Tired of the lackluster response on Facebook because you’re struggling to get your nonprofit’s posts to even show up in your followers’ feeds?
Well, you’re not alone.
Organic reach has been declining, and with so much relevant content to scroll through, the competition to get reactions, comments, and shares is tougher than ever.
A Facebook group is one of the best solutions to this problem that we currently have. It will allow you to build a community around your nonprofit while gaining more traction in your members’ feeds. Keep reading to learn more about why groups are so important for nonprofit organizations and how exactly you can use them to get more results on (and off!) Facebook.
How Nonprofits Can Benefit from Facebook Groups
There are a lot of strong benefits that can come from having a Facebook group centered around your nonprofit, no matter the specifics of the organization you run. These include:
- A huge advantage when it comes to the algorithm. The algorithm is consistently lowering the organic reach of Pages, but it’s also prioritizing group posts. When the news of Facebook Zero broke, Mark Zuckerberg explained that users want to hear more about the people care about, including those in the groups they’re invested in.
- The chance to interact one-on-one with people invested in your nonprofit. Sure, this can happen on your Page, but there’s a bigger willingness to participate in group posts where the emphasis is on the discussion. This is particularly true if the group is closed, and people feel like their conversations are a little more private.
- An opportunity for community building. Your group members won’t just develop a better relationship with you; they’ll also develop stronger relationships with each other. This will allow you to foster an online community, which creates even more value and a deeper, more substantial relationships.
What Types of Content Should I Share in the Group?
Before you get started, it’s a good idea to know what types of content you want to share within the group. How will you get members to sign-up? How will the group be valuable to them?
You can use any combination of the following ideas for posts for nonprofit Facebook groups:
- Share updates on work or progress your nonprofit has reached, thanking members.
- Ask for volunteers, donations, purchases, or job applications in the group and explain why you need them (note that this should never be the primary focus).
- Coordinate events, and let users know that joining the group is the best way to stay on top of upcoming events.
- Share resources; some nonprofits have applications for volunteering or information about what they do, or even general resources for their field of choice. You can keep these available in files or learning units to keep them easily accessible.
- Discuss relevant news and updates that could affect the cause or field you’re involved in.
It’s important to note that in most cases, the groups that flourish are the ones that allow members to initiate discussion. Members should be encouraged to ask questions and share content they think is relevant.
A nonprofit dog rescue, for example, could allow people to share posts about dogs that need to be rehomed, or tips on dog food sales in case anyone wanted to make a donation. Not only will this keep group engagement up, which is always a good thing, it will also allow members to feel like they’ve established a place in your community.
What Type of Group Should I Choose?
When you’re setting up your group, there’s a lot of flexibility in how you want to run it and what you want to post. This can evolve over time, but it’s typically a good idea to know what type of group you want to have when you first open it.
You have three options here: open, closed, and secret. Here are the differences between them:
- Open groups can be joined by anyone, and anyone (including non-members) can see posts and discussions.
- Closed groups can be found by anyone, but require admin approval to enter and won’t let non-members see any of their content
- Secret groups are invisible to non-members, and you can only see the existence of the group if you’ve been invited in by an admin or a member.
The type of group you choose will depend heavily on your specific nonprofit and your goals with the group.
If you’re running a nonprofit that focuses on Alzheimer’s research, very few people would object to that and heated arguments wouldn’t be much of a problem.
Some nonprofits, however, should choose closed groups instead. Situations that would require this include:
- If your nonprofit is somehow associated with children or their parents, a closed group may be preferred in order to protect child information. By offering this, you may get more engagement.
- Groups that belong to nonprofits that have any sort of political or controversial association or connotation. It’s easier to keep the trolls at bay, making your life a little easier.
- You want to keep the resources exclusive to people who have joined the group or who are involved with your nonprofit.
Tools to Make the Process a Little Easier
Facebook groups can be time-consuming to manage; that’s their one big flaw. You have to watch out for disagreements, which can escalate shockingly quickly in today’s online climate, and be involved enough to keep users engaged, too.
Native tools, like group insights, will be a good first place to look once your group is up and running. It will show you the overall growth of your group, and you can see which posts are performing best.
Social management software Agorapulse has also just released Facebook group management features that help you manage your group with less time. You can schedule posts for your group in advance, which will be published automatically at the designated time. This will save you a lot of time and all you to create a content schedule ahead of time, making it easier to keep your group engaged with a slightly smaller time investment on your part.
Facebook groups have always been a valuable place to generate discussion and nurture a sense of community amongst volunteers, workers, and even members of the community who are invested in your cause. Now, the distinctive algorithm benefits make groups a necessity for nonprofits, whose Pages’ placements have been rapidly shrinking in number for the past few years.
The ability to have posts from your group appearing at the top of users’ feeds and making it content that they want to see is too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Creating and managing a Facebook group can be a big undertaking, but with these strategies and the right tools, it will be an investment well worth the effort.