Facebook Live for Nonprofits: 12 Tips for Getting Started [INFOGRAPHIC]

Facebook Live is taking the newsfeed by storm! This live video broadcasting feature lets any person, brand, or nonprofit live-stream events, reveals, celebrations, and more.

The Humane Society, The White House, the MET, and many smaller nonprofits are broadcasting news-as-it-happens, museum tours, and even feeding time for baby raccoons!

Hesitant about broadcasting your cause with Facebook Live?

Although Facebook Live is simple to use (just tap the live broadcast icon while publishing an update from your mobile device), many nonprofits are understandably hesitant about this new form of unscripted content marketing.

That’s because using Facebook Live to broadcast your cause begs at least 4 questions:

  1. What are we going to talk about?
  2. How should we respond to commenters?
  3. How long should we broadcast?
  4. Will anybody actually tune-in?

If you have clear objectives and a plan that makes sense, you’ll be more successful using Facebook Live to engage with supporters.

Below are 12 tips to make your Facebook Live broadcast successful, but first:

How to use Facebook Live

Facebook Live is NOT an app you need to download. It’s a feature within the Facebook app and the Pages Manager app(as shown below).

To start broadcasting, tap the Facebook Live icon within the publisher:


Before you go live, you’ll be prompted to describe your live video.

Add filters to your broadcast

Facebook Live also includes many Snapchat-like features:

  • Video filters
  • Flip image (horizontal or vertical).
  • Brighten image
  • Add text and emojis
  • Draw on your video
  • Other Snapchat-like filters (shown below)

To access these features, click on the wand icon within Facebook Live before you go live.

Now for the tips (scroll down for the infographic):

Facebook Live Tip #1: Don’t freak out

Mistakes will be made. No matter how much you prepare, every now and then something goes wrong. This is especially true when trying something for the first time like Facebook Live.

  • You will feel nervous – everyone feels nervous the first time they’re on video.
  • The feeling will pass after a few broadcasts.
  • You will survive. Even if everything goes totally wrong, you will still live.

Facebook Live Tip #2: Get your feet wet with a small group

If you are going to make mistakes, it’s best to do it in front of people you trust, like friends.

  • Conduct a dry run with a small test group
  • Check the video and audio quality
  • Make sure lighting is good
  • Practice calling out peoples names and reading comments
  • Ask viewers to follow
  • Test out other Facebook live features

Facebook Live Tip #3: Pick a SPECIFIC topic people WANT to discuss

Obviously want to pick a topic that people want to discuss. The more specific and relevant your topic is, the better.

  • Trending topics or news
  • Frequently asked questions about a specific topic
  • Provide an insider’s view behind the scenes
  • Research other popular themes that work on Facebook and Twitter
  • Also, cute puppies

warrior canine connection - facebook live

Facebook Live Tip #4: Live broadcast your next event

Many of your supporters won’t be able to attend your event, but they would love to participate via Facebook live, if possible.

For example, the New York Public Library broadcasted a special story time in front of City Hall:

Facebook Live Tip #5: Tell people WHEN you’re going live

Facebook live isn’t that exciting if no one shows up. Make sure your core supporters show up when you go live.

  • Post an update on your page the week before and the day before
  • Include the date time and topic in a Facebook cover
  • Send an email to your email list
  • Share your broadcast date / time in your email newsletter
  • Tweet about it immediately before you go live

Facebook Live Tip #6: Make an outline for your broadcast

You’ll be less nervous if you jot down an outline of your broadcast on a small index card. Here’s a simple outline:

  • Introduce the topic or event
  • Introduce yourself
  • Welcome your viewers
  • Outline the interview questions
  • Tell people what’s next
  • Plan on responding to comments throughout the broadcast

Facebook Live Tip #7: Make sure the BANDWIDTH is healthy

Because Facebook live streams video, it will require more bandwidth than a phone call.

  • If you can, use Wi-Fi
  • If not, make sure you’ve got 3 bars, 4G
  • Test broadcast from event location
  • Plan for a contingency device (a coworker’s smart phone)

Facebook Live Tip #8: Write a compelling description

When you’re ready to go live, you will be prompted to write a description for your broadcast. Keep it short live The Case Foundation:

case foundation - facebook live

  • Make your topic clear
  • Make your topic compelling
  • No more than one sentence

Facebook Live Tip #9: Respond to commenters

The cool thing about Facebook live is that you can see comments as they’re posted real time during your broadcast. This is a unique opportunity to have an authentic discussion with your supporters.

  • Call out commenters by name
  • Read their comment
  • Reply to their comment
  • Say thank you

Facebook Live Tip #10: Ask for FOLLOWS

As your broadcast reaches more users, your view her account will increase. This is your captured audience.

  • Ask participants to follow
  • They’ll get notified each time you broadcast
  • Totally boosts your Newsfeed karma

Bonus: Promote your email newsletter to viewers, like the NYPL did:

nypl facebook live broadcast

Facebook Live Tip #11: Share the recording with your supporters

You’ve put a lot of time and effort into your first Facebook a live broadcast. Congratulations! Make sure this investment goes further by sharing it with your supporters.

  • Send a follow-up email
  • Link to broadcast in your newsletter
  • Reshare broadcast on your Page
  • Tell them when your next broadcast is

Facebook Live Tip #12: Repurpose the recording

When you complete a Facebook Live broadcast, you end up with a video file that is yours. Always save the recording when prompted at the end of your broadcast.

  • Edit out the pauses, ums, and tangents.
  • Slice it up into smaller videos (60 seconds or less for Instagram).
  • Transcribe the audio for blog posts (check out transcribeme)
  • Edit and use the audio for a podcast

Infographic create with the graphic design software Venngage.
John Haydon