It’s no secret that both for-profit and nonprofit companies should have a presence on Facebook if that is where their consumers are hanging out. For-profit companies don’t usually struggle with this, they usually shoot straight for the Fan page, which is the wisest option. But nonprofits especially struggle with whether to set up a Fan page, a group or a Cause page on Facebook. Sometimes they set up all three and that’s a mistake. Yet, who can blame them. It’s not crystal clear on what you get with one over the other. The donations aspect of a Cause page makes that super appealing, while the potential reach of a Fan page makes it so sexy that you can’t resist.
My advice? So glad you asked. I think it doesn’t harm nonprofits to set up a Cause page but that wouldn’t be my first or only choice. Nonprofits should set up a Fan page because they are so much more flexible than Groups or Cause pages. In addition, I think Groups can be used but not as your only presence. For example, if you have a mentorship program or a volunteer/advocate program that occurs once or twice a year, you may want those folks to be gathered in a specific group so that they can exchange ideas, network and learn from each other. The purpose of groups is that they have the ability to be exclusive so you can have private conversations that the rest of the world doesn’t have to see. You could even use it as an employee/board/staff group. Although that would require everyone to be on Facebook, not the most practical and a sever shift in thinking for some nonprofits.
Here’s a break down of Facebook Fan page, Group page and Cause page. See where you can make the biggest impact with little time. Keep in mind that Fan pages require regular updates and maintenance and if you don’t have the time to do that right now, then start off with a Cause page or an internal/private group page and see how it goes from there.
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