It’s Time for Facebook to Become the Google Grants of Social Media

Facebook Ads NonprofitWhenever I speak to Nonprofits (which is something I love to do), I always evangelize the importance of leveraging all of the online technology companies which offer “in-kind” services, especially Google Grants. However, for marketers in today’s world, Google Grants is simply not enough. Identifying with potential donors, volunteers and simple awareness has evolved way beyond the search engines and into our Facebook and Twitter feeds as we all crave instant news, gossip and basic information. In this post, I will discuss not only the steps that have already been taken by Facebook, but also how much more they need to do to fulfill their obligation to assist those organizations in need.

What Facebook needs to Learn from Google

In the early months of 2002, Google relaunched its AdWords platform with a new cost-per-click (CPC) pricing model that made it increasingly more popular and successful with both large and smaller companies. It was this achievement that opened the eyes of both the Google founders and other Google executives, to provide the same opportunity for Nonprofits by giving them free ads on Google.com. In essence, they believed that the Adwords platform would enable non-profits too reach a much larger audience and connect with the people who were searching for information about their specific cause or programs. As you will see below, it has grown by leaps and bounds….

Recent screenshot from the new Google Grants Blog:

 

Why Facebook Doesn’t Understand the Opportunity

After seeing the success of Google grants for the past 13 years, you would think Facebook would have a Nonprofit plan already in place to offer Free advertising to Nonprofits. However, it appears that even though they have made attempts to achieve this, it was simply not enough. According to the great article by AdWeek entitled: “Nonprofits Rely Heavily on Social Media to Raise Awareness“, author Kimberlee Morrison mentions that the social media presence is growing significantly for nonprofits. She goes on to say: “The report shows an increase of 29 percent in Facebook fans across all verticals and a 25 percent increase in Twitter followers. What’s more, there are big increases in sharing and likes from sources outside the follower base, so it would be wise for nonprofits to play to that strength on social sites if their aim is attracting a wider user base.

How Facebook Failed in its First Attempt

Back on November 15, 2015, The Nonprofit Times published an interesting article entitled “$2 Million In Facebook Ads Going To Nonprofits” in which Facebook announced in partnership with ActionSprout, that they will distribute $2 million in Facebook Ads credits during the holiday season. These Facebook Ads credits (up to $1,500 each) will be given out to roughly two-thousand nonprofits. According to author Andy Segedin, he states that …according Drew Bernard, CEO and co-founder. Organizations will receive credit allotments of $600, $900, $1,200 or $1,500 that will be granted from December through February. All applicants will be set up with a free ActionSprout account, Bernard said.

The article goes on to say: “Bernard hopes that the credit giveaway will help organizations post more and better content on Facebook. The company plans to publish key findings based off of the distribution and use of the credits, but will not move forward with any follow-up efforts until information is gathered. “This is a test to see what we can learn, and with what we learn we’ll all go back to the drawing board and see if there’s something we should do next with this”.

If you are interested in hearing more about the “key findings” of this test, your going to have to wait a little while and also give them your email address. (Not very Philanthropic)

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 10.17.19 AM

 

In Conclusion:

If you can tell by my tone, I am somewhat disappointed by Facebook’s lack of initiative with their efforts to help Nonprofits.  In my opinion, they offer a much stronger platform than Google Adwords based on their “intense” targeting as well as their “ripe and persuasive audience”. I am also quite shocked that they could not follow in the footsteps of Google’s 13 years of supporting Nonprofits with their Google Grants Programs. To end insultr to injury, I am also dumbfounded that they not only had to partner with another company but also label their efforts as a test to limited number of Nonprofits for just a couple month. What’s the point of a test, when you know Nonprofits could only benefit from the Free Advertising.

You almost get the sense that this was for the benefit for everyone else, except for the Nonprofit which needs it the most.