How to setup a Facebook Fan Page for your charity

As a charity you may not have enough money to advertise right now right now with the state of the economy and increased needs for your services. Fortunately, the best advertising is word of mouth, which Facebook and other social networking sites make very easy and it’s free! One of the greatest tools out there is an application on Facebook called a “Fan Page” that allows your supporters to show they are fans of your organization, helping the page to go viral.

Many nonprofits are starting to use the Fan Page as a way to connect with volunteers and solidify their brand. The American Red Cross has over 4,500 fans on their page, The Salvation Army has over 5,300, while the World Wildlife Fund has over 130,000 fans. However, the benefits aren’t just in the numbers; each page allows you and your volunteers to share pictures, stories, links, videos and events. Remember that Facebook played a huge role in helping Barack Obama’s campaign for presidency.

To get started you need to have a Facebook account for your organization. If there is someone at your charity who has an account they can serve as an administrator or you can delegate someone to the position. It’s important to note that your own Facebook profile should be representative of a person, to abide by Facebook terms of use. Once logged in, you can create your page and add any necessary information about your charity. You don’t have to publish the page until you are ready.

After your fan page is set up you should embed the link into your newsletter, email, and website to encourage more people to join. Don’t be shy about letting people know about your page as a means for communication. You can also track how many people view the page on particular dates by going to the view insights link on your page. You can use this as a metric system to see how affective this type of advertising is in helping your organization grow.

You may think that Facebook is only for teenagers, college students and young professionals, but you’ll be surprised to see how many old friends find you through the network and are willing to support your cause. Facebook also has a great fundraising tool, called causes, which we’ll review in our piece next time.

Originally Posted: February 6, 2009 on NJ.com