How to Get to Know Your Prospects & Donors Better Using Facebook Reactions

Chances are, you’ve heard of—or used—Facebook’s new Reactions feature. Released earlier this year, Reactions make it possible to express how you feel about a status in a variety of ways. Now, not only can you tap the Like button, but you can also react to a post using the Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, or Angry buttons.


So, what does the release of Facebook Reactions mean for advancement professionals?

As I’ve written about before, tracking engagement on your organization’s Facebook page is a great way to discover new prospects and learn about their interests and affinities.

Prior to Reactions, however, the only way to track this engagement was through counting likes, comments, and shares. The addition of Reactions provides an even more data-rich opportunity to measure Facebook engagement—allowing you to more directly pinpoint a prospect’s opinions on subjects related to your organization and its fundraising endeavors.

Let’s say your organization posts a story about undergraduate students participating in an overseas exchange program, and one of your prospects ‘loves’ the story. You may wish to consider tagging that prospect as someone potentially interested in donating toward an exchange program.


On the other hand, if your organization shares an article about NCAA violations by your athletics department and a prospect reacts as ‘angry’ toward the post, you may want to avoid talking about the athletics program during your next meeting…and also be aware that the prospect will probably bring the topic up on his or her own.

Whether you’re a researcher or development officer, below are two interesting ways to quickly data mine Facebook Reactions to better understand and identify your fundraising prospects.

1. Create a summary of Facebook content to which your prospect has reacted.

The week before a scheduled meeting with a prospect, you could create a spreadsheet with information about every post that he or she publicly reacted to on Facebook. The easiest way to locate these posts is to type “Posts liked by [Prospect Name]” in Facebook’s main search box. On your spreadsheet, the columns you’ll want to include are: prospect name, organization that published the Facebook post, whether or not the prospect shared the post, and what the prospect’s reaction was to the post.

Take note of what stories your prospect favored and which ones he or she had unpleasant feelings toward. This information may help you align a giving conversation with the prospect’s current areas of interest.

2. Make lists of prospects who have reacted to your organization’s posts.

After your organization posts a story, you can easily see who has engaged with the content—and with what specific Reaction—by clicking on the total Reactions count below the story.


From there, you’ll be able to see a breakdown of how many people selected each Reaction along with their names.


By clicking on the eight individuals who “loved” the post and screening them against your database, you may be able to find new prospects to qualify or pass along to development officers.

With more advancement shops beginning to incorporate Facebook data into their fundraising efforts, it will be interesting to see how Facebook Reactions gets factored into affinity scores and prospect profiles. We’ve only scratched the surface of what is possible with social networks like Facebook; it’s up to us to dig deeper, collect social data on what our prospects care about, and apply it to our solicitation strategies.

If you’d rather not do this type of work manually, a product like EverTrue can automate the process by connecting with your organization’s Facebook pages and surfacing Reactions data in real-time. You can filter your constituents by Reaction type, create lists of constituents who have reacted in specific ways to your content, and see Facebook engagement data at a glance on each constituent profile (as shown below).

Excerpt of a constituent profile in EverTrue

Check out EverTrue’s July Release Notes for a quick tutorial on using Facebook Reactions in EverTrue.


Emily Davis began as a research associate at the Indiana University Foundation and was promoted to development analyst in 2011. In addition to assisting her science- and health-related clients with research, she has completed research for the IU and IU Foundation presidents as well as on international prospects. She received her undergraduate degrees from Ball State University and her master’s degree from Indiana University Bloomington. In her free time, she enjoys completing freelance editing and formatting work when not watching Thomas the Train with her toddler.

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