How nonprofits can respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Activate Supporters: Ask People to Speak Out

Empower others to share your message. Be clear about what you stand for and how people can use their own voice to spread the word.

Define Actions to Take

Rallying people online can be highly effective if you need many people to show their support for your cause, like showing public demand for a change in legislation or cultural acceptance of a marginalized group. Providing your Facebook community with concrete actions that can be taken online also helps attract new people and offers supporters quick, easy ways to participate and spread your message. Ask people to take online actions like:

  • Share a post, photo, video, article or infographic from your page
  • Change their profile photo
  • Sign a pledge
  • Tag, email or sign a letter to encourage or thank a public figure
  • Buy a t-shirt or piece of swag
  • Post about your cause to inform their friends
  • Share a personal story related to your cause.

Sometimes people are prepared to act right away. Other times, your page followers may want to learn more before participating. Try different approaches and levels of asks to figure out what works best for your community.

Craft Your Call to Action

Inspiring people to take action isn’t just about what you’re asking people to do, it’s also about how. The way you frame a call to action is important, and there are a few things you should keep in mind when creating one on Facebook.

  1. Ask the right people. Hone your messages and make them relevant to people who are particularly interested in the problems you’re trying to solve. Learn about who you’re trying to reach and how to reach your target audience.
  2. Define the problem. Present a clear problem that evokes emotion. Describing a problem in a way that makes people feel something will naturally inspire them to seek a solution. A clearly defined problem makes the case for how someone’s help will make a difference.
  3. Offer a specific action. Tell people about one single action they can take in response to the way the problem makes them feel. Be concise and make the action people should take clear.
  4. Make it easy to do. Try to make the process of taking action easy for people. The fewer clicks, steps to take or decisions to make, the more likely they’ll finish. If you’re directing people to a website or third-party platform, send them directly to a page where they can take action. Repeat your one clear call to action at the top of the page where you send people. Place action buttons or forms near the top. Keep other content minimal and below the call to action.

TIP: If your mission is complex, try breaking it down into smaller objectives that can be paired with individual calls to action. The more specific you can be when asking people to act, the easier it is for them to see how their participation leads to impact.

Show a Clear Need

People take action online when they believe it will create change in real life. Keep your requests for support ambitious but realistic. Describe the change you strive for, how it can be achieved and how the actions people take will help.

  • Use examples. Show the potential for impact by referring to times when many people taking action led to a tangible result in the past. For example, a White House petition that got over 100,000 signatures in 30 days and received a formal response, or $100M raised to fight ALS thanks to people who created videos and challenged friends to participate.
  • Understand where your audience is coming from. It may seem obvious to you why people should care about your cause and take action. But your audience probably doesn’t spend as much time researching your cause as you do. Consider arguments that would be compelling to them, so you can meet them where they are at.
  • Don’t bury the lead. Don’t hide the call to action. Provide appropriate context for people to understand why they should act, but make sure the request for action is prominent.
Inspire People to Share Their Stories

Many campaigns prompt people to post their own stories and thoughts. Posts by your supporters are powerful because they highlight why your cause matters to individuals. They also get the word out to people’s friends and can help build your organization’s reputation and following. Encourage people to contribute their own voice to your campaigns.

Offer Examples. Present an authentic example of the kind of content you’d like people to share. It may be a story, quote, photo or video by someone on your team or in your community. Regularly sharing examples can inspire others to share, too. When sharing examples, consider what kinds of things people tend to share with their friends on Facebook. Is there a hashtag or logo people can use to identify that their post is part of your campaign? Can you make it easier for people to share quality photos and videos by providing a prompt and how-to guide?

TIP: Try asking people both directly and indirectly to share personal stories. Some communities respond well to direct requests and others respond better when sharing is organic.

Find Content People Are Already Creating. People might not always contact you when they’re moved to share a story related to your cause or organization. Be on the lookout for great stories that are relevant to your work. Here are some ways you can find them:

  • Search. Seek content by using the search bar to search for your organization’s name and relevant keywords on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Tags. People can tag your Page by typing @ before your Page name and choosing your Page from a dropdown menu. Go to the Page Admin Tools, then choose Activity under Notifications to review posts your Page is tagged in.
  • Hashtags. Search for hashtags associated with your cause to find content that are relevant to your organization, even if your organization isn’t mentioned.
  • Comments. Read the comments on your own Page posts. You can start a conversation by replying to comments and asking if someone has a story they’d be willing to share.If you find a story, photo or video someone posted, you can introduce yourself and your organization by commenting on the post or sending the person a private message. Ask if there’s more background and request permission to share their story on your Page. If you do post someone’s story, give credit and thank the person unless they’ve asked to be anonymous.

Celebrate Contributions. Showcasing and thanking people for their contributions can be a nice way to offer recognition and encourage people to share more. You can feature stories, photos, videos and quotes from supporters on your Page and website. You can also look for ways to give extra acknowledgement to your most active supporters. For example, consider mentioning them at a public event, having a prominent figure thank them on Facebook or share their story in a press announcement. Your community might also enjoy a friendly competition where you can reward the most active and creative participants.