Facebook Ad Grants for Nonprofits — Why It Matters
We are big fans of Facebook here at Media Cause. The platform has proven time and again to be an excellent space for nonprofits to communicate with existing supporters and reach new fans.
This past year, however, we’ve noticed and heard from a growing number of nonprofits that the reach of posts — the number of people who see each post that an organization posts on its Facebook page — has been decreasing. Right around the time the reach of posts started declining, Facebook introduced an advertising feature called “Promoted Posts,” which wasn’t received well. Facebook insisted that it wasn’t charging organizations to reach engaged fans and that posts were only being suppressed from fans that hadn’t liked, commented or shared previous posts. The company recommended that organizations produce engaging content to reach a larger percentage of their Facebook fans.
Many nonprofits have been going to great lengths to create inspiring and informative content and analyzing their fans responses to understand what types of content resonate the most. In spite of their efforts, they are only seeing minimal improvements in their reach numbers. The only way to reach a significant number of fans on a regular basis is to pay for promoted posts.
On Dec. 5, a story in Ad Age revealed that Facebook admits that marketers are going to have to pay to reach their fans. We understand and commend Facebook’s efforts to keep our personal newsfeeds as relevant and meaningful as possible. We also understand that as a public company, one of Facebook’s top priorities is to keep its shareholders happy. From a monetization standpoint, it makes sense for Facebook to charge companies to promote their content. However, all of the recent changes to the newsfeed have put nonprofits at a significant disadvantage.
On average, a Facebook post now reaches only 15 percent of a page’s existing fans organically. While large-scale companies can afford to pay to promote each post to reach their existing fans on Facebook, this pay-to-play model is hurting nonprofits. Many nonprofits have invested a significant amount of time and resources to grow their Facebook pages. Unfortunately they simply can’t afford the pay every time they want to share information with their volunteers, supporters and donors that have chosen to like the organizations’ pages on Facebook.
Rather than complain about the problem, we’ve come up with a solution. We launched a petition on Change.org asking Facebook to step up their support for nonprofits worldwide by launching a Facebook Ad Grants for nonprofits program.
In 2005, Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg was Google’s vice president of global online sales and operation, where she directed Google Ad Grants, a program that gives nonprofits $10,000 every month to advertise on Google.com. Facebook has the talent, resources and technology in place to launch a similar Facebook Ad Grants for nonprofits program.
Taking into consideration the needs of Facebook, here are some ideas about how a Facebook Ad Grants program could work:
- Give $10,000 per month in ad grants to nonprofits with formal accreditation, with $333 per day to encourage nonprofits to commit to sharing content everyday.
- Offer Facebook Ad Grants to nonprofits that have at least 2,000 likes on their page i.e. nonprofits that are committed to the platform and willing to invest in growing their fanbase.
- Stipulate that Facebook Ad Grants can only be used on Promoted Posts and targeted to a nonprofit’s current page likes. This will help ensure that ads only reach people who have already liked the nonprofit’s page.
- Require that posts eligible for free promotion must have at least six percent engagement rate to encourage nonprofits to create good content that resonates with their fans and to prove those posts are worthy of showing to a larger group of fans.
Please sign this petition to ensure nonprofits aren’t silenced on the world’s largest social network. If anyone from Facebook is listening, please let us know if the there is anything we can do to help implement an ad grants program. We’d love to lend a hand.