The oppressive above-average heat wave hitting the mid-Atlantic region inspired today’s post.

Crank up the heat.  Become more intense and add more fire to your efforts to write donor-centric (or member-centric) updates on Facebook.

Naturally I want you to do this across the board on ALL your communications.  But today the focus is on Facebook.

Here are four examples of Facebook status updates from three different nonprofit organizations.  Plus there’s a bonus example at the end from a fourth organization with a different twist on reader-centric copy.

By the way, I just read through the updates and rewrote them based only on what I saw on Facebook. I didn’t research the nonprofit’s website or anything else.  So even if I’ve slightly misinterpreted the gist of the update, the examples on how to write more reader-centric updates are still valid. 

1 – Nonprofit’s update:

Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship – Pace University
Congratulations to Pace Graduates, Class of 2011! Now, show us how you can do well and do GOOD!

A more donor-centric approach would be… “Thanks to Pace I’m …” – Begin with a quote from a graduate talking about what they plan to do; a specific example.

2 – Nonprofit’s update:

Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship – Pace University
What’s not to like about the Wilson Center? Check out our website for more info! www.pace.edu/wilsoncenter

Ouch.  To me this comes across as egotistical.  It’s easy to turn it around by saying. “Blah-blah is what student Mary Smith likes best about the Wilson Center. Here’s why she feels this way …” and link to Mary’s story. 

3 – Nonprofit’s update:

icouldbe.org
Did you know icouldbe partnered with Monster Keep America Working to create workshops for local high schools in Pennsylvania? The students are doing GREAT!

Something like this would be more donor-centric: “High school students in PA rave about the workshops helping prepare them for college or post-graduation careers. All thanks to a partnership donors like you helped make possible through Monster Keep America Working and icouldbe.org.”

4 – Based on the half dozen updates I read today, in general Heifer does a decent job of writing their FB updates.  Here’s one that could be strengthened … Nonprofit’s update:

Heifer International
Listen to our vice president of Heifer’s Asia and South Pacific Programs, Mahendra Lohani, describes his recent visit to Nepal. He emphasizes a new focus on income and enterprise development by larger groups, or cooperatives, made up of women with years of experience and success in smaller self-help groups. [Video by Geoff Oliver Bugbee.]

Instead try something like this: “Women with years of experience and success in smaller self-help groups are the new focus of enterprise development in Nepal. Changes donors have made possible. Heifer vice president … blah-blah … describes the exciting trends he saw during a recent visit to Nepal.”

5 – Here’s the bonus: Don’t PUBLISH your Facebook page until you have content on it. In addition, don’t publish unless you’re prepared to post status updates on a regular basis.  You can create the page … just don’t publish it yet.  Having a page without content (or very out-dated content) is another example of NOT being reader-centric.

And with regard to having content on the page BEFORE publishing, this goes beyond the “info” tab.  Below is a screen shot of a nonprofit that hasn’t done a thing to their page in two months (according to a note I read on FB).  There are ZERO updates on their page as of today.  I also can’t help but wonder if the four “likes” are from staff members since there’s nothing on the page to “like.” 

Don't publish a "blank" page.

In my opinion, “no Facebook page” is better than a dormant page with no updates or without information of value to readers, prospects, donors, volunteers, advocates, etc.  And when you write your updates, put the reader first.  Make your updates donor-centric (or member-centric for associations). Put the intense heat of the spotlight on them and NOT your nonprofit.

Do you have any examples to share?