Nonprofits Could Benefit from Facebook Changes

September 23, 2011; Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy | Sometimes change can be unsettling, but it sounds like Facebook’s plans to make some dramatic platform changes could serve as an advantage for those in the nonprofit sector. Facebook announced this week that the way the newsfeed and postings are organized will soon undergo transformation.

Instead of presenting a chronological order of updates from friends and “liked” pages, Facebook will soon integrate a system based on algorithms. This will involve grouping similar posts into “reports” while putting less important items in a separate feed. This is all good news for nonprofits, because it will allow them to stand out more. Facebook is also integrating applications like Causes, which is a fundraising tool many nonprofits use. In the future, when a user donates to a charity through Causes, new features will make that action stand out for a longer period of time.

Facebook will also be adding new recommendation terms to the all-purpose “like” in order to encourage users to share and promote links to friends. These new terms will include “watch” and “listen” along with “donate” or “support.”

These updates sound like steps in the right direction for nonprofit organizations looking to expand their Facebook outreach. Facebook has not made any comments on how pages for organizations or companies would be affected. Let’s hope that the site doesn’t decide to make any drastic changes to their pages feature, or we could see some of the similar outrages that occurred when all organizations had to switch from profiles to pages—losing many of their fans or friends from previous profiles in the process.

What do you think of these new changes? Is Facebook moving in the right direction?—Aine Creedon