And what you should try to get instead.

Facebook likes. They’re what every nonprofit wants. They’re what they measure their social communications (or their consultants) by.

And they’re almost completely useless.

I’d rather have 300 likes and really high engagement rates (clicks, shares, views by people who haven’t liked my page) than 30,000 likes and low ones. Because, lest we forget, you’re running a nonprofit. Your goal isn’t bragging rights; it’s building a community around a cause that will help you fight better for it.

In fact, which of those two things you’re obsessed with can tell you a lot about the health of your organization’s fundraising.

Which one of these matches you, and what can you do to get more like the second one?

Nonprofits that are obsessed with likes tend to be characterized by:

  • A lot more attention put into their ads than their day-to-day content
  • One-way content that isn’t designed to provoke engagement
  • An attitude that treats likes (and donors) like commodities
  • The lack of a game plan for turning a like into a donation, or indeed much of any integration of their Facebook activity with their larger development operations

Nonprofits that are obsessed with building a community around their cause tend to be characterized by:

  • Loads of care put into creating and curating excellent, meaningful content that makes the day better for anyone who sees it
  • Interactive content that helps followers become part of the organization
  • An attitude that treats a single like, let alone a donor, like a person who has interests that are worth knowing about (and, when it comes to her interest in your organization, cultivating!)
  • A strong integrated development and communications plan that feeds content and goals to the Facebook team, and takes feedback in return.

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