As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it seems like a great time to talk about how non-profits and foundations can leverage Facebook to rally support for their cause and get their message to the masses.

When thinking about priorities and allocation of resources, people usually put their website first in both categories. And while we certainly would not want to devalue the importance of a website, it is important to note that Facebook can be just as valuable a tool for your cause. There are many advantages to the social network that a traditional website simply does not offer.

First, Facebook is free. And whether your budget is large, small, or non-existent, this attribute should certainly give you pause.

Second, if you are trying to get people to rally around a cause, create awareness of an issue, or get a crowd up for an event, look no further than the power of the “share” button. If someone care enough about your cause to like your Facebook page and get your information in their newsfeed, they will be happy to become an evangelist for you. Word of mouth is the best bang for your marketing buck, so give your followers great content that they’ll be moved to share with their networks and let them do the rest for you.

Third, Facebook is an incredibly visual medium. Not only is it easy to upload images and for users to share them, Facebook ranks imagery highest in its EdgeRank algorithm. This means photos make your posts more likely to show up in more of your followers feeds – and more likely to be shared. Because Facebook prioritizes images and makes it easy to pass them along, it’s a great platform on which to appeal to your followers on an emotional level.

So, whose example should you follow? There are plenty of non-profits out there doing a great job on Facebook. This post will focus on 3 that are incredibly successful on the medium, and some of the things they’re doing well:

1.  The Humane Society really takes advantage of the Timeline feature of Facebook by posting important milestones in their own history, as well as the history of their cause. They also make great use of imagery – which is very effective considering their content and audience.

2. The National Breast Cancer Foundation features great integration between their social media and their website. They use apps that direct users to informative web pages, and offer a robust calendar of events that is clearly well maintained.

3. Amnesty International uses their page to constantly share news about issues that interest their audience. This keeps them informed, and keeps the issue at the top of their mind. It raises awareness for their followers, and also increases the chance they will share it on their own timelines and facilitate social discovery.

Can you think of other non-profits doing a great job on Facebook? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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