Discussions

Philanthropy content on FB

Posted by Rory Platt @rplattmmc, Wed, Jan 22 11:11am

I've been working fairly closely with our philanthropy teams from our children's hospital and have found some content incompatibilities that we just can't seem to get around.

Historically, the philanthropy team used our Facebook account to elevate the donations of and to thank, businesses/sponsors for supporting the hospital. While I appreciate the desire/need to do so, I see a disturbing trend that this content typically performs dismally.

As of now, we're approaching a large annual philanthropic campaign called Radiothon (like a telethon, but it's a radio show run from the inpatient unit). I want to support the event and recognize how important it is, but I'm in dire need of some new perspectives on promoting an event like this.

Has anyone promoted something similar and seen success? Any fresh ideas?

Hi Rory!
I can sympathize, for sure. About a year ago, we were faced with the same sort of situation. It is a tough one because promoting philanthropy efforts is certainly important. What it came down to for us is that the percentage of space it was taking up in our content calendar (noting that these posts were not as engaging as the others we were posting) did not reflect our strategic objectives for that channel. So, we were able to re-evaluate where the best place to promote this content over and over was. I'm not sure that our answer was the best, but it certainly has helped. We created a separate Facebook page directed at ambassadors of our organization. The goal of this page is to build and deepen relationships with current ambassadors of our center and future ones. It is a great space for check presentation content, volunteer activities, talking about the incredible people working to raise money for cancer research, and events such as the one you are talking about. We still post about these sorts of activities on our "Main" FB account, but we do so when it makes sense strategically instead of feeling like we have to. It may be one post about the event instead of 5. Which makes a big difference since historically our overall audience has not been engaged with seeing that content over and over. One downside that we have found which isn't surprising: It takes time. You are adding a page and an account to manage and develop content for. For us, it is our philanthropy team that is responsible for the content and posting, but they do not have a dedicated social media manager to do so. Therefore consistency is an issue.
Dana Farber and The Jimmy Fund do this side by side style Facebook strategy well. That said, they are a HUGE organization that does an incredible job with their philanthropy efforts.
I hope that helps! But really, I feel your struggle! Looking forward to hearing what others have to say and keep us posted on how you tackle this.

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@rplattmmc, I am following this discussion. We have a few capital campaigns coming up that would be great to promote on social.

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@laurynb

Hi Rory!
I can sympathize, for sure. About a year ago, we were faced with the same sort of situation. It is a tough one because promoting philanthropy efforts is certainly important. What it came down to for us is that the percentage of space it was taking up in our content calendar (noting that these posts were not as engaging as the others we were posting) did not reflect our strategic objectives for that channel. So, we were able to re-evaluate where the best place to promote this content over and over was. I'm not sure that our answer was the best, but it certainly has helped. We created a separate Facebook page directed at ambassadors of our organization. The goal of this page is to build and deepen relationships with current ambassadors of our center and future ones. It is a great space for check presentation content, volunteer activities, talking about the incredible people working to raise money for cancer research, and events such as the one you are talking about. We still post about these sorts of activities on our "Main" FB account, but we do so when it makes sense strategically instead of feeling like we have to. It may be one post about the event instead of 5. Which makes a big difference since historically our overall audience has not been engaged with seeing that content over and over. One downside that we have found which isn't surprising: It takes time. You are adding a page and an account to manage and develop content for. For us, it is our philanthropy team that is responsible for the content and posting, but they do not have a dedicated social media manager to do so. Therefore consistency is an issue.
Dana Farber and The Jimmy Fund do this side by side style Facebook strategy well. That said, they are a HUGE organization that does an incredible job with their philanthropy efforts.
I hope that helps! But really, I feel your struggle! Looking forward to hearing what others have to say and keep us posted on how you tackle this.

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Thanks for sharing your approach, Lauryn! Time is always an issue, and I'm feeling especially spread thin these days.

