Facebook vs. links, and how it hurts nonprofits
By Lindsay Gebhart, Director of Development
In June Facebook once again changed their algorithm, but to most people the difference was subtle. To the many nonprofits who have “pages” on the site, it was not.
To sum up what Facebook changed, they decided that there wasn’t enough original content on the site i.e. “I went to the grocery store today, and they were out of strawberries!” and in their place were pics of memes, shares of silly twitter statuses, etc. Facebook was created so people who know each other could communicate, and they wanted to return to that original purpose.
Here are their stated changes and their purpose:
1) Posts from friends and family will get top priority on users’ News Feeds.
2) After those posts Facebook prioritizes posts that “inform” and posts that “entertain.”
3) Then they prioritize posts with “authentic communication.”
These are all great in concept, but they basically mean that:
1) “Pages” don’t show up nearly as easily.
2) Only “Page” content with “authentic communication” tends to appear on News Feeds.
What is authentic communication? We quickly noticed one thing it is NOT: A link to an outside website.
Facebook pages serve a lot of purposes for nonprofits. They educate about issues the nonprofit is working to solve; they galvanize people to sign petitions or call their elected officials. They also serve as a way to fundraise, though generally in a small way.
One of the best ways for us to raise money is through matching funds, and we have been fortunate that Global Giving has offered us matching funds three times in the last six months. They have been an incredible boon to our small organization, but the only way to get the funds is if money is donated by an individual then matched by Global Giving.
We have posted links about this amazing opportunity and gotten very little response. We were confused and then we noticed that these posts were not even appearing on our own Timelines, then we looked at the page and saw the post reach: The first day 113 people were reached. The second, 43. 43 out of 2,150 likes!
Granted, Facebook doesn’t exist to raise money for nonprofits. But when you take away a huge tool for small nonprofits to communicate with our constituents our hands become very tied.
That said, if you want to donate to our Global Giving matching campaign go here