Facebook Live is a feature that lets any Page live-broadcast events, breaking news, interviews, and more. Nonprofits like The Met and Best Friends Animal Society are using Facebook Live to engage donors in powerful and very creative ways. In short, nonprofits can now more deeply connect donors to moments of impact—immediately as they happen!

Use Facebook Live to support and enhance your current strategy

Although Facebook Live is simple to use, many nonprofits are understandably hesitant about this new form of unscripted content marketing. The best way to get started with Facebook live is by folding it into your current communication strategies. There’s no need to create a special event just for the sake of exploring a new communications tool.

Fold Facebook Live into your strategy by asking these questions:

  • Where and when does impact happen? What sort of impact stories matter most?
  • What are we going to talk about? What topics matter most to supporters?
  • How can we use Facebook Live to engage people during our events?

An excellent example of using Facebook Live to broadcast an existing activity is Dog Bless You’s puppy cam at the Warrior Canine Connection.

How to Broadcast your Impact with Facebook Live

Here are a few tips for getting started with Facebook Live:

1. Live-broadcast moments of impact

An important way to boost donor acquisition and retention is to show donors the impact of their support. The more donors feel connected to the impact they seek, the more likely they are to continue giving.

In his foundational book on Retention Fundraising, Roger Craver shares 7 factors that keep donors coming back:

  1. They perceive your organization as effective in trying to achieve its mission.
  2. They knows what to expect from your organization with each interaction.
  3. Donor receives a timely thank you.
  4. Donor has opportunities to make her views known.
  5. Donor is given the feeling that she is part of an important cause.
  6. Donor feels her involvement is appreciated.
  7. Donor receives information showing who is being helped.

Almost all of these have to do with showing donors the impact of their support. For example, Best Friends Animal Society regularly broadcasts the arrival of new residents.

2. Keep calm and Facebook Live

No matter how much you prepare, every now and then something goes wrong. This is true when trying anything new for the first time, and especially when it’s streaming live.

You will feel nervous being on video, especially if this is new for you. Everyone feels nervous the first time they’re on video, but that feeling will pass after a few broadcasts.

You’ll be less nervous if you jot down an outline of your broadcast on a small index card. Here’s a simple outline:

  • Introduce the topic or event
  • Introduce yourself
  • Welcome your viewers
  • Outline the interview questions
  • Tell people what’s next
  • Respond to comments throughout the broadcast
  • Remind people to like your Page
  • Regularly flash your beautiful smile

Remember: you will survive. Even if everything goes totally wrong, you will still have a loyal, forgiving and downright awesome Facebook community.

3. Respond to commenters

The cool thing about Facebook live is that you can see comments as they’re posted real time during your broadcast. This is a unique opportunity to have an authentic discussion with your supporters.

  • Call out commenters by name
  • Read their comment
  • Reply to their comment
  • Say thank you

4. Tell people WHEN you’re going live

Facebook Live can be a bummer if no one shows up. Make sure your core supporters show up when you go live.

  • Post an update on your page the week before and the day before
  • Include the date time and topic in a Facebook cover (check out canva.com)
  • Announce your upcoming broadcast in your email newsletter
  • Tweet about it immediately before you go live
  • After each broadcast, Boost the post to your fans

5. Learn from other nonprofits

That savvy nonprofit you envy? Check out how they’re using Facebook Live. Attend these broadcasts, read the comments, and of course, try out what you’ve learned with your community.

Also, check out these creative ideas for your first Facebook Live broadcast.


John Haydon helps nonprofits change the world with smarter marketing. He is the author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley), consults for nonprofits and community foundations across the United States, and can ride a bicycle backwards.

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