means that we believe there’s inherent value in developing authentic, meaningful, and helpful relationships with our audience through social media to help tell our story. In short, it’s not all about driving dollars. Engagement is important to us.

We’ve concluded that an ongoing Facebook strategy based primarily on Promoted Posts wouldn’t be savvy or sustainable, (remember how the ‘everyday’ project stories posts actually ended up costing us money?) but we’ve decided that we will continue to promote posts when they are particularly timely, relevant, or important for our key audiences. We should also be sure to note that we’ll never be promoting content that would otherwise have been unsuccessful on Facebook in general. As you can imagine, the last thing we want to do is bring irrelevant content to the attention of people who rarely hear from us anyway!

What does this mean for you?

If you can find the budget to experiment with Promoted Posts, it’s important to think through how you’ll measure your return on your investment. Can you put a dollar value on message views, click-throughs to your website, or goal conversions (donations, petition signatures, etc.)? If you’re spending advertising dollars on other media, you may find that Facebook Promoted Posts can also help you meet your goals, so it would be worth comparing your results.

Our fans told us emphatically on Facebook, they don’t love the idea of nonprofits paying for a spot on their news feeds. (The irony, of course, was that we didn’t see a single pushback to the promoted posts when we did them without pointing it out, so peoples’ behaviors didn’t exactly match how they said they would react. But that’s a whole different social psychology experiment, right?) If you do choose to promote Facebook posts, you’ll need to do strategically. You should only promote content that you’re proud of, and it would be wise to measure the results carefully so that you can prove that your dollars are helping you meet your overall goals!

If you don’t have any budget for Promoted Posts, you could still look into your Facebook Insights data to see the different types of engagement that photo posts drive for you compared to link posts. Does your data lead you to the same conclusions that ours did?

Do you have thoughts about whether links or photos get you results on Facebook? Have you experimented yet with Promoted Posts?

Facebook Measurement, part 3 of 3

On Thursday, September 29th, GlobalGiving hosted a webinar on Facebook Measurement in collaboration with Make Me Social. You can listen to the recording here or view the slides here. This webinar was part of a three-part Facebook webinar series. Each session focuses on a different topic:

Session 1: Strategy and Planning
Session 2: Best Practices & Implementation
Session 3: Measurement and Monitoring

See a below for a summary of the second webinar:

Facebook Insights – Data provided to you by Facebook about your Page!

As the admin on a Facebook Page, you have access to “Insights.” Facebook Insights provides you with metrics around the content that you post on your page. It also gives you a better sense of who your audience is by providing you with valuable demographic information.

Please note that Insights are only visible to Page admins and you will need a minimum of 30 likes on the page to access Insights.

The data that you get is not available in real-time, but at most will be 48 hours old. This will make sense when we move on to the next slide.

You will see that Facebook has provided you with some basic metrics under your posts on your Page. You can access more detailed information by clicking on “View Insights” on the right sidebar on your Page.

Facebook Metrics Vocabulary

Impressions: The number of times your post is seen. This includes views on users’ Recent Stories, Top Stories, and visits to Pages.

Feedback: The total number of comments and likes on your story divided by the total number of impressions. This is the percentage of people who, after seeing your post, engage in some way with the post.

Inside the Insights Section

Inside the Insights section, you get access to an overview of the  analytics related to the level of awareness and engagement on your page. Insights is split into two sections: “Users” and “Interactions.”

Facebook Engagement, Part 2 of 3

On Thursday, September 15th, GlobalGiving hosted a webinar on Facebook Engagement in collaboration with Make Me Social. You can listen to the recording here or view the slides here. This webinar was part of a three-part Facebook webinar series. Each session focuses on a different topic:

Session 1: Strategy and Planning
Session 2: Best Practices & Implementation
Session 3: Measurement and Monitoring

See a below for a summary of the second webinar:


Create Your Project Page – It’s easy!

Step 1: Go to Facebook.com/page.

Step 2: Select the category that your organization falls under.

Step 3: Create your custom URL (once you set it, you can’t change it, so make sure you love it!).

Step 4: Upload your profile picture.

Step 5: Develop your page’s information section (before you begin inviting friends).

Step 6: Select your admins (remember, admins have the ability to edit your page and control participation).

Step 7: Begin inviting your friends!

Listen to the recording for examples of great Facebook pages.

What makes a great profile picture?


  • Eye-catching;
  • Communicates information about your organization;
  • Includes a message about your work; and
  • is more than just your logo!


What is a landing page?

The landing page is what your visitors see before they  “Like” your page. Traditionally, this page is your wall. You can edit this setting under “Manage Permissions” when creating the settings for your page. In some cases, you might choose to direct first time visitors to your information page, rather than your wall.

Facebook also has a landing page application that allows you to customize your landing page with a personalized design. These branded landing pages can be an effective campaign tool. Customized landing pages generally cost $150-500 to have professionally built.


What content should you be posting on Facebook?

Facebook Strategy, Part 1 of 3

Guest post from GlobalGiving intern, Brian Karanja:

On Thursday, September 1st, GlobalGiving hosted a webinar that was focused on Facebook strategy in collaboration with Make Me Social. If you were unable to attend the webinar, you can listen to the recording or view the slides. This was part of a three-part series of webinars with each session focusing on a particular topic:

Session 1: Strategy and Planning
Session 2: Best Practices & Implementation
Session 3: Measurement and Monitoring

This blog post is a summary of the first webinar:

Defining Social Media Goals

With over 750 Million active users of Facebook, it’s potentially difficult to get your content to bubble up and get users attention. To make these connections work, we need to think about:

  • Motivating people to be interested in what you have to say and
  • Mobilizing them around your cause.

The most important component to integrating social media into your nonprofit communications or fundraising strategy is to have a plan!  You’ve got to figure out what you want and understand how to motivate the community to do what you want.  We highly recommend that you write out your goals and the objectives you want to achieve through social media and how your audience can get you there.

Identifying Your Audience

The next question to address is: who is your audience? Who are the people who can help you reach your goals? Take some time to define your audience groups.  If you decide that one of the best ways to reach one of those groups is to use Facebook, then great!  Let’s talk about some Facebook strategies:

First, you’ll need to understand the difference on Facebook between a Personal Page and a Branded Page on Facebook.  A personal profile should be used by an individual. People can be “friends” with a personal profile. Alternatively, people “like” branded pages to interact with them.  Content on branded pages should be more structured because they represent the voice of the organization.

Your Facebook followers will generally fall into three segments:

  • Audience segment A – People looking for information and ways to get involved.  These are people who are open to your message but haven’t yet heard all that you have to say.
  • Audience segment B – People who are helping to support those impacted by the causes your organization directly addresses. They might not know all the details about your work – yet.
  • Audience segment C – People who have bought into your mission. These followers are already established and interested in what you have to say. They are your foundation.

Building and Maintaining Relationships

What do you post on Facebook? This is up to you! What messages will help you reach your goals? You should plan to have consistent message that builds engagement and gets your audience to respond. When planning your content, you should keep in mind the “social funnel.”  Not all of your audiences are going to give to your organization based on your first post. They’ll generally fall through the “social funnel”:

  1. Awareness posts get people on the page and get them aware of your cause (targeting Audience Segment A)
  2. Engagement posts are built around whether people are ‘liking’, ‘tagging’, and ‘sharing’ your content with their friends. Interest your audience and make them build an emotional connection with your org (targeting audience segment B)
  3. Donation asks should target engaged and attached people. If they participate and adopt your cause they become ambassadors for your organization (targeting audience segment C).


The key point here is that:


Engaging in Conversations