Facebook for Nonprofits

With over 500 million active Facebook users, this platform is fast becoming a primary source of information for people all over the globe. Facebook users expect to not just keep up with their friends, but their favorite organizations through their Facebook News Feed. Nonprofits can use this communications vehicle to share more information about their organization and their issue in timely ways by setting up a Fan Page, Charity Page or Group. The most common type of organizational page is a Fan Page.

Creating a Facebook Fan Page

Facebook provides a simple step-by-step guide to creating a Fan Page. To create a nonprofit Fan Page, choose "nonprofit" under the "brand" category. Then type the name of the nonprofit and click "create". The page administrator can insert information including the nonprofit's mission, address, website and upload photos.

For consistent branding, consider creating a vanity URL that matches the organization’s website or organization's name.

Note: Organizations should not set up their organizational page as an individual profile. This is prohibited by Facebook. In addition, the mechanisms through Fan Pages offer more opportunities for organizations to spread messages and monitor interactions.

Using Facebook Applications

There are hundreds of free applications available for nonprofit Fan Pages. These applications allow the page administrator to customize the page so it is consistent with the nonprofit's branding. Applications can also allow fans to view unique content in Facebook without leaving the Fan Page, which is especially important for marketing.

Static FBML is an application that allows users with minimal HTML training to use a similar markup code specifically designed for Facebook. This application is essential for any nonprofit that would like a custom tab with text or images.

The Causes Application allows nonprofits in GuideStar.org to fundraise on Facebook. Donations are processed by Network for Good and JustGive.org. This application only works for nonprofits in the United States and Canada.

Applications that allow fans to view content from other social media sites can also be useful for nonprofits. Some examples of these applications include:

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