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Non-Profits Can Win Facebook With Groups

Yes, Facebook is changing again. For non-profit organizations, your organization’s Facebook page is probably going to be seen less by your fans and followers. You can expect that:

  1. Fewer of your fans will see your page posts (organic reach will drop)
  2. Posts that inspire conversation will get priority

We’ve posted some tips especially for non-profits looking to adapt to Facebook’s new rules. But there is another Facebook tool that gets some of the highest engagement on Facebook – Groups.

A Facebook Group is like creating a Facebook Page but is more focused on creating a community. While you might have a Facebook Page for your organization calling it “Great Lakes Food Bank,” your Facebook group should focus more on the people in the group like, “Friends of the Great Lakes Food Bank.”

Groups can be public, closed, or secret. Public groups are fully visible to members and non-members and posts appear in Facebook search. Anyone can join, and anyone can add members to a public group. In a closed group, only members can see the group posts, only members can post, and joining the group is subject to approval – people must request permission to join. Secret groups are like private groups in that posts are hidden from non-members and membership approved, but only current and former members can even see the group’s name, location. See? It’s secret!

The best part of groups is that when someone is a member of a group, unlike just liking a page, they will receive notifications of new posts. So, non-profits would be wise to consider how they can start or increase the use of Groups.

Six ways non-profits can use Facebook Groups:

  • Action or advocacy groups of people that have an interest in your cause. Creating small groups with goals such as “Parents for Poughkeepsie Public Education.” Engage these groups by providing information that is useful to them and making sure you have frequent calls to action.
  • Alumni groups. Not just for schools! Your organization could have alumni groups for former and current AmeriCorps members, volunteers, and staff. You could create a group of program alumni, graduates, and anyone that has benefited from your program in the past.
  • Build a Coalition. Work together with other non-profits to build a group to educate, engage, and encourage action around a bigger issue. “Save the arts,” “Save the whales,” or even “Support Mississippi teachers” could all develop a following.
  • Interest areas. From opera lovers to people seeking support for health issues Facebook Groups can provide a valuable service and community. Think about how your organization can join one, start one, and be of value.

Private or closed groups:

  • Event planning committees. Coordinating everyone in one space to share ideas is one benefit of a private group. Additionally, an event planning committee group gives people the ability to easily invite their friends to help and build a community with each other without having to meet. (Plus, it’s easy to get people to promote your event to their friends if they are already on Facebook).
  • A Facebook group for Board members and/or Advisory Board members. This group can be useful for collaborating, sharing ideas, and alerting board members to action items such as posts to share, upcoming fundraisers, and discussing topics.

Tips:

  1. Post engaging content. First and foremost, provide value to your groups.
  2. Be responsive to your group’s questions and requests.
  3. Find volunteer moderators that will help you manage your community.
  4. Encourage engagement from your group. Encourage them to ask questions and share their experiences.
  5. Don’t focus on group size, focus on group action.

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