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Making the Case for Nonprofits and Facebook Ads

There are countless ways a nonprofit can grow its Facebook community. Running Facebook Ads is the smartest and most efficient way to gain supporters for your nonprofit on Facebook.

First, let’s debunk the biggest myth in the nonprofit marketing sector — the notion that nonprofits should not run ads simply because they are not-for-profit institutions. If your nonprofit is already spending time and money attracting supporters by tabling at events, posting flyers and sending direct mail, your organization is better off spending that time and money running ads to accomplish the same goal because it’s more effective. It allows you to reach your target audience and provides data so you know what’s working and what’s not.

Here are three other reasons why your nonprofit should invest in community-building Facebook Ads:

Reason #1: Obtain useful insight

By investing in Facebook Ads and growing a community that cares about your organization’s cause, you’re able to uncover insights about your supporters and gather feedback. Your nonprofit can then use this information in planning events, creating marketing messages and developing new campaigns.

For one of our clients, a San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit that’s working to drive the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), we learned its supporters are  very EV-savvy. Since they are already knowledgeable about EVs, we don’t have to waste time sharing basic EV information. Another client that works on a range of social issues decided not to pursue a campaign involving fracking after their Facebook posts about fracking received negative feedback from their community.

Reason #2: Gain more support

Every nonprofit marketing guru will tell you to use Facebook to share your nonprofit’s story. The truth is, you can tell the best story in the world, but it won’t do anything for your organization if no one is listening.

Use Facebook Ads to grow your community in order to gain more support for your cause. Not every Facebook fan will donate to your organization, but a bigger audience means more people will support your organization in other ways such as spreading the word about your organization.

Reason #3: Attract sponsors

Your nonprofit can literally sell its Facebook real estate to businesses that want to reach your supporters. When you bring in a sponsor with similar values, it’s a win-win for everyone.

One of our clients — Cornell Lab of Ornithology — was approached by a small natural foods store called Bob’s Red Mill. Bob has been a fan of our client for quite some time, and like the majority of Cornell Lab’s fans, Bob is a bird enthusiast. Together we developed a sponsorship: In exchange for putting Bob’s Red Mill’s logo on Cornell Lab’s highly engaging name-this-bird weekly posts, Bob agreed to donate a science kit to a selected teacher to help students learn more about birds and science. Bob’s sponsorship led to a total donation of $60,000! Cornell Lab was happy because it received a big donation, Bob was happy because his brand received great exposure and Cornell Lab’s fans were happy because Bob is donating to a cause they care about.

CornellLab-BirdsmartChallenge

By investing in Facebook Ads, your nonprofit’s Facebook community becomes someone else’s target audience, which you can harness into a sponsorship that benefits everyone. It’s important to remember that Facebook Ads are not enough. To truly turn your Facebook community into an asset, make sure your community is active and engaged by sharing content that resonates with them.

Ready to launch Facebook Ads for your nonprofit? Read our CEO Eric Facas’s post on launching community-building Facebook Ads to get started.

What has been your experience with nonprofits and Facebook Ads? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or send a tweet @mediacause.

Michelle Thai

michelle@mediacause.org

Michelle is a tech enthusiast with a big passion for sustainability and poverty alleviation. Prior to Media Cause, Michelle worked with several celebrity foundations with tech start-up GlobalMojo, including the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and the Avril Lavigne Foundation. She currently volunteers with Power to the People to bring solar electricity to rural villages in Nicaragua. Michelle holds a BS in Marketing Communications from Emerson College and currently resides in the SF Bay Area.