One question we hear time and time again is: do Facebook “likes” matter?

Should we care about that metric?

Does social media matter at all for my nonprofit?

If you’ve ever asked that, this video is for you.

Do Facebook Likes Really Matter for My Nonprofit Organization?


One question you hear over and over when it comes to nonprofits and social media is: “What’s the impact of something like a Facebook like and does it really matter for my nonprofit organization?

One reason this is an especially big issue lately is that UNICEF created this whole big ad campaign revolving around Facebook likes and how they’re basically worthless. One particularly intense video features a small child in an impoverished home with a cot and dirt talking about how he has to support his mother and his brother is starving … but because UNICEF has 20,000 likes on Facebook, it’s probably going to be ok. So they’re incredibly negative about the impact of social media.

The truth is, this kind of advertising just KILLS me.

I get it: likes aren’t as powerful as donations, and on the surface level, they don’t change the world, but organizations who actively shame their Facebook supporters are actively hurting their own organizations.

Let’s break it down: what exactly is a “Like”? What does it represent?

First, a Like is a real person’s Permission. When someone likes you, they’ve given you permission to fill their newsfeed with your stuff, permission to hear from you, permission to develop the relationship further. That’s HUGE! That’s incredibly valuable, and it’s your fault if you neglect that permission.

Second, a Facebook Like is a real person’s Identity. A Facebook like is a little way of saying, I care about this organization. I want them to succeed. They’re interesting to me, and in a small way, I identify with this organization. That’s awesome. While that sense of identity in your organization right now might still be a pretty shallow sense of identify, they’ve already made the first step towards a bigger commitment.

At the end of the day, would you rather have a donation than have a Like on Facebook? Of course you would! But not everyone is ready to be a donor. Not everyone is willing to give that much permission, that much identity. And that’s ok!

In most sales contexts, it takes a ton of time and repeated touches to nurture a lead before they’re willing to buy—that’s normal, so why don’t we accept that when it comes to courting our donors?

At the end of the day, a Facebook like is only worth as much as your willingness to develop a relationship with a real person. That means that if likes don’t go anywhere and develop into more committed relationships, that’s on you, not your donors.

Thanks for watching.