This blog will help you win loyal friends for your nonprofit organization. I'm Dennis Fischman, and I approved this message.

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All Hands on Board for Social Media

Let’s say you’ve made the decision: you want your employees on social media.

Many handsIt took some courage to arrive at that decision.  You’ve heard the horror stories  about what can happen when things go wrong.  But you know that people will talk about you online, no matter what.  It’s better for your organization to be a part of that conversation.

And there are great advantages to being there:

Why Get Your Employees Involved?

You could assign your social media to just one person, or just one department.  Why should you get as many people involved as possible?

Because your employees are a source of all the good stuff you can share on social media.  Success stories.  Fascinating facts.  Good advice for people looking to use your products or services, and fast responses to people who have questions or complaints.  Inside looks at  how the organization works.  In short, everything that would make people follow you on social media.

How to Get All Hands on Board

Let’s face it: your employees are already busy.  If you ask them the wrong way, they’ll see social media as just one more task they have to do.  What’s the right way to get them involved?

  1. Ask for their stories.  People like to be listened to. Make a habit of asking your staff about successes, challenges, and memorable or funny things that happen during work. Write the stories up for your website or newsletter…or ask them if they’d like to write their own stories. You can do that even if you’re not yet on social media!
  2. Let them create a social media policy.  Provide templates–you can find some at the link–but let them discuss the issues and come up with solutions that fit your company.
  3. Have and share a strategy.  Make sure that employees know what the organization is trying to do.  Empower them to figure out how to do it.
  4. Provide training.  A person may be active on her own Facebook account, but that doesn’t mean she’ll recognize opportunities to post to the agency’s.  Brainstorm.  Provide examples.
  5. Welcome mistakes and learn from them. You can’t know in advance what will work with your specific audience. Even highly paid “social media experts” goof.  As long as everyone is sticking by the policy, expect mistakes, allow for them, and reward learning.

Has your organization already empowered employees on social media? How did it go?  If you share what you learned, you will be doing us all a favor!

Your Board is Not Your Audience

you picked the wrong loverDoes your Board love your newsletter, website, blog, or social media?

That might be a bad sign.

Your Board includes some of the people who care most deeply about your organization.

Your communications should appeal to the people who have taken an interest  but don’t love you yet.  Woo them.

Your Board knows your organization and its programs really well already.

Your communications should touch people who don’t remember your agency’s name…but care about the difference you make.  Tell them stories.

Your Board may obsess about whose name is mentioned, whose face is in the photo, or whether you write in paragraphs.  Or sentence fragments.

Your communications should ignore those issues as much as possible.  Be useful to the people you want to reach. 

If you inform, educate, and entertain your audience, they will know, like, and trust you.  They will become your loyal supporters.  They will give time.  They will give money.  And that’s what your Board will really love.


What Your Nonprofit Can Learn about Your Facebook Fans

Facebook has made it harder for your nonprofit organization to understand your clients, donors, and prospects in depth. I’m both grateful… and annoyed.

Knowing What They Like, Besides You

Facebook graph search

Oh, the things you could know about your Facebook fans!

You used to be able to use Facebook Graph Search to find out a lot about the people who followed your organization on Facebook. You would type in “Pages liked by people who like [your organization].”

Voila, up popped a list of all the pages that your followers had liked, and who liked which page. You could also easily discover:

  • How many people, total, like that page.
  • Other pages that people who like a specific page also like.
  • Which of your own friends liked that page (if you are using Facebook as an individual)

Knowing what your audience likes, besides you, helps you send them the messages that interest them most.

If you’re an agency that runs a pre-school, for example, wouldn’t it be great to know if your followers also like pages about books or about sports? That could help you decide whether to post more about the topic “How to read to your 4-year-old” or the topic “Soccer for preschoolers.”

But What About Privacy?

You might never have heard of Graph Search before, and now you might be excited at the chance to deliver the content that your donors want most. Or, you might be worried about looking like an online stalker.

We’ve all had that creepy sensation when we looked up snow boots on an online shopping site and then ads for snow boots kept popping up on Facebook for days or weeks.

Most nonprofits would have the emotional intelligence to make a donor feel complimented (“They really know me!”) rather than threatened. But not everyone has tact, or good intentions, either.

…bloggers showed how Facebook Graph Search could be used to uncover potentially embarrassing information (e.g., companies employing people who like racism) or illegal interests (e.g., Chinese residents who like the banned group Falun Gong).

So, in December 2014, Facebook did away with some of the features of Graph Search that nonprofit researchers and marketers found most useful. Now you can use Facebook Search to find photos, posts, videos, and links by searching for words in the post. But you can no longer find out what your page followers like with a simple search. Or can you?

Knowing Your Facebook Audience in 2015

You don’t need Facebook to do good audience research. As Marc A. Pitman points out, you have your own donor database. You have the record of which recipients opened your email (if you’re using an email service provider like MailChimp or Constant Contact). And you can even go on Facebook and other social media to see how your fans interact. But that’s a time-consuming process.

Using Facebook Ads Manager

International media consultant Stacey Kawakami tells me that if you have at least 1,000 people following you on Facebook, you can use Facebook Ads Manager as a research tool. Here’s what you do:

  1. Go to Ads Manager
  2. From the top bar, click Tools
  3. From the Tools dropdown, click Audience Insights
  4. Select “Only people connected to your page”
  5. Enter your page in the navigation on the left side
  6. You’ll land on the demographics page by default
  7. Click “Page Likes”

Using other tools

If you’re interested in finding out whether Facebook followers of your nonprofit like another page, specifically, you could use the 1ntelligence Facebook Search tool. It’s designed for employment recruiters, but it will do the job for you.

  1. From the drop-down menu, choose Like.
  2. Fill in the name of your Facebook page. (For example, mine is communicateconsulting.)
  3. Click the AND button.
  4. Again, choose Like, and this time put the name of another Facebook page that you’re wondering whether your followers also follow.
  5. You will get a list of all the people who like both pages, along with where they work and who you have as mutual friends.

You could also use this tool to find followers of your page who live or work in a specific area, or who speak a certain language. Again, knowing this information may help you send the right message to the right people at the right time–which is what effective communication is all about!

Using Search Strings

What if you don’t have 1,000 followers but you do have some technical savvy about search? Then you could try the queries that Balazs & the Magic Sourcing World recommends.

For instance, you want to find Google employees and run this one: /104958162837/employees/present/intersect where the long number is the Facebook ID of Google.

And thanks to Balasz, I can now tell you how to duplicate my old, extremely useful search, “Pages liked by people who like [your organization].” Here’s what you do:

  1. Find your organization’s numerical Facebook ID. You can go to and type in the name of your Facebook page, and it will tell you the number.
  2. Then, go to Facebook and search on ID/likers/pages-liked. (Where it says “your ID,” put in the numerical ID before you search.)
  3. And voila! There’s the list again!

Remember, the point is to build a better relationship with your followers. Don’t shock them with how much you know about them. Just use your research to find the common ground where their interests meet your cause.