Is Your Nonprofit’s Message Getting Through on Facebook?

[fa icon="calendar"] May 18, 2017 2:07:04 PM / by Adam Cassandra

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“Clean your room, please. Hey, clean your room. Did you clean your room? CLEAN YOUR ROOM!!!” If you have kids, you know the struggle of trying to get them to take action. You often need to repeat yourself multiple times — sometimes loudly. You know they heard you, they just aren’t responding.

In marketing, there’s an old adage that someone needs to hear your message at least seven times before they take action. This repetition of message is applicable to fundraising in many ways as well, which is why there’s such a big push toward integrated marketing. This integration should include direct mail and email at a minimum, and social media networks should also be part of the plan.

For nonprofits trying to communicate with their supporters, Facebook is a great tool. But according to a new report, most nonprofits aren’t reaching many of their Facebook fans with their posts. No matter how important, or loud, the message, it’s just not getting through like you hoped.

M+R’s recently released its 11th Benchmarks Study of nonprofit digital advocacy, fundraising, social media, and advertising. 133 nonprofits working in a variety of sectors were surveyed for the study.

The study found nonprofits increased the size of their social media audiences over the previous year, but on average, “a nonprofit will reach just 8% of its fans with a post that isn’t promoted.”

Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms play a huge role in the lack of visibility of nonprofit Facebook Page posts, along with Facebook’s desire for ad revenue.

“You can pay to increase that [8%] reach, of course, and that kind of paid promotion can be an effective part of your social media and digital advertising strategy,” according to the Benchmarks Study. “But the truth is, resources are limited and nonprofits do not pay to boost the vast majority of their posts. Only about 3% of posts by our participants had paid reach.”

But even though only 8% of your Facebook fans will see any given post, some “good news” is that other people who aren’t fans of the page will see the post as your supporters engage with your content.

“In fact, 45% of Facebook users who saw a given post were not already fans of the nonprofit.

So most of the people who follow you don’t see your Facebook posts, and about half the people who do see your posts don’t follow you on Facebook,” the study found.

To help nonprofits more accurately gauge how many Facebook fans they can expect to reach, the Benchmarks Study introduced a new metric: the Earned Reach Average (ERA). The ERA is the “average number of people who see a given post for every Facebook fan you have.”

Here’s how it works:

“Overall, the ERA for our participants is .225. For every 1,000 Facebook fans a nonprofit has, their next post will reach about 225 people. So if you’re a completely average organization ... with 60,000 fans, a given post will be seen by about 13,500 people (60 x .225=13.5).”

More testing is needed to see just how accurate the ERA metric is and how it can best be utilized in a nonprofit’s marketing strategy. But it’s not all a numbers game. As the study rightly points out, “If you want to be seen on Facebook, the nature and quality of your content are just as important as the number of Likes you have.”


Contact LDMI today for help creating, posting, and monetizing your nonprofit's Facebook posts.

And click the icon below to download our free e-book, "5 Engagement Strategies for Non-Profits to Use on Facebook."

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Topics: Social Media, Inegrated Fundraising, Online Fundraising, Facebook, Digital Fundraising

Adam Cassandra

Written by Adam Cassandra

Adam Cassandra is the Creative Director at Lawrence Direct Marketing, Inc., where he oversees the creation of exceptional direct mail packages and online fundraising campaigns for LDMI's national and international nonprofit clients. Follow Adam on Twitter: @adamcassandra.

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