Questions regarding Facebook for Non Profits from a friend

I’ve gotten some variation of the questions a friend recently asked me several times so I figured I’d throw my thoughts up here so I can share it in the future. Anything you would add to these answers?

1. if an org. can’t afford a web developer, could facebook serve as a website?

Yes, but I don’t recommend it. A better solution would be to use WordPress.com or another service like that to put together a website quickly and for just a few dollars (or EVEN better, to ask a donor to invest in putting together a professional website in the first place so they are maximizing their reach and efficiency from day one).

2. in your opinion, what are the pros and cons of having a website vs. just a facebook page acting as a website?

Pros

  • free or cheap depending on design for branding elements and strategy
  • social reach maximized right away
  • most folks already know how to use it, low learning curve

Cons

  • You don’t own it.
  • Ads served against your only connection to potential donors may be for other orgs or even something your org is fighting
  • you can’t control the layout to ensure your donors and prospects see what YOU want them to see
  • Facebook changes (be they in layout, app compatibility, algorithm, etc) can destroy your funding model overnight (just ask any of the bands who thought they didn’t need a web presence back at the height of the Myspace days)

3. can a facebook page have a donation button, that’s connected to paypal or another type of cart?

yes, there are several ecommerce and donation platforms that make facebook page apps


4. if the facebook page is set up separate from a person’s individual fb page, can people without a facebook account still access it?

only in a very limited sense. they cannot interact with it without an account.

My recommendation would be that unless they have a huge reach and are already very well connected on facebook to invest their limited resources in a simple low cost website (like wordpress.com) and using that to get the word out.