Discuss

last person joined: 10 days ago 

Ask a question. Give advice. Share resources. Looking for software or hardware recommendations? Want to know how others are using text messaging in their work? Trying to find examples of IT policies? The NTEN Discuss forum is a great resource for all of the above and more! It's the general discussion list for the NTEN community, and folks all over the US (and the world) are sharing their questions, answers, and news about nonprofit technology.

Using Facebook groups

  • 1.  Using Facebook groups

    Posted Jan 16, 2018 14:48
    Hi there! So as many of you may know, Facebook is changing their algorithm again, and the whole "fake news" mess has made sharing certain articles, links, posts, etc a bit more difficult. This is especially difficult for those of us in nonprofit if we aren't able to always use Facebook ads or boost posts.

    In the past, we had thought about creating a Facebook group that would be a forum for discussion about hunger in our community, but there was never enough time to look into it, or it simply got pushed around. As we struggle with engagement amongst some of these changes, the idea has come up again, and this time we have the extra staff to pursue it.

    That said, we want to make sure it is a platform we can share things happening from our Facebook page, but also allow it to be a platform for our community to be more engaged with our nonprofit AND among themselves.

    I was wondering if there were any nonprofits out there that utilized this already, if you had any experiences (good or bad) to share,  if it's improved engagement on your page and in the group, resources, or even examples of other nonprofits doing a good job at this, etc.

    I appreciate any and all of your help on this! Thanks so much.

    ------------------------------
    Melissa Kear
    Digital Fundraising and Media Manager
    Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
    Orlando, FL
    ------------------------------
    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 2.  RE: Using Facebook groups

    Posted Jan 17, 2018 09:06
    I think groups can be very powerful but they can also be a huge time-suck. My suggestions are to be very clear about goal of the page, who will manage & moderate it, how the page will be used (strategy), and be sure to define terms of use (what if someone swears or uses inflammatory language, who can join - open or closed group, anyone or ??, etc). Set the expectations and management will be easier.

    Getting traction will be the big hurdle. Adoption by users tends to be a steep climb. Once it gets going with a reasonable number of people on-board, getting more people involved will be easier.

    Having a clear plan and being methodical about execution will eliminate headaches later on.

    ------------------------------
    Gregg Banse
    Director of Marketing & Business Development
    Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
    Vergennes, Vermont
    http://www.lcmm.org
    https://greggbanse.com
    ------------------------------

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 3.  RE: Using Facebook groups

    Posted Jan 17, 2018 10:09
    Thanks for the feedback, Gregg!

    I think knowing it could be such a time investment is what scares us. We talked about having moderators from different departments on board, and having clear rules to the group - as we will want it open, but those of us involved in the planning have only been a part of hobby groups, support groups, or friend groups, and worry it's not a realistic platform to be used successfully for our nonprofit, but we want to give our community a voice in the fight against hunger.

    Thank you for the great direction and suggestions! Very true about setting expectations and thinking about goals, as well. Do you have any examples of nonprofits doing this well?

    ------------------------------
    Melissa Kear
    Digital Fundraising and Media Manager
    Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
    Orlando, FL
    ------------------------------

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 4.  RE: Using Facebook groups

    Posted Jan 17, 2018 11:40

    What is the overall goal of having the group?

    In reading your posts, I see two distinct goals.  You mentioned giving your community a place to discuss hunger affecting the community.  In that case, having a group can be great if you have enough people that are interested in joining you on that conversation.  As Gregg mentioned, attracting group members can be extremely time consuming.  Unless your volunteers, recipients, etc are asking for a group or have even remotely shared that they would like a single place to have these discussions, I think you are facing more than an uphill battle to get it to work.

    In your second post, you mentioned giving your community a voice in the fight against hunger and you mentioned in the first one having challenges getting the word out about what is happening with your NP without paid boosts.

    My suggestion would be instead of creating a group would be to spend some time identifying who are the people that you have existing reach with that are social influencers.  I'm not talking necessarily about people with insane followings but people who are respected by their social media friends and routinely get engagement for their posts.  Once you've identified them, ask them if they would be willing to talk about why they care about the fight against hunger in your community.  Film it and share it on your social page and ask them to share it as well.

    Their organic reach will greatly help you plus chances are high that they will feel honored that you asked for their voice.  Those are people that you can go to in the future and ask for further help sharing again or even getting their help with fundraising.  I took a look at your page and it seems like you have a healthy amount of content but just at a quick glance, while you are featuring lots of people in your photos, I'm not seeing lots of personal testimonies in these posts.  I bet if you tried this once or twice, you would see an immediate spike in your social engagement.

    What I'm suggesting will take a lot of time and thought but the expected ROI is far less of a gamble than doing a Facebook group. 



