What Facebook can (cannot) do for your NGO

Prepared by Noureddine Achemlal, E-Mediat Morocco Strategy Advisor

 Should you or should you not create a Facebook page for your NGO? Besides, a page or a group? What for? Who will administer it? And how to manage it? This article gives you the answers...

Should I use Facebook for my NGO?
In theory, yes. The only reason you could give up its use depends on your audience and their habits. If your main audience is exclusively the elderly, you will not use Facebook probably because most old people do not use it (not even sure if they have a computer). However, if you talk to an audience with mixed age groups or exclusively youth, you are depriving yourself of a sharing and active channel by not using Facebook. In 2011, nearly 4 million Moroccans have an account in the social Network. Nothing more than this figure should make you think.

Should I create a page or a group?
“The pages can be created to represent a real organization or company, an artist or a band, and only the official representative of that entity that has the right to create one. Groups, meanwhile, are like spaces to exchange ideas and can be created by anyone on any subject. Groups can be closed or secret, while pages are designed to enable an entity to disclose publicly” (Facebook Chart). A page is the most suitable NGOs.

Facebook, for what?
To create connections and discussions with your members, volunteers, and more generally, the public... To publicize your organization and energize your community. Clearly, use Facebook to exchange with your visitors. Nothing is more useless than a Facebook page powered only with your latest blog articles, for example. Your page will be meaningful if you can create a relationship. Solicit people who like your page, ask them their opinion on certain topics, ask them questions, have them vote on things, etc.. Your page will not play its full role if you are not able to truly animate it.

Who should administer Our NGO’s page?
It is perfectly possible to appoint many administrators. You may want to assign roles. One will take care of publishing news, another to create an interaction, etc… Or you can assign a single person to handle the page. In any case, be sure to set your goals ahead, what you expect from a Facebook page, the type of content that you post there, and how you will create the interaction. Also consider the frequency of updates.

What content to post ?
You can publish pictures and videos of your activities, links to articles, list your future events, your news, provide entertainment content in your community (questions, votes, etc.) thank the volunteers, making call to volunteer, organize games and more. Basically, you can post all types of content. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that you should only talk about you. Again, you are there to create and expand your network. Talk about other things, your volunteers, partners ... But talk of others. Last thing, post some content that you run only on Facebook. This creates value and enhances the purpose of this communication channel.

Which diffusion?
Facebook should not be the basis for your web strategy. It should be seen as a tool complementing your website or blog. Also add a link to your Facebook page on your blog or website. It is likely that most people who join your Facebook page first pass through your website/blog (It must remain the main entrance door). In addition, you can integrate your Facebook page to all your communication channels: email signature, posters, flyers, etc. The only limits are those you impose.

To sum up, a Facebook page can be very useful for your NGO. It allows you to establish a close contact with your audience and animate your network via the web. It will also allow you to announce your events and allow people to easily share them. And because Facebook is a real canvas, the name of your association is likely to travel and bring you new members... The main difficulty with social networks is to adapt in time. Given the rapid changes on the Internet, it is likely that Facebook will not last forever and it is possible that something else takes over. You will need to know, in the future, what are the social networks frequented by your audience to determine where your presence is required.

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