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021 – How to Measure Your Non-Profit’s Success on Facebook: The Metrics That Matter!

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Non-profit communicators and marketers have been using social media for years to grow their organizations’ audiences and volunteers, increase donations and even spread their missions.

In this podcast episode, David will be exploring how, as a non-profit communicator, you can use social media to improve your outreach efforts.

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So you use social media every day, but don’t know if it’s worth all the time? Well, you’re not alone. It’s hard to know what social media success looks like.

Non-profit communicators and marketers have been using social media for years to grow their organizations’ audiences and volunteers, increase donations and even spread their missions. In this podcast episode, I’ll be exploring how, as a non-profit communicator, you can use social media to improve your outreach efforts.

The Importance of Social Media

Despite how easily accessible social media is these days, most organizations don’t use social media. By adding a new member to an organization’s team, you’re welcoming a new social media contact. It may take some time to set up a Facebook profile, ask for permission to access a user’s followers, and publish messages to a stream of followers. By using social media as a means of marketing and outreach, you’ll be able to create a real-time dialogue with your audience on your website, on Facebook, and on Twitter. Using social media to communicate with people is the backbone of a vibrant and growing community. The metrics that matter when you use social media are the metrics that matter when you market your organization.

To date, over 500 million people are on Facebook, along with 100 million people on Twitter, and nearly 2 billion on Instagram. Today, there are so many places to communicate that many people don’t realize the value they are missing by neglecting social media. While the emphasis for most nonprofits is on email and phone campaigns, many still consider Facebook to be a second or third choice for communication. As a nonprofit organization, you want your voice to reach the widest audience possible, and Facebook is a valuable resource for that. You can reach all types of people through Facebook and allow them to get involved in your causes. As social media evolves, social media tools offer nonprofits more ways to do that.

The use of social media is growing every year. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, 78% of the world’s population is on Facebook and that figure is steadily increasing.

Social media has become a way to quickly communicate with people you don’t know.

You don’t have to leave the comforts of your home to communicate with a stranger. You can reach people you may never have a chance to meet.

In the non-profit sector, social media is a critical tool for connecting with supporters, volunteers, and donors.

Social media allows non-profits to more efficiently connect with an audience and disseminate their messages to potential supporters.

Why am I looking at Facebook for this podcast?

When it comes to social media for non-profits, Facebook is often overlooked as a great platform for social good. Although Facebook was not originally created with social good in mind, it is an essential part of non-profit communications. In fact, Facebook is the second-most popular social network among nonprofit organizations. As such, it plays a crucial role in the lives of the nonprofit world, and Facebook communication efforts are worth exploring.

According to a study by Facebook, 46% of non-profits’ followers came from Facebook. You’re wondering if you’re doing enough to reach these numbers. The answer is no, definitely not. Social media is not only a more efficient way to reach the right people at the right time but also the best way to grow the reach and diversity of your audience.

What Is a Metric?

A metric is a method for evaluating an activity.

At the heart of social media metrics is a user’s “engagement” with the post, as in the number of people who respond, comment, or “like” it.

As an example, if we want to evaluate the health of an animal, we might measure their weight or length. We do that to know if the animal is getting sick and if we need to take care of them. We might consider taking this approach with your nonprofit’s outreach effort as well. Here’s a quick example: What’s the goal of your nonprofit? How many volunteers do you have? How many dollars do you raise? Are you using the right tool for the job? Are you reaching the right people? What is the number one thing your nonprofit does that makes you successful? In order to make sense of those questions, you need to have metrics for evidence.

Metrics can also be categorized by “time”, meaning whether they’re relative or absolute. Time metrics are often relative, meaning the engagement in the metric is influenced by the time the post was made, meaning it’s affected by when it was created, and the number of people who saw the post. Absolute metrics, on the other hand, are the number of likes, comments, and shares; such as the number of friends who shared a post or the number of times a post was viewed.

How to Measure Your Non-Profit’s Success on Facebook

Social media posts made daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly by your organization don’t necessarily translate to social media success. A social media monitoring tool like Canvs Social will allow you to look at your posts, followers, and metrics in real time. Canvs will give you a more detailed understanding of the people who are viewing your content, and the kind of conversations they’re having about your content.

What Makes a Good Metric?

Honestly, it all depends on what your goal is for the platform.

From our experience with our non-profit clients, we recommend the following:

  1. For a quick win, include a Facebook page donate button. Then you can track fundraising efforts.
  2. Number of followers
  3. Active users
  4. If you have a group, the number of people in the group
  5. Number of messages received
  6. Number of comments on posts
  7. Number of shares from posts
  8. Received likes on posts

Platforms like Hootsuite and Salesforce Interaction Studio offer a suite of statistics to measure success with a social media campaign. But to use those sites effectively, you must know what metrics to look at and what’s important for your campaign.

The easier it is to communicate with your audience, the more times they’re likely to engage. This means that in order to know if your Facebook posts are engaging your audience, you must track their replies.

