Your Personal Network and Facebook Advocacy
Facebook is a social networking service and website with more than 600 million active users. Users may create a personal profile, a Page or a Cause. AMWA is an official 501c3 Non-profit Partner of Facebook Causes which means you can personally use your online social network to raise money for AMWA initiatives!
Personal profiles enable users to expand their personal networks by adding other users as friends, invite friends that are not users to join and begin exchanging messages, links, photos and other articles of interest. Additionally, users may join common interest groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics.
In addition to personal profiles, Facebook also has Pages which are public platforms that allow organizations to connect with members and other supporters in the Facebook network. AMWA’s Facebook Page allows us to create a profile describing our mission, make our communities aware of local AMWA efforts, post news related to important issues, such as budget cuts, alert supporters to advocacy efforts, encourage dialogue through wall posts, status updates and newsfeeds, share photos, videos and links.
In addition to personal profiles and Pages, Facebook Causes is the world’s largest platform for activism and philanthropy. As of May 2011 Causes has over 140 million users and raised over 30 million dollars for 25,000 nonprofits. Causes is a way for a nonprofit to raise awareness, promote advocacy efforts, and fundraise, but its defining feature is that it enables information and actions to spread through decentralized social networks. Fundraising is generally much more effective on Causes if you have built an active community of supporters who are familiar with your work and feel a personal connection to it. AMWA has access to Causes Nonprofit Partner Center which contains tools for communicating with members of our causes, building relationships with other causes, and creating fundraising and advocacy campaigns.
Html Code for Causes Widget on AMWA
Getting Started with Facebook Advocacy:
1. Join www.facebook.com. Create a personal profile by filling out your name, e-mail, password and birthday.
2. Connect with the American Medical Women’s Association:
a. “Like” the Page. Use AMWA’s Public Profile Page link http://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Medical-Womens-Association/85665171482?ref=ts&sk=wall and click the “Like” button.
b. Join the Cause. American Medical Women’s Association http://www.causes.com/causes/588590-american-medical-women-s-association?recruiter_id=36237174
c. “Send a Friend Request” to AMWA Doctors using this link http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001944107929 or In the search box, type AMWA Doctors or firstname.lastname@example.org. Click on the button “Send a Friend Request” and we will accept.
d. Start a Cause without a Facebook account. Go to the Causes website and enter the information requested http://apps.facebook.com/causes/new. Select the American Medical Women’s Association as the nonprofit beneficiary of the cause from their database powered by GuideStar – www.guidestar.org
3. Build a group of supporters. Create a contact list and start recruiting members from your social network to your “cause” or initiative you choose. Start with your personal network including friends, neighbors, colleagues, patients, hospital administrators, medical supply companies, local health officials and staff. Use your email list and Facebook’s “Friend Finder” tools. Facebook is the new business card. Every time you meet someone new send them a facebook friend request. If they accept, read about their interest to see if they have interest similar to yours. The cause can grow quickly through peer-to-peer promotion.
4. Join the conversation.
a. Listen First. Good communication begins with good listeners. Listen to the conversations already on the web about your issues. Take a look at the kinds of posts, events, or links that are shared on personal profiles, pages and causes. You will get a sense of the dialogue these posts can generate among fans. Notice fans often engage each other, exchanging links to related information or sharing their personal experience in response to a particular news article. By networking with each other, they are helping to spread the word about AMWA within Facebook and ultimately beyond the internet. With several hundred members on our AMWA page, returning to the AMWA page at regular intervals will allow you to stay in touch with a much larger social network than you would be able to accomplish in person or without the aid of online social networks. Join other causes that advocate for similar issues and see what they are doing to promote their advocacy efforts.
b. Choose an issue. Read about AMWA’s initiatives on our Causes Page and Website and choose a topic you feel passionate about.
c. Start a conversation.
- Raise awareness about your initiative by educating your audience. In any advocacy effort you can talk about issues, why you think they are important, correct myths and misinformation and share facts sheets.
