Guest post by Ken Myers
Most nonprofits maintain a Facebook account, but if it’s not being used properly, it may as well not even exist.
Facebook is a great platform for nonprofits, allowing them to engage with the community and volunteers in a unique way, however many are underutilizing this remarkable platform. By promoting open communication through exposing users’ social circles to each other, the social media platform creates an instantaneous way to network with user groups. Having a strong Facebook presence can benefit your nonprofit by enabling you to discover new volunteers and tout the works of current volunteers, just to name a few ideas.
1. Express Thanks
While volunteers don’t dedicate their time just for the kudos, expressing thanks for their hard work is always appreciated. Facebook is a public platform that can be used to acknowledge and praise their efforts. Not only will this recognition be appreciated by volunteers, but friends and family can be exposed to their loved one’s great work and get involved, too.
2. Engage the Community
A dwindling number of community members rely on traditional forms of communication for local information. Newspapers and community bulletins aren’t utilized by many under the age of 30. Facebook is increasingly becoming the place for people to learn what activities are happening locally. Maintaining an active Facebook page will expose your message to those not already aware of your presence, and provide an avenue to engage the community in dialogue and discussion about your nonprofit’s works.
Don’t rely solely on current members, donors and volunteers to spread your message. Instead, use Facebook to connect you with different communities through shared pages, businesses and local groups. Reach out to the online local community with your mission and your needs. Becoming involved in local pages and businesses will heighten your online presence, allowing community members who support your message to recognize and aid the organization.
3. Make New Friends
Volunteers and donors don’t live in a social vacuum. They have friends, families and neighbors who they engage with daily, and many share their same passions and interests. A connection on Facebook opens your nonprofit up to a whole new audience who may be willing to donate time, money, resources or expertise. The simple act of making a connection with current advocates of your mission on Facebook may encourage them to promote the organization.
4. Promote Current Volunteer Work
Potential volunteers may be scared off by sterile contact form pages or overwhelming volunteer fairs. While many have an idea of a cause they want to support, they often don’t know how to turn that passion into action. Facebook gives nonprofits a unique opportunity to advertise active needs within their organizations in a concrete and non-threatening manner.
A simple post explaining an organization’s need will give future volunteers a sense of purpose and a physical task. Facebook has a simple interface that encourages conversation, so rather than making phone calls or waiting for email replies, potential volunteers can interact with the organization and receive instant feedback and initiative to serve. Community members who may not otherwise volunteer may see a niche they can fill and offer their services.
5. Call to Serve
Emergencies can happen in a heartbeat, and organizing staff and volunteers in a timely fashion can be a challenge. While having a phone tree and emergency plan in place is imperative, Facebook can also provide an avenue to contact available help. Volunteers with limited availability may not be included in an emergency plan, but they may be available in an emergency. An APB on Facebook can alert volunteers and donors to your need.
In emergencies, normal resources often aren’t enough. Nonprofits need additional help to make it through particularly difficult situations. Encouraging friends to like and share your needs on Facebook can expose more community members to your mission. An urgent need can inspire followers who were looking for a reason to donate their time to take the plunge. Facebook can be a lifesaver when nonprofits need help fast.
Facebook is a powerful weapon in a nonprofit’s arsenal when used correctly. Not only will a well-managed Facebook page encourage and engage current volunteers, it will also encourage community members to support the organization and your efforts. Through consistent updates and communication using Facebook, you can connect with both current and future volunteers.
Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.