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ATTN Nonprofits: Do Not Create Facebook Community Pages!

April 13, 2010

PLEASE NOTE :: Community Pages are not the same as Official Facebook Pages, formerly Facebook Fan Pages. Also, this article used to be entitled “Any nonprofits out there experimenting with Facebook Community Pages?”, but I changed it because I do not think nonprofits should be experimenting with Community Pages.

4/30 UPDATE :: There is lot more information coming out about Facebook Community Pages:

Why Facebook Community Page could be bad news for brands

The Problem With Community Pages

How Facebook Community Pages Undermine Nonprofit’s Official Pages in Facebook Searches

While Community Pages seem to be competing with “Official Pages” in search results, that’s not what I find most troublesome. I am more disturbed by the fact that Facebook will not announce the number of when a “Page” is prompted to become a Community Page. All Facebook says is that it occurs when a Page “becomes popular”. I know of a small nonprofit that was prompted at 118 Likes and another at 50 Likes. Most Facebook bloggers expected the number to be 10,00o.

Not releasing the number empowers Facebook to downgrade any Page they want if it can not be authenticated. There was absolutely no reason for the Pages with 50 and 188 Likes to be prompted. They are small public libraries. Both libraries did not think they needed to authenticate and ignored the emails from Facebook since Pages and Community Pages look exactly the same. But as we know now, they are not the same. Status Updates from Community Pages do not get News Feed exposure. I have informed them to indeed authenticate. Will keep you posted.

If your nonprofit is being asked to authenticate, please let me know in a comment below. THANKS.

4/23 UPDATE :: For all the buzz about Facebook  and its marketing power, the reality is 90% of the power of a Facebook Page (now called Official Pages) is in the Status Update.  According to Facebook, the Status Updates of Community Pages will not show up in the News Feeds:

“Community Pages are built around topics, causes or experiences. Official Pages are maintained by authorized representatives of a business, brand, celebrity, or organization, and they can create and share content about the entities that they represent. Community Pages, on the other hand, won’t generate stories in your News Feed, and won’t be maintained by a single author.”

There is so much conflicting information out there right now about Community Pages and absolute confusion about the Authentication Process for [formerly Fan] Pages. Until Facebook clarifies how exactly this new tool works, I wouldn’t invest any time or resources in building a community using Community Pages. Stick to Official Pages and Groups.

I was just getting ready to add “Create a Facebook Page for a campaign in addition to your organization’s Facebook Page” to my Facebook Best Practices for Nonprofit Organizations when I read that Facebook had launched “Community Pages”. I have yet to see one live, but they are Facebook’s response to a growing trend on Facebook where individuals launch and run Facebook Pages like:

Can this pickle can get more more fans that Nickelback?

I don’t care about your farm, or your fish, or your park, or your mafia!!!

Facebook clearly wants Facebook Pages to be for brands (businesses, nonprofits, schools) and Community Pages for causes and campaigns. Admins for Pages have complete control over their Page, while when the Community Page reaches a certain number of supporters, the “administration will be handed over to the Facebook community. In other words, Community Pages become a whole lot like a wiki once they reach a certain threshold.

Very interesting and three questions immediately come to mind:

1) What’s the magic number of when a Community Page is handed over to the Facebook Community?

2) What happens to current Facebook Pages that are campaigns that reach that magic number – are they then converted to Community Pages? I did find that both of the two pages listed above no longer show up in Facebook searches. I had to use Google to find them. But the Pages themselves are still fully functional including News Feed activity. ANSWER: Facebook requires you to authenticate/authorize the Page. If you can’t, your Page becomes a Community Page.

3) How do the Community Pages function before and after the magic number? ANSWER: Status Updates no longer show up in the Feeds.

I like the idea and anxious to see what a Community Page administered by the Facebook community looks and functions like. Have any nonprofits out there created a Community Page yet? Such as Save the Whales. Stop Global Warming. Take Back the Night. Support the Ratification of the START Treaty. Spay and Neuter Your Pet. If so, please list your Community Page below and I’ll track it, watch it, and report it.

40 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2010 4:57 am

    Hello, I’m the President of nonprofit ThemFive and am inquiring about the Community Pages and assistance in starting and handling it.

  2. April 13, 2010 5:07 am

    As a new non-profit, we didn’t have money to pay for website tech or hosting, and finding donations for web design and marketing in this economy was nearly impossible. So we found that our volunteers and board members could simply post to the Facebook page, with updates, donation results, pictures, and news. We have 405 Fans and counting, and we get a couple new ones every week!

    Cheers and thanks,

    The GiveDC Children’s Fund

    • April 13, 2010 5:23 am

      Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

  3. April 13, 2010 5:57 am

    We weren’t aware of this new FB feature until reading your blog. Promptly set up a Community Page for our 2010 campaign to increase organ donor registrations in Michigan (Donor Drive 2010), and within a few minutes had 11 fans. It’ll be interesting to see how this works!

