How the Facebook Newsfeed will Affect the Nonprofit Industry

04 Apr 2018

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced a major change to the company’s news feed that will histrionically impact how individuals interact on the social network. Facebook’s news feed will contain fewer news articles, marketing content, and ads in order to fulfill the company’s 2018 ‘focus areas.’ Zuckerberg felt public content from businesses, brands, and media had removed the user’s ability to experience personal moments and effectively connect with others. In an attempt to spur more meaningful interactions, users will now be exposed to more videos and photo posts from their friends, family, and the local community. After the long struggle Facebook had endured in trying to satisfy both users and marketers, it is shocking that the company, which has become one of the world’s top distributers for both news and online ads, ultimately sided with the users. Facebook’s rational was based upon user feedback stating the decreased user engagement over the past 24 months was primarily due to the increasing and overcrowding ad volume that was drowning ‘organic’ posts from taking place.

Though this will impact businesses in general, this change will particularly influence nonprofits that often lack the capital to hire a devoted social media professional. The previous algorithm allowed 45% of Facebook users to be exposed to a nonprofit’s post even if they were not followers of the organization. The current 1.5 million nonprofits utilizing Facebook rely on the social media platform to amplify awareness and promote the organization’s mission and services provided. Nonprofit organizations are already at risk in losing donations from donors, due to the recent passing of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) by congress, and many fear this updated news feed could potentially reduce their revenue stream even further. Hannah Orenstein, Digital Manager at the Malala Fund, worries how the changed newsfeed will directly impact her nonprofit’s ability to achieve its mission, as their largest social media following is on Facebook. The Malala Fund is a nonprofit entity that Facebook flaunts as being one of the success stories stemming from its nonprofit recruitment efforts.

Though there seems to always be resistant to change at first, it is imperative to be aware of the budding opportunities for those who seek to adapt and strive. Nonprofits have meaningful interactions with individuals every day and those that can find a way to have these type of interactions translate to Facebook will find success with the updated feed. Organizations can adjust their social media strategy to not post unreceptive posts, but rather share individual success stories and focus on engaging users through comments and groups. Though some organizations have previously been able to succeed by merely blasting out posts, nonprofits will now have to more carefully articulate their postings and evaluate their feedback as to which obtain the most hits, likes, and shares.

A few key methods to improve your organizations “Facebook Strategy” for 2018 include: stop posting passive content, inspire meaningful conversations and start a blog, invest in Facebook ads, and broadcast with Facebook Live. Posting links to articles and videos do not result in users commenting or sharing, instead, one should focus on expressive and meaningful posts. The post can propose a question to the users seeking their advice and recommendations that will organically produce a more meaningful conversation and generate more traffic to the organizations page. For those organizations without a Facebook ad budget, it is vital to reconsider, as nearly all successful nonprofits on Facebook utilize ads to surge page posts, develop their email list, and fundraise. Live video has become the leading choice of content used on Facebook, receiving more than six times the views when compared to videos and pictures combined. Once users join the broadcast and begin commenting, their friends are notified of the live broadcast. Overall, the news feed transformation necessitates nonprofit organizations to craft an improved digital media strategy by wholly understanding their Facebook audience and spur natural conversations in order to successfully continue having their mission reach prospective donors.


This article was also featured in our newsletter NFP Advisor Vol. 17