Most non-profits struggle with budget, and for those who can’t afford a tracking platform, we recommend just setting up a simple spreadsheet. If you’re low on time, just dedicate 20-minutes a month to fill in the spreadsheet. Over time, you can create charts with the data, and include them in reports to executive and the Board of Directors, or just to simply give yourself a pat on the back.

The more frequent you post content, the more people you reach.

Reach metrics

First, here are two of the most commonly used. There are other metrics, but these are common and a great starting point for measuring your non-profit’s reach.

Follower count

How many followers do your posts get? Typically, you get one follower for each Facebook page you create. There’s no denying that this metric isn’t very helpful, especially when Facebook is now closing in on 800 million active users! You might want to consider having a separate Facebook page for each organization you’re currently working with. Engagement rate

Engagement rate is the percentage of people who’ve looked at your post and left a comment on your post. If your page has 2,500 likes, then each time one of your posts gets two comments, that’s an engagement rate of 1 percent.

Engagement metrics

Speaking of engagement, here are some very specific questions that you should think about when determining the metrics you want to track:

  1. Are your Facebook fans engaging with your content?
  2. Do you have a follow button?
  3. Have you gained followers quickly?
  4. Are your posts on target?
  5. Are your posts popular?
  6. Are your posts engaging?
  7. Are your posts engaging to your core target audience?
  8. Are you reaching your intended audiences?
  9. Do you have follow-up on your posts?
  10. Do you have a certain number of shares?
  11. Do your posts translate to visitors?
  12. Are your posts responsive?

And with regards to amplification…

  1. Are your posts performing well on Facebook?
  2. How many shares do you have?
  3. Do you have a sense of who is engaged with your content?
  4. Is there engagement happening on your Facebook pages?
  5. Do you have posts that are shared through other channels?
  6. Are your posts engaging to your core audience?
  7. Are your posts shareable?

Social sharing metrics

And with regards to sharing, there are dozens of metrics, but not all of them are essential – here are some that you should be tracking, and it’s relatively quick to do.

Metrics like how often you post and how many shares you receive.

The number of likes you receive can be helpful when deciding how often you should post on Facebook, and over time help you determine the type of content that gets shared by catering to the type of content that’s popular.

Social sharing is one of the best ways to gather engaged online followers, helping your organization to build awareness and ultimately increase donations. Social shares are also good at measuring the awareness of your page.

Donation metrics

One of the more common metrics nonprofits measure is how well social media drives donations. As I mentioned before, take advantage of the Facebook donate button OR build a landing page specifically to drive people to on your website when they click through your Facebook post.

The psychology of giving says that people give more when there’s something specific they’re donating towards. For example, if you were a hospital, asking for a donation to help get more ICU beds or if you’re a homeless shelter, asking for a donation to provide more meals. Both are better than just a general fundraising campaign.

Another option is to track Facebook referrals, like when someone shares a post. Sometimes, if there’s a post on your page that people really like, people will share it with others and give you a referral in the process. That said, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll see a 1:1 correlation between someone who bought a product or made a donation to your organization and someone who saw your post or ad and shared it.

The quickest Facebook win you can make

Encourage your staff, executive, and board of directors to engage on Facebook – even if it’s just a simple share or like. After all, they have a direct connection with your organization and care about it. If you get just a handful of extra shares or likes, that will help your message spread further as it will show in their feed and to their connections.

Looking for extra tips?

  • Consider posting your email marketing campaigns
  • Share regularly
  • Share at different times of the day and different days of the week to track the timing that engages the most
  • Add events to your Facebook page
  • Use multimedia posts like videos and photos
  • Consider converting posts on your website to shareable videos, we do this for a number of our clients
  • And most importantly, use clear CTAs (calls-to-action) so you can have your audience take the next step that you want them to


Social media can be a really useful tool in a nonprofit’s marketing arsenal. Understanding social media success is a really important thing for nonprofits. In this episode, I discussed a number of metrics your nonprofit can use to measure success on Facebook.

Keep in mind, these metrics are not gospel. The number one way to increase your Facebook’s reach and engagement isn’t to become a better writer for your Facebook game, it’s to build an audience around your mission. Stay true to your mission, and keep working towards moving the bar higher.

Use metrics to increase the reach of your Facebook posts and improve your chances of gaining new donors and volunteers.

What metrics should you use to measure your nonprofit’s Facebook success? Head over to our episode page at wowdigital.com/021 and let me know in the comments.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and I’m looking forward to having you listen to the next ones that we’ve got coming up. If you’ve enjoyed this episode please leave feedback on iTunes or wherever you listen to this podcast, I’d love to hear your feedback and it would also help others find the show.

Be sure to check out the show notes for the episode, head over to wowdigital.com, click on podcast, and search for this episode number and you’ll find all the links, details, and other information that has been discussed in this episode.

Are there any other topics that you would like to hear about? Just send an email to [email protected]. Thanks for listening to the Non-profit Digital Success Podcast!

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