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Facebook and Nonprofits: The Evolution Continues

Facebook isn’t the kind of company to stand still – and sometimes its changes (especially to privacy settings and navigation) can drive its power users crazy. That includes nonprofits, which have raced to embrace the “go where the crowd is” ethos of 500,000 million Facebook users. The latest changes are a case in point: the company is moving forcefully to impose its vision for a “social graph” to the rest of the web, encouraging sites to adopt its own tools to link users in an ever-widening network of personal choice. Hence, the suddenly ubiquitous “Like” button – including this site – and a quick move away from the “fans” and “pages” paradigm Facebook did such a great job of establishing. So, if you’ve put hundreds of hours into winning fans for your cause’s Facebook page, you might just sigh with digital frustration.

Read the rest of this onPhilanthropy story here.

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Is Your Facebook Page Contributing Donors and Volunteers?
By Shabbir Imber Safdar and Shayna Englin

Do you feel like you're working on Facebook blindly without any clear results? Many nonprofits do, despite free tools from both Facebook and Google to measure impact.

My co-author Shayna Englin and I worked with the US Fund for UNICEF to study a year of its work on Facebook to see what the impact was for fundraising and traffic on its website and growth of its Facebook fan base, and the results were surprising:
  1. Posting frequency matters a lot. Some days UNICEF-USA staff wouldn't post at all on Facebook; other days they would post four or five times. While responding to a high profile disaster, they would post 10 or greater times. What we found was that except during high profile disasters, any day they posted more than three status updates resulted in an awful click-through rate and also created skyrocketing numbers of people who would leave their Facebook Fan group.
  2. Wednesdays are an incredibly good day to post items for a response. We found that posting news on different days yielded different results. For example, posting news on Wednesdays yielded a very high click-through rate to their site, where as weekends were dead.
  3. During a high profile news event, don't direct your prospects to places where they can't donate. The fact that disaster relief organizations receive lots of donations when a high profile incident is in the news isn't rocket science. We studied the links and status updates that UNICEF-USA posted in the wake of the Haiti earthquake. We found that many items they posted to the UNICEF-USA page led fans to non-UNICEFusa.org websites, which was a wasted opportunity to get a donation at the very moment supporters would be most motivated to do so.
While we used some pretty complex statistical techniques to generate these insights, if you have Google Analytics installed on your website, it's quite easy to isolate all traffic from Facebook and see how it's performing in relation to the rest of the people visiting your website.

Edited Sun, Jul 18, 2010 9:42 PM

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