- Tell non-AMWA members about AMWA by sharing a link to our website www.amwa-doc.org or sharing our news and photos among your personal social network.
- Post a news story about recent AMWA events or healthcare budget cuts affecting women’s health issues.
- Share a link to a video clip of a local TV news story about AMWA advocacy or initiatives. Invite fans to local AMWA events, advocacy day on Capitol Hill or AMWA’s annual meeting in the spring.
- Upload pictures from your computer or phone of a press conference on the steps of the state capital building
Sample Facebook Post
Watch: Video from AMWA’s Advancing Women’s Health Working Group http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj-2pzkkXUA
Take Action: Sign our petition to stop budget cuts for Title X Funding
Share the News: AMWA is quoted in Medscape http://www.medscape.com/ and the British Medical Journal http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d798.full on pay discrepancies for new female and male physicians
d. Monitor your audiences’ response. Pay attention to how people respond to your awareness raising efforts. Did people reply to your post? Did they comment or “like” the articles, photos or media you posted?
e. Reward with Response. Reply to your supporters who commented. Thank the supporters who “liked” your articles. Offer to answer questions for your audience. Return the favor by interacting with their post by commenting and liking articles of interests that they post on their walls.
5. Turn Education into Action. Promote your cause through your network of supporters. Make sure your campaigns help members understand why they are a part of your particular cause community. Focus on recruiting, sending bulletins, sharing media, and building relationships with the top recruiters to build capacity for significant fundraising.
a. Make the title a call to action. When creating a cause consider what issue you want your cause focused on when writing the title, mission, description and first bulletin. Successful causes focus compelling, urgent, and action oriented content. The title should engage readers to take action while summarizing the purpose of the project in the most engaging way possible. Use action verbs like “Sponsor” “Donate”, “Save”, “Build,” “Create”, “Support”
b. Post multiple photos and videos. People are more likely to feel connected to your cause if they can see the need and/or potential impact of your project through visual aids.
c. Provide a compelling description of the need and potential impact. Share personal experiences and stories along with statistics and facts. Stories are more memorable but statistics and facts are necessary for convincing the data oriented readers. Describe what the project is, the specific uses for the money and the potential impact the money will have. Aim for two to three paragraphs.
d. Visually convey the impact of different donation amounts. Select a range of price points that include low, medium and high price points as donor options. These price points will automatically customize your donation form.
e. Promote your project Start with your dedicated supporters, co-workers, friends, and family to donate. If they can’t donate ask them to join your cause and promote each featured project by posting it to their Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts, blogs, email their friends and spread the word. Start pointing your existing fundraising asks toward this project in the places you currently communicate with your dedicated supporters. Feature your project on all of your causes http://www.causes.com/ and link your Facebook profile and send bulletins to these causes too.
f. Send regular bulletins. The average person needs to see a message 5-7 times before it begins to influence them. The most successful causes send at least weekly bulletins to their cause members with engaging messages that include good content including updates, stories, videos, statistics, etc. and ask people to do something to support the project. Use all of your social network tools to promote your project to supporters including causes, email lists, FB Page, Twitter, website, community center. Create a communications schedule of how often and when you’ll send Tweets, cause bulletins, and Fan Page updates then include the project in your regularly scheduled communications to your supporters.
g. Offer Incentives. The Nonprofit Partner Center allows you to track top donors, fundraisers, and promoters on the project page. Offer prizes to top fundraisers and promoters. Create a competition to win the prize.
h. Match Donations. Find a large-dollar donor who is willing to match all donations to the project and share news with your supporters.
i. Use an Offline Event to Raise Funds Online. If you have a holiday party or year-end event coming up, try funding the project at the event! Put computers up around the room and announce the progress over the course of the event
j. Building Your Community is First Priority. Patiently build a community of supporters online. Build the cause by sending a weekly bulletin and encouraging supporters to join. Campaigns could include awareness emails, media, petitions and off-line events.