    ------------------------------
    Joe Pallikkathayil
    Development & Fundraising Manager
    Missouri State Teachers Association
    Columbia, MO
    ------------------------------

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 5.  RE: Using Facebook groups

    Posted Jan 17, 2018 17:24
    Edited by Gregg Banse Jan 17, 2018 17:25
    Hi Melissa,
    I understand the hesitation. I'm sorry but I don't have an example of a success for a nonprofit. I'm sure it can be done.

    FYI - when I mentioned page in my first post - I meant group. Just trying to be clear. :)

    ------------------------------
    Gregg Banse
    Director of Marketing & Business Development
    Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
    Vergennes, Vermont
    http://www.lcmm.org
    https://greggbanse.com
    ------------------------------

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 6.  RE: Using Facebook groups

    Posted Jan 17, 2018 12:19
    Hi Melissa! Oregon Food Bank uses a Facebook group for their volunteer community. I've volunteered with them in the past and have been a member of the group for a couple of years. I rarely post or comment but I do enjoy seeing what volunteer projects they have going or learning about volunteers who have reached service milestones. They also share articles about hunger.

    ------------------------------
    Liza J Dyer, CVA
    Volunteer Services Manager
    Multnomah County Library
    Portland, OR
    Pronouns: she/her
    ------------------------------

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 7.  RE: Using Facebook groups

    Posted Jan 18, 2018 07:31
    ​Liza - I love the idea of using a Facebook group for your volunteers!

    Melissa - One thing to consider with Facebook groups is that, if users do not have notifications turned on, it's unlikely they will see postings in the group or engage in any type of posting because the group just becomes another thing that disappears into the background of Facebook. Facebook is pretty aggressive when a user first joins a group – I just joined one as an ambassador for a large sports nutrition company and it took up my entire newsfeed and sent me a million notifications until I went in and adjusted them. I think this overload of content and notifications can sometimes lead to users just turning off the notifications altogether and missing out, so you may want to consider being proactive about educating new members on how to adjust their notifications to still receive them, but the amount that they are interested in seeing. Otherwise, you're sort of just back to the same place that you started!

    ------------------------------
    Ariana Estes
    Web and Social Media Specialist
    Lutheran Family Services of Virginia
    Richmond, VA
    ------------------------------

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 8.  RE: Using Facebook groups

    Posted Jan 18, 2018 13:52

    Wow what a great discussion! Thanks all -- just tuning in here.

    Our organization is a small educational institution with graduating classes. What say you about an alumni group. The Goal would be to "keep in touch" and add the benefit that they keep in touch with each other as years pass. We'd of course also like them to stay connected and pass the word to their friends and associates that we are here to help.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks so much~!



    ------------------------------
    Ariel Jensen-Vargas
    Digital Strategist at Fountain House College Re-Entry

    MPA Nonprofit Management candidate
    Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College
    Long Island City NY United States
    ------------------------------

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 9.  RE: Using Facebook groups

    Posted Jan 19, 2018 10:11
    So many good points! Thanks to everyone for your direction.

    It's very true that we do not want it to become something that is chaotic or overwhelming, so we will definitely have to go back to the drawing board on what our main goals for using the group would be.

    Liza, thank you for sharing that example! That's exactly what I was looking for as a comparison.

    Also, Ariel, I am a part of a group similar to what you are interested in, for alumni, and I was excited to join and be a part of it, but unfortunately in the group I was in, it wasn't very active and I ended up forgetting it existed unless someone tagged me or one of my friend's posted on it and Facebook sent me a notification.

    Starting out, though, I think if you keep it active and even tag alumni you think may be interested, just to get it rolling until it's a bit more self-sufficient, it will be easier to build. In my group, I used to follow it when I was out of work and looking for opportunities, and also when training/networking opportunities would be shared. I used it less to keep in touch because for those instances I would friend someone page-to-page, rather than communicate in a group setting. And like Ariana mentioned, if it's TOO active, I'll unfollow so the notifications do not take over, or I'll choose to just follow when my friends' post. Could you perhaps create a survey to mail to your alumni and get their feedback on it, too?

    ------------------------------
    Melissa Kear
    Primary Contact
    Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
    Orlando, FL
    ------------------------------

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 10.  RE: Using Facebook groups

    Posted Jan 19, 2018 13:21
    At Boys & Girls Clubs, we don't have any "officially sanctioned" Facebook groups, but some have sprung up organically around different job functions, and they have been a huge success. The value is that they have a wide reach and are an easy place to get questions answered and make some connections, but the downside that we've seen is that they tend to be a little shallow. There isn't a lot of deep, thoughtful engagement there, and there is a lot of repetition. For some things that's ok, sometimes you just need the info, but we are trying to figure out how to do it better.

    ------------------------------
    Sarah Grizzle
    Director, Youth Development Communication & Knowledge Management
    Boys & Girls Clubs of America
    Atlanta, Georgia
    ------------------------------

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline