There is an intense digital boxing match going on right now.

In one corner, we’ve got Facebook – the behemoth, social heavyweight champion of the world. He’s got a mean right hook called EdgeRank.

In the other corner, we’ve got nonprofits – the small but mighty collection of do-gooders just trying to make it to the next round.

It’s ugly.

For deeper context, others have already covered ground on this topic and provided good insights around this new state of reality for nonprofits trying to utilize Facebook as a community building / brand awareness / donor advocacy channel.

Where Do We Go From Here?

New reality has struck. If you want a brand presence on Facebook AND you want to get your content in front of your existing fan base and target audience, you need to pay for Facebook ads to drive strong results. Facebook regularly states that the crux of organic reach lies in creating great content. This is true but the starting bar has been raised even higher as average organic reach shrinks lower and lower. Facebook’s value has been paramount for nonprofits since the platform opened up to the public. It’s a free channel and a logical space to build dialogue and community. This much will not change for the immediate future.

And so I ask…

Would a Facebook nonprofit program (similar to what YouTube ignited many years ago) be out of the question?

Nonprofits would apply to be verified and granted a higher guaranteed organic reach (possibly even if only during certain periods of the day). Likewise, the program could offer a bank of monthly funds (within reason) for nonprofits to use on promoted posts at their discretion. Facebook could also offer monthly consultation, free webinars, etc. specific to it’s program participants that fuels best practice learnings and marketing tips for the community (beyond this effort with way more structure and attention). It seems like a simple decision for a company that thrives off data and user interaction.

Stemming even deeper, one must ask…what about artists, and musicians, and others that fuel so much of the great content on Facebook and yet are not able to afford the burgeoning pay-to-play model to connect with fans? The lines become blurry fast but the challenge ahead is obvious for Facebook to get their heads together and figure out a plan. There is speculation that they are in fact responding to the organic reach issue. Regardless, starting with a well structured and simple nonprofit program seems like a great starting point to get the platform back on track and of proven value for those that rely so heavily on the channel as a connection point to impactful communications and change.

What do you think?

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About Scott Meis

SVP, Digital Content Strategy @ Weber Shandwick Seattle. Outdoors. Adventure. Travel. I dig the Foto.

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Nonprofits, Social Media

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