Editor’s note: Daniel Buckley is Sr. Online Communications Manager at the Food Bank For New York City. As an early adopter of social media tools for the food bank, Daniel has always been glad to utilize their communications resources to help out others in the online hunger community. So we’re more than happy to help spread the word of their good work here.
By Daniel Buckley
Some of you likely remember the days when nonprofit organizations realized that if they did not yet have a website they would not look serious or professional. I think that we’ve gotten to the point now where organizations need a Facebook page to project a fully formed professional image.
According to Social Media Today, 41.6% of Americans had a Facebook account as of August 2010. You may have thousands or tens of thousands of email subscribers and website visitors, but even though these are active supporters of your organization, getting all those supporters with Facebook accounts to become your fan can be a challenge. And getting those supporters to suggest you to their friends is a huge ask for many.
But as our recent experience at the Food Bank For New York City shows, it can also be easy. The answer is simple, and not surprising. For us, the difference was FedEx. This February, for each new fan the Food Bank receives, FedEx is donating 5 meals – and will keep on donating until we have made 5,000 new fans. The enthusiasm we have seen so far from our supporters is simply incredible – in just the first 24 hours of the campaign, we made 3,500 new fans! And judging by the enthusiastic responses we see on our wall and on Twitter, our new supporters feel great about the difference they were able to make with a couple quick clicks.
Even with a relatively small number of fans, Facebook will likely appear as a significant source of referrals to your website and is a great way to turn individuals into ambassadors for your cause while keeping a high number of supporters informed on news and opportunities to make a difference. For us, the value of this community is clear and the investment of resources to build it is clearly worth the end.
We still need some help to reach our final goal of 5,000 new fans (we will have met our goal when we have 6,500 fans in total) – please “like” us today and pass the message on with a link on Facebook or a tweet! Do you have success stories about building online communities? Share them in the comments!