Please Do Not Create a Facebook Page for Your Personal Ministry

Brian Barela

This is for ministry leaders that must raise funds for their individual ministry, not for corporate or ministry fundraisers. Different rules apply.

Facebook most likely contains the largest percentage of people who support your ministry financially (compared to Twitter or Google+). But remember they joined Facebook to connect primarily with people.

Although many brands and organizations are making an impact on Facebook, 99.9% of the individual fundraisers who start Facebook pages experience below average and even negative returns on their investment.

Here’s why:

You are more interesting to your donors than your ministry. We are all trying to change the world and stepping out in faith, but most updates shared on Facebook pages such as these are prayer requests that are not that significant and come across as urgent, duplicates of other communications, and invitations to view communications that most donors have already seen somewhere else.

You cannot scale to a significant number of fans. Many of the pages I observe had under 50 fans, and most have around 20-30. Why go through the work to set up a facebook page, fill it with information you have already sent somewhere else, and send to only a select group of people that have already been communicated with elsewhere?

1/500 updates on average from a page makes it to the newsfeed of those who like the page. That’s most likely a significantly lower percentage than your email or direct mail open rate.

90% of people who like a page never return to it, and only view updates through their newsfeed. A facebook page is NOT a website! It appears similar but Facebook runs on the newsfeed. The goal of every savvy Facebook marketer is to get their content interacted with and shared on the newsfeed.

Instead Use Your Profile and a List to Communicate with Your Donors on Facebook

The more effective alternative is to use your profile and create a list of your donors to send updates. Your donors will receive these communications more personally, and you will not have to do the extra work of maintaining two places on Facebook.

When you share updates with your donors consider using 80% photos. Photos are the currency of Facebook, and will get more likes and comments than text or video. Although video has the potential to be more engaging, it’s a longer time commitment and most people scan their newsfeed. Also photos rarely come across as spammy, so you can send up to one every other day and not overwhelm or annoy people.

The goal of using Facebook is to personally interact with your donors. Try to think about likes and comments as metrics for success, not downloads or pageviews.

By Brian Barela | Posted: Nov 22, 2011
Category: Fundraising, Social Media | Permalink | Post a comment | Trackback URL.

9 Comments


  1. Scott B
    November 22, 2011, 10:36 am | Permalink

    thanks for posting this Brian, I’m one of those with about 20 fans, but have never put much time into the page. I’ve had similar thoughts to what you shared but always wondered if I was missing something. Now I think I might just take it down, or at least stay with my current plan of giving it zero time.

    Reply
  2. November 22, 2011, 12:00 pm | Permalink

    scott i think most of us would have a page of 20 fans if we started one–i created a list of my supporters on fb and i believe it’s around 20, 30 at most.

    i think for what many staff are trying to do on fb using mailchimp/email is probably the best bet.

    Reply
  3. November 22, 2011, 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I can’t really argue about what the normal experience is for people with pages. I know mine is at 88 people right now. It would be more, I had a couple hundred when it was a group but facebook changed the way groups work and I’ve been working at slowly getting people to move over.

    I see the page as a plus for a few reasons. I get metrics on readership, I don’t have to manage a list and then coordinate managing that list with my wife (this overhead would be huge – we share many friends that are supporters but not all) and we have page fans that are not friends.

    The amount of work that goes into having and updating a page is trivial and I don’t think it hurts. To me it’s just one more way to communicate.

    Reply
    • November 22, 2011, 2:18 pm | Permalink

      sounds like you are using it well. i do wonder if you would get even higher engagement posting those updates from your profile.

      i get the value of people liking the page that aren’t friends–what percentage of fans would you estimate fit into this category?

      one thought i would add based on # of fans–to me this number isn’t as important as how many fans on average interact in some way with the content that is shared.

      if an individual or brand has 5,000 fans but zero likes and comments per story posted then i’m not sure how valuable those fans are, and if it’s worth putting any time in updating the page.

      Reply
  4. November 26, 2011, 8:16 am | Permalink

    Like JR, I had a little better success with a Facebook group, but you are correct, I get much better interaction with my donors via the main New Feed and with my MailChimp newsletters.

    I have reached the same conclusion you have. I’m now focusing my efforts on MailChimp and smaller lists of people in Facebook.

    Reply
  5. November 29, 2011, 11:23 am | Permalink

    I use a Fan Page in Facebook and we have about 70 “fans.” My opinion is similar to JR’s: It helps me connect with a just a few more people. It extends the value of what I am posting on Facebook. Yes, I usually send the exact same updates to my Fan Page as I do my personal profile, but the visibility of the update in my fans’ news feed is different.

    Also, many of our “fans” are there simply because they know (and love) my wife, not me! My wife is not on Facebook and in some cases it is very awkward for me to send a friend request to a married woman who doesn’t really know me but knows my wife.

    Reply
    • November 29, 2011, 11:35 am | Permalink

      good thoughts david–thanks for sharing your data.

      i’m hearing a similar thought w maximizing the husband and wife communication–that’s interesting and i’m sure others share that need.

      have there been any ways you have found to use the page and your profile to complement one another?

      or are you trying to drive somewhere else like your blog?

      Reply
      • November 29, 2011, 11:43 am | Permalink

        I normally don’t post a ton of pictures of my family in public albums on my FB profile, but I DO post my best family pics on my Fan Page. It adds just a tiny value add to our fans. Yes, I am ultimately wanting to drive fans and my FB profile friends to my blog – where I have even fuller content and more photos.

        Reply

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