Facebook Releases Underwhelming New Website for Nonprofits

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February 18, 2016; Mashable

Last week, Facebook launched a new website catering to nonprofit organizations that provides tips and tools on how nonprofits can successfully manage their Facebook Pages. The Facebook for Nonprofits website walks organizations through getting started on the social network, engaging with audiences, raising awareness, and fundraising strategies.

A few resources on this new site could be of use to nonprofits, such as browsing through Facebook’s featured success stories to get inspired or looking over tips on how to set up calls to action. But isn’t this tool being launched about a decade too late? A significant amount of the information provided by Facebook seems to speak to nonprofits just starting out on the platform, when most organizations were aware that they needed to establish a social media presence on sites like Facebook closer to when organizational Facebook Pages were launched, back in 2007. Does Facebook really believe nonprofits are this far behind on the learning curve?

The new Facebook for Nonprofits site seems to jump from the most basic information one could possibly provide to pages focusing on tips for raising awareness and fundraising that heavily promote their advertising products. Is this new initiative’s goal simply to extract more money from nonprofits?

Facebook is a billion-dollar corporation, and should be looking to innovative nonprofits programs offered by similar tech giants. Consider Microsoft’s recent donation of software valued at $1 billion to nonprofits and universities, or Google for Nonprofits, which grants 501(c)(3) organizations free access to valuable tools like the Google Grants Program and YouTube for Nonprofits. Is this all Facebook is willing to provide for the nonprofit sector? We’re not impressed.

  • Workplace Fairness

    Facebook is in the midst of giving away advertising (like Google Grants) through a trial program administered by Action Sprout. So that’s something. Facebook’s biggest problem is that its algorithm makes it almost impossible for nonprofits to reach their supporters, since only a small fraction of fans see any individual post. There should be a way to opt-in like you can with your starred friends so that you can see every single thing a nonprofit you support shares on Facebook. I can’t even see what my own organization is doing unless I go into the admin screens. It really feels like Facebook deliberately makes it difficult for nonprofits to engage so that they have to pay for advertising and obscure the algorithm so much that you have to pay for consultant assistance. I’m hoping that this web page and the grants program continue to improve so that we can get to a point where we can count on the effectiveness of certain strategies — otherwise, we don’t have the time and money to waste on Facebook engagement.

    • Aine Creedon

      Very good point, I have covered this issue in past articles but the fact that nonprofits are competing with every other Facebook Page for visibility on the platform is simply unacceptable. If they are truly trying to encourage more social good activity on Facebook their algorithm should address this as well.

    • RachelAC

      I applied for the grants through Action Sprout for one of the multiple nonprofit organizations for whom I curate a Facebook page. I did not get the grant, but I DO now receive a useless “Weekly Digest” email from Action Sprout. I’m unimpressed.

  • clubkids414

    We did win the ActionSprout grant of $200 per month for three months, THANKS! But all it really did was just teach us how to spend more money on the site and made us more dependent on the ads to get our message out. Facebook needs to give away free ads grant and more to every 501c3 organization and help us get the message out. http://www.clubkids414.org

  • Debbie Duncan

    If we can get people to share our messaging – a major hurdle – our messages reach may 5 % of our “followers’. VERY discouraging! We keep our FB page up because we do reach some people – but it feels like wasted effort.