An Interview With Facebook’s Libby Leffler: Facebook and Nonprofits | Beth’s Blog

An Interview With Facebook’s Libby Leffler: Facebook and Nonprofits

Conferences, Tips

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity have lunch with Libby Leffler who works on strategic partnerships at Facebook with nonprofits.   If you work in nonprofits and social media, you are likely to be seeing a lot of more of Libby as she will is doing a lot more speaking about Facebook and Nonprofits.   This morning, I attended a meetup for San Francisco Bay Area nonprofits that Libby and her team hosted at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park and next week she will be on the speaker line for the Social Media For Nonprofits Conference on July 26th (you can still register).

I sat down for an interview to learn more about her work at Facebook and tips for nonprofits.

What is your current job at Facebook?

I am a strategic partner manager on Facebook’s platform partnerships team.  I focus on the great work that causes and nonprofits do on our platform to engage with supporters and inspire advocacy.

What are some of the big objectives of Facebook as you work with causes and nonprofits?

Facebook is all about sharing and connecting.  On Facebook, people connect with friends, family, their communities and the issues and causes they care about most.  Causes can be some of most personal things that individuals connect with and represent as part of their identity on Facebook.

Our goal is simple: we want to provide causes and nonprofits with the tools that they need to best utilize our platform.  We work to empower the millions of people and organizations that use Facebook to create high-impact solutions to problems big and small, all over the world.

Our team seeks to highlight the initiatives and interesting integrations that happen every day on Facebook that enable these causes and nonprofit organizations to add a social solution to their overall efforts.  We provide resources to effectively share information about the ways that causes can use the platform to engage with supporters — for example, we produce best practice guides and Facebook live talks that we make available online at our Nonprofit Resource Center.  We have also started hosting local nonprofit meetups in different cities in the US to engage with nonprofit partners.

How long have you worked at Facebook?  You’ve had held different positions at Facebook, share an anecdote about an amazing experience you’ve had.

I joined Facebook in 2008 as a member of our inside sales team.  I worked with a number of different clients, including nonprofit organizations.  It was then that I first worked with partners like (RED) that were just starting to use Facebook to build awareness around their various campaigns and initiatives.

After spending a year on our sales team I took a role as the Business Lead to our Chief Operating Officer and managed public appearances, speaking engagements and various research projects.  In that role, I had the exciting opportunity to staff the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2011 and 2012, which was a hugely eye-opening experience.  In 2012, the themes of inequality and the “forgotten one billion” permeated nearly every discussion about the global community.  I will never forget meeting Leymah Gbowee, the winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize who led the women’s movement resulting in peace in Liberia.  We featured her as a guest on our Facebook Live program at WEF interviewed by New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof.  Watching such a powerful dialogue take place between these two inspiring forces was absolutely surreal.

I understand that you have been making a big effort to reach out to nonprofits at different conferences and have different events, can you tell my readers more about that?

As we focus on the work that happens on Facebook, we know how important it is that we educate organizations on how to best use the tools that we make available.  The top 20 nonprofits on Facebook have, in total, over 25 million people that connect with their Facebook Pages.  I am often asked by these organizations: “what next?”  Our team has found nonprofit conferences to be one of the great places to start the education process.

There are a number of useful conferences that give us a chance to connect with nonprofits and share details on how to best take advantage of the different products on Facebook.  We hosted a roundtable at the 2012 Social Innovation Summit in New York and recently participated on a panel at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago.  There are a number of nonprofit conferences that we will join this year in addition to the social good meetups that we have started to host in different cities.  The kickoff to our meetup series took place at Facebook’s New York office in May 2012.  Last month we hosted a meetup in Chicago in partnership with Points of Light and just this week, we hosted a meetup at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park for San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit organizations.

What are your five tips for nonprofits?  Do you specific user guides for nonprofits?  What is the url?

There are a number of helpful best practices and awesome examples that we share with nonprofits when asked about the best ways to build a supporter base on Facebook.  We have a Facebook Page called “Nonprofits on Facebook” that we have dedicated exclusively to causes and nonprofits that are looking for resources on how to effectively engage with people on the platform.  At Nonprofits on Facebook, we have a Nonprofit Resource Center that offers downloadable best practice guides for causes, quick tips, inspirational “cause spotlights” featuring individuals and organizations, and Facebook 101 Live Talks.  This is definitely our hub for all things cause and nonprofit-related on Facebook.

I mentioned that we have started to host meetups in different cities and that we use those gatherings as opportunities to share some of the most effective best practices for building a presence with Facebook Pages.  The top five “tips and tricks” that I always share for Facebook Pages are:

  1. Find your voice
  2. Create a conversation
  3. Offer exclusive content & programs
  4. Make supporters the stars
  5. Push & pull

In fact, if your readers go to the Nonprofits Resource Center on our Facebook Page, they’ll find a recent Facebook 101 Live Talk I recorded that goes into detail on each of these five tips.

These are small tweaks that make a big difference and they are simple enough to implement today.  By visiting our Nonprofits on Facebook Page and downloading one our resource guide for causes and nonprofits, people can learn more about how to apply these five best practices right away.

What are a couple of nonprofit stories that have used Facebook in an effective and inspiring way?

The work that happens on Facebook every single day is pretty inspiring – it’s amazing what people and organizations can do when they add a social element to their efforts at solving societal challenges big and small.  Simply providing causes and nonprofits with resources and guidance on how to add that social element by using Facebook effectively can lead to very impactful work on our platform without much involvement on our part at all.  JustGiving and BlueCure are two different examples of ways that people and organizations use Facebook to make a difference.

