Budget constraints and earned media tend to attract nonprofit organizations to Facebook to promote brand causes through viral activity. In fact, sharing from the social network accounts for 32% of a Fan page's overall daily total reach. One in three people sees an organization's content because a friend created a story about the Fan page by Liking or sharing it.
The findings, part of a study released Thursday by M+R Strategic Services and NTEN Nonprofit Technology Network, examines stats from dozens of U.S. nonprofits like AARP, Planned Parenthood, and the Humane Society.
Companies want to know what it takes to keep the interest of Facebook Fans. Nonprofits typically attract about 31,473 Fan page Facebook members, representing 103 fan page users per 1,000 email subscribers.
In 2011, monthly fan page churn -- the rate at which followers become unreachable in a month -- was relatively low, about 0.5%. Between 2010 and 2011, the median growth rate for nonprofit fan page audiences came in at 70%. Wildlife and animal groups had the strongest growth rate, about 129% in one year.
For every 1,000 Facebook Fan page members, on average there were 197 people each day -- fans or not -- who came across content associated with the nonprofit's page; 22 People Talking About This each week; and 6 Daily Page Engaged users per day.
The People Talking About This measurement -- the metric Facebook introduced last year to help administrators evaluate the quality of a page, rather than just its size -- remains too broad to get a true sense of how involved people become with Fan pages, according to the report.
Facebook Fans will vary the interaction with nonprofits depending on their focus.
For example, wildlife and animal welfare nonprofits typically have nine people interact per thousand Fans, followed by environmental causes at eight, international at seven and rights at five. These daily page engaged user numbers might seem low, but the study points out a page’s reach may only be about 20% of the audience. Of this 20%, people can read posts without interacting, and they can also become aware of the content without actually seeing it.
The 2012 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study analyzes data from 44 nonprofit organizations to analyze trends in fundraising, advocacy, email list size, text messaging and social media on Facebook.