Non-Profits and Small Businesses Need to Earn Members and ‘Likes’

May 2011

Working behind the scenes at a non-profit organization and earning ‘likes’ on your business facebook page have more than a couple things in common.

For a nonprofit organization one of their biggest challenges is getting members.  Why did you become a member of a non-profit organization?  Is it because you admire the work that the organization does or is it for the tax write off?

A business involved on facebook is interested in increasing their customer base, in addition to being considered a resource in their geographic and professional area.  Why did you ‘like’ a business on facebook?  Is it because you admire the work that they do, were looking for information on that subject matter, know the owner or like the humor in their posts?

Always communicate

The non-profit organization that you hear from only during pledge season is annoying.  Granted, you may not follow them on twitter, like them on facebook or check out their flickr page, but they need to do something for you other than ask for money.  Ditto the business facebook page; if all they do is talk about their industry then it tends to get old quickly.

Both instances are kind of like the relative that you see only when they need money and can only talk about 1 thing.

Listen AND talk

We all have two ears and one mouth.    Similar to how the business shouldn’t just talk about their business and the non-profit shouldn’t just talk about their cause; they both need to ASK questions occasionally.   How’s your day?  What are you doing this weekend?   Have you seen the latest movie?

Inserting conversation from your end helps fans and members know that you’re more than just an entity.  People will be more willing to support you, both financially and as a customer once they know you.

It’s not all about YOU

Any social media channel that only has the conversation originating from the main entity is all hat and no cattle, plus it’s a little bit rude.  When people are in your circle of conversation you need to engage then in a conversation, not just tell them things.  Even if nobody chimes in or comments that is OK.  At least you are making the effort to engage people and visitors to your facebook page will notice that.

The non-profit organization that only speaks of what they do is equally as annoying.  It’s not about the 501c3; it’s about the causes they help and those stories.  Mention the good works that your Executive Director did, but don’t make that the focal point, lest you supporter see what percentage of your income is really going to administrative expenses.

Facebook is a place for everybody to tell their story and with a little bit of common courtesy you can do it in a successful manner without being annoying.

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