By Katie Schubert, Vice President and Jennifer Leib, Senior Vice President
We’ve written a lot on the use of social media in advocacy, and many of us have Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts that we each use for different purposes. Nonprofits have been able to use social media to reach so many more people – to offer their services and provide educational information to an audience it otherwise might not have reached. And if you’re interested in learning more about leveraging social media to advance your policy goals, check out Digital Health Advocacy on October 20th http://www.dhadvocacy.org – registration is free and the agenda is robust.
There is a new emerging issue related to non-profit organizations’ use of social media of which everyone should be made aware. Throughout this year, Facebook has been making some changes that are not necessarily helpful to those non-profits who are just trying to reach their constituencies. The change, made to its algorithm and results in what people who “like” organizations pages actually see on their newsfeed (are you still following me?), is resulting in adverse effects on these organizations’ abilities to reach their followers and grow their base on social media outlets. Increasingly organizations – small and large – are utilizing social media for advertising, information and education. In fact, the use of sites like Facebook can be a huge asset to organizations who never before were able to reach supporters with such breadth. It can also make a difference to those with rare diseases, to help them connect with others, build networks, and create an online community of support.
But with the change, those who actively and purposefully “like” non-profit organizations’ pages may only see as little as one percent of what those organizations post. This makes it nearly impossible for these organizations to provide information and services to those who are seeking it. As a result, non-profits must now pay to promote their posts, which becomes cost prohibitive to those whose budgets are severely limited. With the use of Facebook thousands of non-profit organizations have been able to broaden their reach and raise awareness for a multitude of causes.
Social media has led to the growth and connection of people and organizations that we have never seen before. Organizations are able to reach those who need help like never before, and provide the education, information and services that those who seek them out need. We will continue to keep an eye on this issue as it progresses and for more information, click here: https://www.change.org/p/keep-facebook-free-for-non-profits.