How to beat Facebook’s new algorithm

Facebook is feeling a bit of heat lately (understatement of the year?). But even with all of talk of #deletefacebook and reports of declining usage, the truth is the vast majority of people are still on it and using it very regularly.

Many of those people will be your donors.

Facebook’s new algorithm is throwing up new challenges to lots of nonprofits (especially those without the luxury of having big budgets for advertising).

M+R posted a great update about how the new algorithm seems to be working.

The main takeaway: The only way to beat the algorithm (without paying) is to post actually engaging content. 

It’s actually really easy to figure out how engaging your content is, too – thanks to their nifty calculation:

Jump into M+R’s article and check out the Clap, Talk, and Share scores for more specific engagement measurements.

M+R’s April benchmarks study will have the baseline Facebook engagement score for nonprofits – luckily that’s not too many sleeps from now.

You can get a pretty good idea of what’s resonating with people (and what might work on social media) by tracking the right metrics and following best practices.

But yeah, I highly recommend you check out M+R’s blog post for more on this.

 

P.S. If you’re a Firefox user, you can now use this extension to prevent Facebook from following you around the web.

#IFC2017: best conference ever?

Just got back from the effing awesome #IFC2017 fundraising conference. If you get the chance, get that in your professional development plan (or if your org has no budget, you can volunteer too).

Here are some of my key takeaways that are applicable to all of us:

With technology, power dynamics are changing

Jeremy Heimans talked about the old power vs new power dynamic in the opening keynote, and that set the tone for the whole conference. It’s worth a watch.

We’re not structuring our organisations for success

Some of the organisations who have had the biggest impact recently have been structured to:

  • Be flexible
  • Empower BIG change by asking people to do something big in exchange for something big
  • Empower change agents within your organisations (and if you’re a manager, run defence for them!)
  • Be OK with not taking the credit for the victory
  • Offer value beyond data collection and being someone’s direct debit

I feel like people are underestimating digital

Power dynamics are definitely changing, and it’s more clear than ever that flexible organisations with a culture of taking risks are taking advantage of key moments when they matter. Take ACLU – when was the last time someone raised $42 million in a single weekend through DM*?

They had all of their ducks in a row (culturally and technically) to take advantage of some of the world’s biggest fundraising and activism moments. All they needed to do was be prepared.

Any of our organisations can be taking advantage of key moments like the ACLU (or countless other US-orgs have done).

Through the sheer number of people at Paul de Gregorio and Jo Wolfe’s mobile session, there’s also clearly still a mental separation between mobile and digital (and as Paul said, digital = mobile, mobile = digital). We’ve gotta rethink this stuff.

*Just as a total side note, the only people I’ve ever heard saying “direct mail is dead” are consultants complaining that people are saying “direct mail is dead”. Direct mail is very much alive, it just serves a different role.

Good fundraising is good fundraising

The core elements of what makes a great fundraising offer don’t change, no matter what the medium. Whether you’re talking itch & scratch; fluff & bite, or the Four Whys, it all comes down to making a credible offer to the right person at the right time.

I disagree with Tom Ahern

Shit, I’m going to stick my neck out here and say I disagree with something Tom Ahern said. He said there are no best practices in digital – that’s not true. The single best practice in online fundraising: test everything. I’m going to write a post about that soon.

Facebook fundraising is in Europe

Facebook fundraising has already started changing the game in the US – this is pretty exciting.

The donation process is totally smooth, especially on my phone. It’s what we should all be aiming for with our donation pages – absolutely frictionless.

I’ve heard lots of pros and cons about Facebook’s fundraising feature (the cons are mostly around processing fees and data transferred), but I’d consider you to seriously investigate it – especially if you’re a smaller org with an engaged Facebook presence.

Find out more here.