6 Tips to using Facebook Live as a Charity, Not-For-Profit or Fundraising Project

You’ve probably heard a thousand times how important it is for your fundraising project, charity or non-profit organisation to have a social media presence. You’ve also probably heard a thousand times how important it is for you to create video content for your social media channels, as videos run the show in most platform’s algorithms.

We found this quite intimidating - like many small charities, we have no budget to spend on marketing and communications. This makes it difficult to produce high-quality, polished, professional video content, and it can be hard to achieve the reach (number of people seeing the post in their news feed) and engagement (number of people liking, sharing and commenting on the post) organically to make it worth putting the time and energy required to prepare videos. Most social media platforms algorithms are increasingly geared towards “boosted”  posts (i.e. paid for advertising) which, again, we don’t have the budget for.

But fear not! Facebook Live promises to help with a couple of these problems! For starters, you don’t have to spend ages preparing a live video – it only really takes as long as you are going to be live for plus maybe a little bit of time to prep, and there is no filming multiple shots or editing involved. It also doesn’t have to be super polished – it is all a part of the fun of live videos if something goes a little bit wrong, and it is the realness that people seem to like. Additionally, music to all of our ears, it’s designed to be shot from the little camera you already have on your phone so it doesn’t need any expensive new equipment! And to top it off, Facebook Live videos tend to perform better than any other post types for organic reach and engagement. Win win win!

So what sort of things could you do on Facebook Live? The ideas are endless but here are a few to get you thinking:

  • To broadcast fundraising events
  • To share updates and information with your followers and supporters
  • To host a Q&A about your cause or the work you do
  • To make appeals – for donations, volunteers or something else

We are still pretty new to Facebook Live ourselves; we first used it to broadcast our Head Shave event as part of our Sanctuary Space crowdfunding project, and most recently used it to broadcast the prize draw for our Spring Raffle. While we still have a way to go, we have learned a few tips and tricks that we wanted to share, in case any other small charities or fundraising projects need a little nudge to give it a go too.

                   

  1. Practice in private first

It is very daunting going live for the first time – it is so public, you don’t want to make a mistake, so you just never do it! But you can test it out and practice completely privately to build your confidence and make sure you know what you’re doing before you ever go live publicly. You can’t do this on a Page, but you can do this on your personal account, and it is basically the same when you do the real thing on the Page. All you have to do is:

  • Either on your news feed or on your profile, press Live Video (just above where it says “What’s on your mind?” and you’d normally write a status)
  • Give Facebook permission to access your camera and microphone
  • Change “who should see this” from “Public” or “Friends” to “Only me” 

And voila! Noone else will be able to see it except for you. You can test out how your live video will look and pick a good background, check the video quality and audio are fine, and practice filming a whole live video and watch it back to see how to improve. You can also practice saving the video after you stop going live to make sure you won’t lose anything you wanted to keep.

 

  1. Be prepared but flexible

It is good to be prepared so everything seems professional and smooth, and to make sure you don’t freeze under the pressure of being live! Make sure you know what the purpose of your live video is, roughly plan what you are going to say and do, make sure you have everything you need and your surroundings are all set up before you start. But don’t be too rigid! The style of facebook live video is meant to be fun and informal, so you don’t need a rigid script to follow and it is ok to stumble, stammer, and go off on the odd tangent. And let this take some of the pressure of – if you have technical issues or something goes wrong, laugh it off with your viewers and carry on! Facebook live is also supposed to be interactive and engaging. Be flexible and respond to your audience. Read out and reply to comments, acknowledge your viewers as they join, ask questions to the people watching and answer any questions that come through.

 

  1. You don’t need to go it alone!

Being on camera can be an awkward experience at the best of times if it isn’t something you are used to and being live just ups the ante. We recommend doing it as a team of at least two the first time you go live. Obviously it can help to have one person filming/behind the camera and another person hosting/in front of the camera, but we have found it comforting to have more than one person hosting and speaking so that there is a natural conversational style rather than feeling like you are speaking into an empty void! Some people also recommend having another person off camera on a second phone or computer to type responses to comments and occasionally post subtitles or commentary to help narrate what is happening in the live video for people watching without sound. This sounds like a good idea although we have yet to try this ourselves.

 

  1. Slow down!

It is nerve racking and a little bit cringey to be live on camera so it is natural to rush, and this can probably only really be improved with practice. But it takes a little time for people to spot you are live and tune in, and the longer you go live for, the more the engagement will rack up. Some people recommend you go live for no less than 10 minutes, and you can be live for up to 90 minutes, so slow down, get comfortable and enjoy your moment in the spotlight!

 

  1. Don’t worry if barely anyone tunes in the first time

It can be tricky to talk as if lots of people are watching when you can see that there’s actually only 3 people and one of them is your very supportive gran! But don’t let it discourage you. Like we said, it takes a bit of time for people to see you are live and start watching so the first few minutes can be a bit dead. It can be good to let your followers know ahead of time that you are going to go live soon so they can get ready to watch, either by promoting the scheduled time for a few weeks beforehand if appropriate, or a Facebook post or tweet half an hour or 10 minutes before. And remember that sometimes people are just busy and can’t tune in live, but that the video will continue to get more views once the video is posted on your page after you are finished filming. From our experience, live videos have out-performed our uploaded videos and other post types by a quite significant margin regardless of how many people were watching live so don’t let it put you off and make sure you keep it together and present for all of the potential audience, not just the few people watching in the moment. And it doesn’t show how many live views you got for anyone else to see (as far as we are aware!) so you won’t be embarrassed.

 

  1. Just keep doing it

As with all things, we think using Facebook Live will get easier with practice, and likely more successful. But it’s so easy to do, takes so little time and resources, and the returns are definitely worth it compared to the alternatives. We’re going to keep an eye out for opportunities for us to use Facebook Live going forward and we are excited to learn how to improve and make the most out of it. We hope you will join us in the journey!

 

Be sure to share this blog if you found it useful and give us a tweet (@ImaraNottingham) if you are going live for the first time so we can tune in and support!

Like and follow our Facebook page here so you can see our future live videos, and please do let us know any of your tips, tricks or advice for us to improve by emailing us here.