Facebook For Advancement, Part 3 – Tools to Take Advantage of RIGHT NOW

Our Facebook for Advancement series continues onward. We’ve already covered why Facebook is still relevant and how to build your content engine. Check those out if you haven’t or jump right into the tools you can start using the second you finish reading this article.

Facebook has a whole bunch of tools you can start using any time you please. They’re just sitting there waiting for you. And they don’t cost you a dime (with the exception of Ads).

Yeah, let’s cut this intro short and just start talking about them right away.

Facebook Groups

Advancement offices love groups. All your alumni in one spot, talking with you, talking with each other. But where’s the group live online? Well, Facebook presents a compelling case:

  • 70% of people are already on Facebook
  • They check in every day
  • They’re password is saved so they don’t have to log in
  • Facebook heavily promotes groups in the newsfeed
  • Already optimized for mobile

So…yeah. That’s a pretty good start. We’re guessing quite a few of the issues raised by your team around starting an alumni group are solved by that list.

In fact, while you were busy debating where to put your group, there’s a good chance your alumni already started one on Facebook. Yale alums did it. Florida A&M did it. Those two groups have tens of thousands of members and are incredibly active. So instead of building a group from scratch, why not reach out to the administrators of those pages and work together?

And if you want to get granular with your groups you can create a ton of smaller groups catering to individual interests or relevance. Connecticut College does a great job with groups, fostering over 100. Some of those are around specific subjects like athletics or graduating classes and some are simply regional for alumni who are clustered together in certain cities.

However, you set up your groups, it’s important that you measure them. And, surprise surprise, Facebook makes that easy as well. Thanks to Group Insights you can track all the activity in these groups. See top posts and contributors, track growth over time, figure out when the most popular times for people to engage are and much more.

Facebook Events

You’re throwing events left and right. That’s not going to stop, nor should it. And you’re probably wringing your email and mailing lists dry trying to get people to attend.

All while Facebook events sits right there waiting for you. We’re not suggesting you put all your event eggs into the Facebook basket, but as an easy, free tool, it can provide a big boost to your attendance numbers without a lot of extra effort.

Creativity and diligence will determine a lot of your success, but examples abound. By strategically using Facebook Events, Facebook Insights and email activity, UConn increased their homecoming attendance by 79% last year. Tulane has seen success by experimenting with digital-only events, which are perfectly promoted on Facebook and have about as low a barrier to entry as possible.

By taking advantage of Eventbrite partnerships with both Facebook and EverTrue, you can automatically see which attendees have given in the past and which are unassigned to gift officers.

Then, as always, it’s all about the follow up.

Facebook Donate

It’s no secret to anyone reading this that donations have been on the decline for, well, a while. To put it gently.

So why not make it as easy as possible and meet people where they already are?

One way to do that is Facebook Donate. There are plenty of reasons to do so.

First, it couldn’t be easier. Just add the button to your page and…that’s pretty much it. Second, fees are waived for all non-profits, so you get the full donation every time. You can highlight the ability to give right then and there with Facebook Ads. And on Giving Tuesday, Facebook will match any and all donations.

Facebook already has seemingly a million ways to promote and raise awareness built right in, so by enabling Donate you don’t have to take people out of the Facebook environment (also known as introducing an obstacle) to donate.

Facebook Ads

And finally, the one thing feature that isn’t quite free. While you can do a little Facebook advertising without paying, to get the most impact, you’ll have to put some money where your ideas are.

We know keeping information in your database up to date is an incredibly daunting task. You know who it’s not hard for? Facebook. Because people do it for them.

Which makes it easy to get very granular when you’re using the Facebook Ads Manager. You can pick geographies, family status, wealth zip codes and much, much (MUCH) more. Or, if you’ve got a segment in EverTrue that you want to target with ads, you can upload that to Facebook and get started.

And then there’s the Pixel. It’s why those headphones you were looking at follow you all around the Internet for days. Sure, it’s a little creepy, but we’re all subject to it, so might as well start making it work for you.

It’s free to install and it is a little on the advanced side, but with a little time and experimentation, you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

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So those are the tools. All of which are powerful, most of which are free. In the final post of our series we’ll leave you with a bunch of things you can start doing on Facebook immediately, in a few weeks and later this year that will take your advancement office to the next level.