March Zuckerberg made it clear at the Communities Summit in Chicago a few days ago. Facebook Groups is the key to Facebook’s new mission: Build New Community. I thought the same is true for nonprofits. Without groups of loyal donors and volunteers, their journey to a better world is like searching in vain.
Facebook promised to give more tools to Groups admin to help them to grow and manage their communities. I remember when I started to use Facebook it was a tool to reunite with my old school friends. So basically they are back to their roots. Now more than 1 billion people around the world use Facebook Groups, and more than 100 million people are members of “meaningful groups.” Maybe it’s time to revisit this simple tool.
Here are new features available for your Groups:
Group Insights: Analytics has been Facebook’s top request from Group admins. With Group Insights, Group Admins are now able to see real-time metrics around growth, engagement and membership — such as the number of posts and times that members are most engaged.
Membership request filtering: we also hear from admins that admitting new members is one of the most time-consuming things they do. So, we added a way for them to sort and filter membership requests on common categories like gender and location, and then accept or decline all at once.
Removed member clean-up: To help keep their communities safe from bad actors, group admins can now remove a person and the content they’ve created within the group, including posts, comments and other people added to the group, in one step.
Scheduled posts: Facebook is now allowing admins and moderators to schedule posts on a specific day and time. A great function for busy group admins.
Group to group linking: Some groups are local chapters of larger organisations/regional groups. Facebook is now testing group-to-group linking, which allows group admins to recommend similar or related groups to their members. Facebook says more formal sub-Group structuring is coming. This may open doors for you to organise/build a layer of support groups for your cause.
Unfortunately, business, charity or fan page cannot create a Facebook Group. Only a personal profile can. But as an individual fundraiser/relationship manager, you can create Groups exclusively for your volunteers and major donors so that they can get special updates and thank you messages, which makes them feel special.
Samantha Harrington of Drive Media wrote in her Forbes article, Facebook Group can create a niche community within your larger audience, where you can connect and know your donors and supporters at a personal level. Be careful about choosing right privacy settings (Public, Closed or Secret). For large groups with more than 250 members, you can only change the privacy setting to a more restricted setting (e.g., public to closed or secret) after it has been set. In addition, you can equip your community fundraisers with tools/resources to build and manage their own Groups for your cause. They can cross-promote your page posts and events too.
Many US nonprofits are now jumping on the bandwagon of Facebook Fundraisers to tap into peer-to-peer fundraising. You can learn more about this from my previous post about how to fundraise on Facebook, you can learn from here.
It’s a great grassroots fundraising tool, but not so great for donor engagement and retention. Community-building is time-consuming, but it is the lifeblood of non-profits. To make the most of the latest offers from Facebook, non-profits should be creative/entrepreneurial like Kanye West-founded Donda’s House.
If your nonprofit has used Facebook Groups in some capacity or your know a non-profit utilising Facebook Groups, I’d love for you to share your experiences/knowledge in the comment section.