    Thanks for the idea,

    Jennifer Tislerics
    Special Events & Partnerships Coordinator
    Gift of Life Michigan

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      April 13, 2010 6:05 am

      Very interesting. Good for you! Did you promote the Community Page to get the 11 fans, or did it just happen?

      What is the link of your new Community Page? Thanks!

      • April 13, 2010 9:12 am

        Of the first 15 or so fans, I think I personally know 5-7 of them. I have no idea how the others found it.

        I did soon update my status about the Campaign Page, published it to my personal profile, and suggested the page to about 150 of my personal FB friends who are connected with the cause.

        Once we had the personalized URL (after reaching 25 fans), we also promoted it on our organization’s main FB Fan Page (4,300+ fans). Michigan’s Secretary of State (oversees the DMV and elections) joined and commented on/about the Community Page within the first few hours, which I’m sure helped, too.

  4. April 13, 2010 7:43 am

    I blogged about this subject last week – honestly, I don’t think nonprofits should even touch community pages. Community pages are built for very casual use, and I just can’t see an instance where a nonprofit would WANT to lose control of a page they set up simply because it became popular.

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      April 13, 2010 8:05 am

      I am not so sure. I have been promoting a page on FB for two years for a brand name… and it is only at 9,000 fans and it has been promoted everywhere and anywhere constantly. I created a FB page for a cause… and it has hit 13,000 fans in less than two months. People seemingly like cause pages on FB, and now the only option is a Community Page. Hard to say until we actually see a Community Page… but I think nonprofits could actually benefit quite a bit to be the nonprofit that created a Community Page that in the rare chance goes viral. It doesn’t have be something silly about pickles, or fried chicken, etc. but something like Stop Global Warming, Save the Whales, etc.. 77% of FB Pages have less than 1,000 fans and only 4% have more than 10,000 fans so I think the numbers will be small… and only a couple hundred over 1,000,000 so viral pages are very, very rare… but again, we won’t know until we actually see one. Thanks.

  5. April 13, 2010 7:48 am

    Wow, thanks for making me aware of this feature! I will regroup with my colleagues and see if this might be useful to create a community surrounding one of our program areas. We already know that it has quite a bit of support behind it, but maybe this thing can help it grow!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      April 13, 2010 8:14 am

      Great… just clearly understand the difference. Pages are for the name of your organization… Community Pages for causes. Good luck.

  6. April 13, 2010 7:57 pm

    Thanks for the info. We are a non-profit organization with a mission to help out-of-school youths and adult school leavers to finish their education for free. Hope there is a page where we can ask for support and where kind-hearted persons can log in to find them. Thanks.

  7. April 15, 2010 6:28 am

    Donordrive2010 looks just like any other fan page to me. I don’t get the difference between the look/layout of community and fan pages?

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      April 15, 2010 11:22 am

      There is no difference in look or toolset… until it reaches the magic number which no one knows yet. Could be 10,000. Could be 1,000,000.

  8. April 15, 2010 6:30 am

    Thanks so much for posting something on this — I just noticed Community Pages yesterday. The WILD Foundation has a successful facebook page (we also have one for our most recent world wilderness congress, WILD9). We’re launching a new vision – movement – goal for the conservation community at large. Since this is not a project, nor it is a stand-alone nonprofit (it will eventually be a part of many groups both for and non-profit) — I was looking for an option on facebook that reflected this community/movement approach. I look forward to using our “Nature Needs Half” community page to build a community around this vision! Please feel free to keep track of what we’re doing….things will start rolling quickly within the next few months!

  9. April 19, 2010 11:00 am

    A week later, I am rethinking the decision to build a Community Page around DonorDrive2010… I think Community Pages are better suited toward overall causes/issues (“organ donation”), and not campaigns (“Donor Drive 2010”) which are unlikely to hit the magic number of fan.

    Also, FB has finally provided more details about how Community Pages will work, and it’s totally different than initially expected. The fans will NOT be able to directly post or control anything. It’ll all be based on connections to Wikipedia articles. Ugh. See below.

    This part is disappointing:
    “Community Pages are a new type of Page that enable you to see what people are saying about the things that matter to you, and discover the friends and people who share these connections with you. They are similar to any other Page to which you can connect, although they won’t generate stories in your News Feed, and won’t be maintained by a single author.”

    No stories in the News Feed? Yikes!

    Even worse, on the topic of fans updating a Community Page (which is how they originally said it would work… reach X number of fans, and the content is turned over to the fans…)
    “When available, we update the information and profile picture based on the article for that topic in Wikipedia. At this time, there is no way for people who choose to connect with a Community Page to add their own pictures or edit the information.”

