Are Facebook Ads Worth a Look for Non-profits?

facebook nonprofits

facebook nonprofits (Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg)

Facebook has truly given non-profits a global platform like no other.  With over one billion people on this social media behemoth, the ability to target messaging for your cause has never had a wider reach.  At the same time, Facebook has developed very sophisticated marketing tools that non-profits can use to make sure their message is hitting home with the right audience.  If Facebook ads are something your non-profit has not considered before, it may be time to give this option a closer look.

Most non-profits are pretty social media savvy and already have a decent following of fans on their organization’s Facebook page.  Having a well-designed and managed page is the foundation for making the most of your Facebook presence, as well as adhering to guidelines for creating the most engaging posts:

  • Post often with well written and succinct content
  • Use images and video that draw attention to a specific issue
  • Be conversational and encourage responses

Facebook has great resources already to help educate non-profits on all the tips, tricks, and tools that can make a prolific difference in attracting fans, raising awareness, and helping their message go viral.  You can find these resources on Facebook’s page dedicated to non-profit organizations:

Apart from mastering the art of Facebook page management, Facebook ads can increase your non-profit’s exposure and allow you to choose exactly what type of Facebook user you want to target by location, age, gender, interests, mobile devices, and connections.  You will need to choose your budget, which starts at $10 a day.  With the average Facebook user having 260+ friends, the potential reach of your ad is truly staggering.

Creating a Facebook ad is very simple:  go to and choose what type of campaign you wish to run:

  • Getting more likes
  • Promote page posts
  • Advanced Options (such as CPM and CPC)

You will need to choose a name for your ad campaign, and how long you wish it to run.  Before diving in, you should probably check out a recent LIVEtalk webinar produced by Facebook that explains in easy to understand terms how Facebook ads work and how non-profits can benefit from them:

You may still be thinking, “This all sounds fine, but is it worth the expense?”  Plainly speaking, there are no guarantees in any kind of advertising.  However, Facebook ads possess a unique micro-targeting of diverse audiences and demographics that have never been available, along with the ability to set your own budget as little as $10 a day.  Those features by themselves, along with the other resources Facebook offers, deserve consideration for non-profits both large and small.

Facebook ads are one avenue non-profits can pursue in their cause marketing efforts.   For a strong overall Facebook marketing strategy, your ad campaigns should work in tandem with everything in your Facebook toolkit:

  • A well-designed Facebook page
  • Facebook apps for greater audience engagement
  • Facebook Places (for “check-ins”)
  • Facebook Events (for event promotion)
  • Facebook Groups (for super-users, champions, and advocates)
  • Social plugins hosted on your website

It’s probably a good idea to spend some time brainstorming about what kind of ad campaign you’d like to run, and absorb all the Facebook educational materials on Facebook’s nonprofit resource page before jumping right in.  Consider what you want to say, what kind of behavior or response you wish to promote, what demographic you need to target, and how much you can spend.  Once you start your first campaign, you can gauge your results and adjust your strategy accordingly.  Advertising is always a hypothetical “thowing spaghetti on wall, to see what sticks.”  Hopefully, with intelligent research and well-thought out strategy, your Facebook ad campaign will yield tangible results that can be duplicated again and again.