Facebook, MySpace and Nonprofits

September 23, 2008 at 5:26 pm 7 comments


Finding long a lost love? Contacting friends you’ve lost touch with? Facebook is certainly phenomenal at these things. It sometimes seems as though Facebook has so many users, that it has become a type of internet phone book… In fact, that’s just what Toronto Public Health officials decided to use it for when they needed to contact someone urgently: in this case, a woman who needed to be told to get a rabies shot after coming in contact with a rabid bat.

While your organization may not be in just such a situation you, too, can leverage the power of Facebook and to help with your needs. The nature of Facebook is entirely viral, and users can garner information immediately from their friends activity and interactions. (For instance, when someone joins your group or plans to an event, this activity is listed in their News Feed, which exposes the message to all their friends!)

As a NonProfit, Facebook allows you to:

  • Create a group (like Support Monks in Burma) and thus establish a database of supporters – or a Fan Page.
  • Enable others to spread your message easily (e.g. The Causes Application – like the one to Support Breast Cancer Research)
  • Keep your supporters apprised of events (meeting, protests etc.) (Facebook even has a great feature where people can post an event straight into their Outlook or other calender)
  • Post links/Articles of interest/Blog Posts
  • Encourage people to take action (sign petition, donate etc.)
  • Gain Supporters & Get to Know them Better

Supporters can

  • Join you
  • Spread your message around – people can “Share” postings, events etc. and invite others to events and – as mentioned above, simply by adding your group, cause or by deciding to attend an event, the word is spread to others
  • Be kept in the loop

For More Great Resources about Facebook check out my delicious links marked (“PowertoYou”+”Facebook”)


If you’ve been the victim of a epileptic seizures brought on by the viewing a MySpace profile page, you might still be a bit shell-shocked. As a Non-Profit, you might also believe the site is predominantly for teeny-boppers or that it has worn out its welcome. However, although Facebook is catching up to MySpace, MySpace still dominates in the US and has as many unique monthly worldwide visitors as Facebook (a staggering 115 million people). MySpace profiles can have a tremendous impact on your Nonprofits momentum if used effectively. In fact, you may not know that it has the power to save lives: a recent MSNBC segment profiled a MySpace page which helps youth suffering from depression and isolation.

What can it help a nonprofit do:

  • Gain supporters
  • Allow you to get to know your supporters better
  • Encourage supporters to take action (sign petition, donate etc.)
  • Help them spread your message easily (via the use of Badges or Stickers whose code they can ad to their own profile)
  • Keep them apprised of events or “issue alerts” – as bulletins
  • Have another presence on the web/a type of interactive brochure: containing your video, blog posts, pictures etc.

Supporters can

  • Join you
  • Spread your message around (E.g. site badges or stickers allow others to help promote campaigns)
  • Be kept in the loop

Examples of Nonprofit MySpace Pages:

Increase Your Exposure on MySpace with:

Some MySpace Specific Tips

  • “On your MySpace page, ask friends to take specific actions such as “link to our Web site,” “subscribe to our e-newsletter,” “tell a friend about our current campaign,” “contact us to learn about,” and so on.”
  • “Don’t make the mistake of staying within your own circle of like-minded organizations. When you add friends, consider reaching out to folks outside of your circle. In particular, nonprofits could reach out (via MySpace) to for-profit companies with strong social responsibility programs that can help spread the word about their causes.” (What are other groups that could help you out?)
  • “Don’t “Add” a song to your organization’s MySpace profile” (It’s so very annoying)
  • “Use MySpace to drive your friends to other social networking sites” (Where else are you? see below for ones that make it clear)
  • “Don’t set your age to be 13-17 years old”> (Does not show up in searches)

General Suggestions

As with all social sites, you must take the time to:

  • update frequently
  • participate and engage
  • monitor (for adult content posted or very offensive comments)

Remember to have a hub where you display all your social networks – so people can find you on all social sites easily A Quick Reminder About Integration/Cross Platform. Here are just a few examples of Nonprofits making this clear:

More Great Resources

And on my delicious (“Powertoyou”+”MySpace”


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My Related Posts:

Nonprofits and Social Media – Getting Your Fans to Help You

Flickr and Nonprofits

YouTube and Nonprofits

Twitter and Nonprofits

More NonProfit Social Media Ideas


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