With that said, I think my approach will be to try to direct some of the lower-engaging content towards a 'story' format on Facebook and focus on keeping the best posts in the feed. I think there's a good argument for trying to limit the number of times a day we are pushing out messages and identifying the most important messages.

Hopefully, philanthropy is OK with the approach. We have good data from last year's event that should demonstrate pretty clearly that posting messages throughout the day leads to pretty low-reach and engagement. If I had more time and resources, I'd probably be trying to spread the content onto another channel as well!

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Hi, all.
It's tricky, indeed. Usually, I try to set aside one day a week for donor relations content and in most cases it works. I agree, the content tends to under perform. Around the holidays, I have to give a little and work in the content more frequently….but I tend to share the love across platforms: FB, Twitter, and Instagram (including stories), so it's not all hitting FB (our largest platform) all at once. I also try to schedule patient stories around that content, as sort of "see your donations at work" feel.

Thanks for posting this thread.

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I think we all feel you on this topic Rory. I've enjoyed reading all the great advice so far.

We have given our Foundation its own Facebook page. In PR, we try to not to be too PRish or too marketing because people see through that quickly. Instead we use our content to bolster our reputation and then hope that people will eventually want to give. I looked at our analytics on our newsroom for 2019 and was surprised to see the amount of people who actually went to donate from our newsroom and who also made appointments (Google analytics can be your friend). Our intent when we started the newsroom was to raise awareness to issues and to get media attention, but we've been pleasantly surprise that we can also show leadership that the newsroom has that added benefit. We post what we write on the newsroom on social. At the end of our stories, I usually put a call to action in a box. So in a round about way we are sometimes driving people to give or to make an appointment with a physician. I think people read what we're doing and want to give. And I think people trust our Facebook page because it's not full of that kind of marketing, making the ask content. Don't get me wrong. Of course, there are times such as our Radiothon and big national days of giving, where we make the ask. But it's rare enough that people aren't tuning out (white noise) because we ask so much. I think the key is to think like a reader and then do the best to serve them and your organization.

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Hi Rory and friends!

Ah, a wonderful problem many of us have. I would say that you've already done the first step – creating a relationship with these philanthropic organizations. Completely agree that to keep the integrity of our pages, we have to limit the number of posts for other organizations, even if their mission is important. At TriHealth, we have two main foundations that we support, and we have to balance our promotion of their events and initiatives.

Because of your relationship with the philanthropy org, they should trust your judgement and know what is best for your channels and their message. If you post too much about one thing, people could get annoyed and may be less likely to engage with that philanthropy. I think your idea of posting stories is a great idea! A perfect compromise.

Basically, I think you're on the right track!

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Hello again. After I saw your post, I went and talked to someone in our Foundation about their approach on their Facebook page. She said they follow our lead a bit and try to keep things patient focus. Even when they are asking for a donation, they center it around a patient story. She said that posts with favorite nurses or other caregivers do well. People post afterward and say, "She's great! She took care of my baby." They've also started a funded a need program where they spotlight a specific area. They try to tell a story and let content be king as well.

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@JeffCalaway

Hello again. After I saw your post, I went and talked to someone in our Foundation about their approach on their Facebook page. She said they follow our lead a bit and try to keep things patient focus. Even when they are asking for a donation, they center it around a patient story. She said that posts with favorite nurses or other caregivers do well. People post afterward and say, "She's great! She took care of my baby." They've also started a funded a need program where they spotlight a specific area. They try to tell a story and let content be king as well.

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Thanks for your responses, Jeff. I'm lucky that philanthropy has always been amenable to my recommendations on social, and I've generally pushed for a soft-ask or "show your donations at work" as a means of acquiring donations.

Hopefully, I can convince leadership to adopt Facebook native donations so we can get a better picture of how successful our efforts are. For now, they seem to appreciate that my approach tends to do better on the engagement side.

We're also looking for ways to be able to make a very specific ask for donations – like funding a specific initiative/area of greatest need so that we can tell a better story and hopefully make a stronger appeal!

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