JustGiving is an international charitable donations website headquartered in the UK.  The work that they have done is the perfect example of how sharing with friends can have a big impact when it comes to giving to the causes you care about.  Today, nearly 25% of all charity donations on JustGiving’s website come through individuals that discover JustGiving charity projects on Facebook.  In 2011, friends posting and sharing different projects on Facebook resulted in £22,000,000 in donations to worthwhile charities through JustGiving.  From September 2011 to April 2012, another £925,000 was donated through Facebook just by offering people the opportunity to click “Share” after making a donation.  Earlier this year, JustGiving launched an Open Graph implementation that makes it possible for a donor to publish his or her giving actions back to their Facebook Timeline.  By giving people the ability to share with friends, JustGiving has made it easier for people to make a difference on both a local and global level.

Sometimes it is an individual who is passionate about a particular issue that will be the one to do something really interesting on Facebook.  In 2010, 35 year-old Gabe Canales was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  He took to his personal Facebook profile to share the details of his diagnosis and, almost immediately, saw family and friends rally around him with encouraging words of support.  He was also surprised to see a number of folks asking questions — many of these people had personally survived cancer or were going through their own battle with a different form of cancer.  The flood of response inspired Gabe to launch a Facebook Page that he titled Journey with Prostate Cancer.  Today, the community has grown to more than 7,500 people and has not only served as a support network for Gabe, but has evolved into a hub for all things related to men’s health research, education and treatment.  Gabe’s story is inspiring because he is a real person, like you and me, who took an issue he was passionate about and ended up engaging an entire community.  He turned his Facebook Page into a place where people could participate in an open dialogue about serious topics, putting faces, names and real-life scenarios to formerly anonymous individuals who may have never had the chance to interact.  We think this is pretty cool.

I understand that you are looking for examples of how nonprofits have used the platform to do good in the world.   If nonprofits have stories they want to share, how should connect with you?

We are always looking for great examples of how nonprofit organizations are using the Facebook platform around specific projects.  When folks connect with the Nonprofits on Facebook Page, they can send us a message with some of their favorite examples of individuals and organizations that are doing amazing things.  I always encourage people to please reach out to us through the Page — share great things you are seeing or inspiring ideas and we may highlight them in an upcoming post, case study or cause spotlight.  Examples are the perfect way to show our community just how much they can do on the platform by taking advantage of the tools and products on Facebook.

18 Responses

  1. Alison says:

    Beth, did you ask Libby if Facebook has any plans to offer discounted or free advertising grants to nonprofits (i.e. google grants)?

  2. Beth says:

    I did when we had lunch, she said they were not – they were focusing on providing resources and support.

  3. [...] Lots of good stuff crammed in, including some news in the comments. A highlight for me was this,"The top five “tips and tricks” that I always share for Facebook Pages are:Find your voiceCreate a conversationOffer exclusive content & programsMake supporters the starsPush & pull"Read on for more about Facebook's support for non prophits.  [...]

  4. Ayesha says:

    Hey great interview Beth…..some great takeaways!

  5. Beth says:

    Ayesha: Can’t wait to see you apply with your NGO in Pakistan

  6. [...] A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity have lunch with Libby Leffler who works on strategic partnerships at Facebook with nonprofits.  [...]

  7. [...] Lots of good stuff crammed in, including some news in the comments. A highlight for me was this,"The top five “tips and tricks” that I always share for Facebook Pages are:Find your voiceCreate a conversationOffer exclusive content & programsMake supporters the starsPush & pull"Read on for more about Facebook's support for non prophits.  [...]

  8. [...] A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity have lunch with Libby Leffler who works on strategic partnerships at Facebook with nonprofits.  [...]

  9. Shift says:

    Great insight on Facebook’s ability to go beyond just a social networking sight. As a new start-up for next generation social change, how are some ways to get noticed amidst all of the well-established causes (Ex: JustGiving and BlueCure)?

  10. [...] Lots of good stuff crammed in, including some news in the comments. A highlight for me was this,"The top five “tips and tricks” that I always share for Facebook Pages are:Find your voiceCreate a conversationOffer exclusive content & programsMake supporters the starsPush & pull"Read on for more about Facebook's support for non prophits.  [...]

  11. [...] Beth Kanter, author of several books on nonprofits and social media and recognized by FastCompany as one of the most  influential women in technology in 2009, writes a blog covering a wide range of digital marketing topics for nonprofits. For a good example of some of the information she has to offer, check out this interview with Libby Leffler of  Facebook. [...]

  12. JD Lasica says:

    Great interview, Beth! I hope to meet Libby some day soon, she and Facebook are doing great things for the nonprofit sector.

  13. Beth says:

    JD, btw, Debbie A from Goodwill SF really rocked the house with her talk – gave you a shout out! I went up to her aftewards to tell her how much I loved her talk and she thanked me for referring you to her whenever that was .. I loved the blog squad

  14. JD Lasica says:

    Good to hear! Debbie’s one of my heroes and one of California’s leading lights in the nonprofit sector.

  15. Beth says:

    She sure is!!

  16. [...] Download the full guide here. And, for an inside scoop on Facebook's outreach to nonprofits and causes, read Beth Kanter's blog post on her interview with Libby Leffler of Facebook. [...]

  17. [...] Lots of good stuff crammed in, including some news in the comments. A highlight for me was this,"The top five “tips and tricks” that I always share for Facebook Pages are:Find your voiceCreate a conversationOffer exclusive content & programsMake supporters the starsPush & pull"Read on for more about Facebook's support for non prophits.  [...]

  18. [...] Kanter brings us An Interview With Facebook’s Libby Leffler: Facebook and Nonprofits. And also Strategic Spontaneity: How the Humane Society Got 21,000 Shares of Campaign Message on [...]