  10. Jackie Carl permalink
    April 21, 2010 7:29 am

    I agree – I’m not sure of how the community page change is really better for FB. Maybe to consolidate some fan pages?

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      April 23, 2010 12:07 pm

      I have figured it out. They don’t want clutter. Hard to explain, but I kinda hate Facebook now.

  11. April 21, 2010 10:25 am

    So if we are a comunity group ad we ha d a “fan” page and it sems that they are switching us over to whre people can “like” us, but we are a BRAND/COMPANY, we are not just promotion one cause, is there a way we can change our status to remain having a “fan” page?


    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      April 23, 2010 12:06 pm

      No… fan pages are gone.

  12. Beth Lovain permalink
    April 21, 2010 8:02 pm

    Hi Heather —

    I cannot express how helpful your presentation was at the LEAD Hands On Network Conference. I have talked to others and your seminar was — by far — the best. I was so inspired by your presentation and decided to recognize the influences that make my home city great. I am creating a community page called AlexandriaImpact @AlexImpact where I invite people to share the people, groups, actions and issues that impact Alexandria VA. Alexandria has been recognized as the number one leader in volunteerism, so we are a prime site to enumerate the unique and interesting people and events this City has to offer! Here’s our facebook community page — in progress — but I’m trying to incorporate what your taught us!!! (Working on adding twitter widgets, but obviously took poor notes.) Thanks again!!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      April 23, 2010 12:06 pm

      THANK YOU very much!

  13. April 23, 2010 2:09 pm

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on what you see happening with Facebook. We claimed a community page just to hold onto it but we coulnd’t see any value to do anything with it as we already have our fan page, now “like” page.

    I agree with you that facebook’s changes don’t always make sense. For instance, what do we now call our fans? Likers??

    Thanks so much, Heather! You’re the best!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      April 23, 2010 2:13 pm

      Thanks Deb! I am going to a be a little more outspoken about Facebook now. Some stuff going on I really do not like!

  14. Bradley permalink
    April 28, 2010 1:33 pm

    Thank you for this post! I work for a library system and one of our public libraries was notified that their FB page was going to be converted to a Community Page. Thanks to this post, we will be able to authenticate and keep the official page!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      April 28, 2010 1:35 pm

      Bradley… please let me know how many “Fans” er “Likes” the Page had when Facebook contacted. Unless it had 50,000 or more, I smell a rat. 🙂

      • Bradley permalink
        April 28, 2010 1:37 pm

        Only 118! I am not an admin on the page, and I haven’t seen the notification they received, so I’m still trying to figure out what’s happening.

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      April 28, 2010 1:43 pm

      Would you be willing to tell tell me the name of the Page? If it is the name of library, then something is off. If it is something like “Support your local library” then they have the right to do that, but I am absolutely shocked they would do it for a Page that has 118 fans. They claim they only do it when a Page becomes “popular”. Facebook’s is up to pretty sneaky stuff right now.

  15. Charlotte permalink
    May 10, 2010 7:11 am

    Thanks for the post, very helpful!

    The organisation I work for is the secretariat of an international network of organisations, and we have a fanpage for the network. When I just searched facebook, I discovered that a community page has also sprung up for our network. It doesn’t have any likes yet, but I find it somewhat disturbing that it exists: we didn’t create it, where did it come from? Can we get rid of it? And how do we authorise/authenticate our existing fanpage so that it doesn’t at some point get handed over to the Facebook community?

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      May 10, 2010 7:16 am

      Hi… I think it is slowly starting to hit the nonprofit sector… the implications of these Community Pages. Right now there is now way to remove the Community Page for your organization… and authentification and appealing is only relevant when your Official Page is downgraded to a Community Page. Not relevant in this instance. Stay tuned. When I find out if there is a way to delete Community Pages, I’ll let you know. I doubt it though.

  16. July 29, 2010 1:57 am

    Thanks for the article. Enjoyed reading it.

  17. Kat permalink
    November 11, 2011 8:25 pm

    I’m new to community pages, but am a major pet and cat advocate, and have 3 community pages that are new and extremely small so far: (also, is there a way to get rid of or delete a community page if you are the admin of it, once it is up or published????)

    Black Cat Protection

    Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) for ferals and strays

    In Memory of Neptune: Missing since Halloween 2005

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      November 12, 2011 10:10 am

      No way to get rid of at the moment, but Facebook appears to be phasing them out slowly.


  1. Four Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Reconsider Facebook « Nonprofit Tech 2.0
  2. How Facebook Community Pages Undermine Nonprofit’s Official Pages in Facebook Searches « Nonprofit Tech 2.0
  3. How Facebook Community Pages Can Damange Your Business or Nonprofit | Honey Tree Media | Blog
  4. SocialCo » Blog Archive » Facebook para ONG I: perfil, página o grupo

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