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:

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:


  • 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.


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