How Networked Nonprofits Use Facebook | Beth's Blog

How Networked Nonprofits Use Facebook

Measurement, Networked Nonprofit

View more presentations from Beth Kanter.

One of the very first bloggers I started reading and having conversations with about social media was Alan Levine (aka CogDog Blog).     Over the years, we have supported each other’s professional work and personal fundraisers before ever meeting in person.   Last year, Alan invited me to keynote the New Media Consortium‘s virtual conference to talk about the future of social and nonprofits.  It was my most memorable virtual presentation as my avatar was June Jetson and I made a flying entrance into the auditorium to the tune of  the Jetson’s theme song.

This year, Alan invited me to present a webinar for participants in the Marcus Institute Digital Education for the Arts on how Networked Nonprofits use Facebook.  This was a fun opportunity to pull together some of my Facebook action learning curriculum and summarize much of the wisdom being shared over on at my Facebook Page.  And, of course, to revisit my Cute Dog Theory and see how it applies to Networked Nonprofits.

This post reflections on the training design as well as my content notes.

Social Learning In Webinars

I’ve been exploring how to integrate social media into instruction at face-to-face workshops and as well as webinars.  The concept of before, during, and after is an important way to plot out your instruction,  getting a good understanding of the audience, and modeling.

Before the session,   I spent some time reviewing Museum Facebook Pages – luckily the MIDEA project has them organized into this handy list.  My goal was to find examples of some if the concepts I was going to share from the group itself.    This helps spark peer conversations and indeed a quick check of the chat transcript shows it to be case.

I had hoped to find a good example of a museum or an arts organization with a custom landing tab.  I struck out.   So, I posted a request on my Facebook Page and participants offered up some great examples.    If you want to encourage social learning through social media, you have to model the model.  So, I shared with participants how I discovered relevant examples.

Having the traces of the discussion unfold via social media channels is important both during the event as well as after the event for learning capture.   I set up a wiki page that includes my slides, a link to a rowfeeder spreadsheet for the hashtag (#midea), and the archived recording of the session.

The MIDEA Institute has a nice model of networked learning that allows for a larger network of people with “looser ties”  to join while the smaller group of Institute members can continue the peer learning conversations.     The content presented in Webinars by “experts” will help leverage these conversations through “Round Ups.”   The conversations between institute participants are happening across social media channels – I imagine the role of a network weaver here will be vital to the learning.   I’ll look forward to read any reflections from Alan on how this worked.


I gave a quick overview of the  Networked Nonprofit and how the concepts in the book relate to museums.     I covered the following points with lots of examples from museums as well as pointers to some of the best thinking on Facebook best practices.

  • Networked Nonprofits that use Facebook effectively have a social culture that allows them to scale to have everyone using Facebook.

Networked Nonprofits or museum have leaders that aren’t afraid to deconstruct their fear of letting go or being transparent.  That make having everyone on Facebook a culture norm through professional development and learning for everyone on staff.    They have codified a social culture and make it easy for other departments to have a presence and to empower all  stakeholders to spread the organization’s mission on social networks.   They also understand how to leverage and work with free agents or groups that may create “unofficial pages.”

  • Networked Nonprofits know how to listen, engage, and build relationships on Facebook that allow them to reach their goals.

Aliza Sherman's "Birth of A Superfan" as it applies to Facebook and Museums

They  scan for conversations about their museums on Facebook, but more importantly use tools like NutshellMail to monitor and join in conversations happening on their wall.  Their status updates are not all about them or always asking their stakeholders to do something.    And, they take the time to get to know their fans and transform them into brand ambassadors.

Based on Aliza Sherman's "How To Know A Good Fan"

  • Networked Nonprofits know how to use simplicity to do more with less.

They have made the mindshift from scarcity to the abundance that networks offer and know how leverage their networks.    They make use of Facebook tagging feature in wall posts and have encouraged other users and fan pages with similar audiences to do the same – they don’t see it as a competition.

  • Networked Nonprofits have articulated SMART objectives and a target audience for their Facebook page.

Networked Nonprofits know exactly what they want to accomplish on Facebook and who they want to target.   This helps them easily understand whether they need one Facebook page or several or how to rebrand a single page for different campaigns.  They also know how to make use of a customized landing tab – articulating value at a glance and a call to action that ladders up to the objective.  Take for example the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland or Yerba Buena Center.

Right now it is fairly easy to create a custom landing tab using FBML and tools like Pagemodo,  Facebook recently announced that it will no longer support new installations for FBML for custom landing tabs (although existing installations will be supported).

  • Networked Nonprofits have a solid and aligned content strategy for Facebook and other channels where they link, distribute and co-create.

Networked Nonprofits know how to creatively give themselves some link love on Facebook.  They have a carefully crafted content plan to cross distribute content via Facebook, email channels, and on the web that takes into account frequency, style, and format.    The Metropolitan Museum of Art “Art of the Day” on Facebook and Web site is an excellent example.   Their content creation strategy also includes opportunities for their fans to co-create content with them.

  • Networked Nonprofits practice deep engagement techniques on Facebook.

They ask their fans their opinions, test their knowledge, pair promotions w/content, and say thank you. Here’s some examples and tips.  They use fun conversation starters.  Engagement conversations revolve around getting people to look and discuss the art or may encourage them to participate in a gallery activity inside the museum.  They run contests, but they are sure to follow Facebook Guidelines. ( See these two posts for more explanation.)

  • Networked Nonprofits promote their Facebook presence through all channels.

Whether it is texting or promoting offline,  they experiment with many ways to increase their fan base.

  • Network Nonprofits use measurement to learn and improve their Facebook strategy and presence.

They use an approach called Spreadsheet Aerobics.

How else do Networked Nonprofits use Facebook?

Additional resources

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7 Responses

  1. Tu Tropiano says:

    Hey… It looks like there’s a problem with the with the layout of the page. For some reason the text block overlaps the edge. I don’t know if it’s just me or have other people mentioned this? Just wanted to let you know in case you’ve been in the past couple of days. Thanks! Tu Tropiano

  2. Beth says:

    Thanks, I’m not seeing this .. I’ll check with my blog designer

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  4. […] Ford is doing is a great test case for a permanent nationwide campaign to support non-profits (hint, hint, Ford) and a wake up call to other brands and the advertising industry that purpose […]

  5. […] How Nonprofits Use Facebook – Beth Kanter details Facebook example based on presentation she made. Uses museum example. […]

  6. […] How Networked Nonprofits Use Facebook – Beth Kanter details Facebook example based on presentation she made. Uses museum example. […]

  7. I think it looks like there’s a problem with the with the layout of the page. you should check it out.