A regular posting from Mark Buzan, principal in Action Strategies(www.actionstrategies.ca). The blog touches on current issues in Non-Profit and Association PR, marketing, lobbying and public affairs. Action Strategies can be reached by phone at: (819) 770-2899.
If you're a non-profit organization and you are on Facebook and haven't heard of the Causes application, you need your team to get on board with this excellent tool IMMEDIATELY! Basically, Facebook Causes is one of the many applications available to centre discussion around issues of concern to a multitude of organizations.
Any Facebook user with a little passion and initiative can create a cause, recruit their friends into that cause, keep everybody in the cause up-to-speed on issues and media related to the cause, and, most importantly, raise money directly through the cause for any U.S. nonprofit or Canadian registered charity. Causes processes donations automatically via credit card, tallies the results, and reports the donation activity via a public "scorecard" in the cause.
What I love about this application is that it is a natural evolution of social networking. Leveraging real world social networks is an important part of activism, fundraising, and political campaigning. This is especially true of grassroots activism, local-chapter style nonprofit organizations, and the walks/runs used by many charities to raise money. Given all this, it's a bit surprising that online social networks haven't been more aggressively leveraged until now.
I recently received this email from Facebook Causes. I think this new development bring about important and positive changes for the sector. What are your thoughts?
Exciting improvements to your cause are almost here!
You will be able to post bulletins to your members' News Feeds, the first page they see when they sign into Facebook.
Your cause will be searchable in Facebook. Before, your cause was searchable in the Causes application but not the main Facebook search. Not anymore!
Your cause will be featured in the Likes and Interests section of your members' Facebook profiles.
These improvements also mean you can no longer change the name of your cause. Starting September 1st, your cause's name will be permanent. If you want to change it, go to the "Admin Center" of your cause then "Basic Info." * Get started at http://apps.facebook.com/causes/causes/your?m=680e539d
TIP: Popular cause names are often action oriented - Stop Puppy Mills!, Support Arts in the Public Schools, or The Race to End Cancer. Think about what name would get a new person to join your cause if they saw: "Your friend just joined the cause ____."
*Why? When your members link your cause to their Facebook profile, they link to the cause's name. If you were to change the name of the cause, those connections would be lost. Members would have to re-join to be linked to your cause.
What has been your experience with Facebook as an organization? Are you utilizing Causes? If your organization is looking to build it's Facebook or other social networking profiles, contact us.
Mark Buzan is Principal and Chief Magnifier in Action Strategies, a full service Strategic Communications, Public Relations and Public Affairs Consultancy for non-profits and associations.
Make sure to contact Mark for advice on reaching audiences you may or may not have yet considered in your marketing communications and PR campaigns. Drop him a line if you are looking for help in developing a public relations campaign. You can view his website at www.actionstrategies.ca.