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HOW TO: Custom Design Your Nonprofit’s Facebook Timeline

March 5, 2012

The new Facebook Timeline for Pages design provides nonprofits a great opportunity to make a strong first impression on potential new fans. My graphic design skills are average at best – as the graphics on the new Nonprofit Organizations Timeline attest to, but I have detailed the how-to of custom designing your nonprofit’s Facebook Timeline below. I will also be demonstrating click-by-click the new Facebook Timeline Admin Panel, the how-to of custom designing a Facebook Timeline, and how to create custom tabs in my upcoming webinars on Facebook and Facebook Apps for Nonprofits.

1) Upload a Timeline Cover :: 850 Pixels X 315 Pixels

To upload a Timeline Cover to your nonprofit’s Facebook Page, simply hover your mouse over the area at the top of your page where cover photos are featured and an “Add a Cover or Change Cover” pop-down menu will appear that will allow you upload a cover photo:

NOTE: Facebook’s policies on Timeline banners are as follows: 1) No price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website.” 2) No contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section. 3) References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features. 4) Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”.

2) Upload a Profile Picture :: 180 Pixels X 180 Pixels

Next, hover over your nonprofit’s avatar and upload a profile picture. As I have said many, many times your avatar a.k.a. profile picture must be square otherwise it gets cropped when you post status updates a.k.a. stories to the news feed. Building a powerful visual brand of your nonprofit’s avatar is crucial on all social networking sites and a cropped, messy logo a.k.a. avatar is an absolutely worst practice:

3) Upload Application Icons :: 111 Pixels X 74 Pixels

Finally, an exciting new design option for Facebook Timeline is the ability to upload custom images for your custom tabs. To begin, select the applications drop down menu > the pencil icon for the app icon that you want to edit > Edit Settings > Change Custom Tab Image > Change Page Tab Image > Upload your custom app icon:

Related Links:
Webinars: How Nonprofits can Successfully Use Facebook and Facebook Apps :: Beginner/Intermediate and Advanced
11 Inspiring Nonprofit Facebook Timelines

43 Comments leave one →
  1. Leslie permalink
    March 5, 2012 6:52 am

    I have tried uploading a cover photo that is 850 pixels X 315 pixels, but the image still appears pixelated and blurry. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      March 5, 2012 8:09 am

      You need a higher res graphic…

  2. March 5, 2012 7:05 am

    Thank you for this blog post, it’s useful especially for the dimensions of the cover photo.

  3. March 5, 2012 8:03 am

    This is really, really helpful. thanks a lot for the step-by-step instructions. I have had such a dislike for timeline, but this will help me to make the transition w/o kicking and screaming. Great work!

  4. March 5, 2012 8:51 am

    Great info! Anyway of making this a printable article or pdf?


  5. March 5, 2012 11:25 am

    The ability to change the tab icon is a huge deal for us. Thanks so much for this update.

  6. kab13 permalink
    March 5, 2012 7:30 pm

    Reblogged this on Electronic Communication @ NDSU and commented:
    When we start working with NPs during the second half of the course, I bet some will be interested in having students help them custom design the FB timeline.

  7. March 6, 2012 7:02 am

    As always, the information you provide is super helpful. Thank you very much!

  8. March 7, 2012 7:01 am

    Custom tab icons seem to me to be a poor substitute for the loss of prominence of a “welcome tab” or “welcome gate.” However, better than the standard tab icon of past. I suspect that the trend will be towards making the custom photo the “welcome” photo for NGO Pages on Facebook.

  9. March 7, 2012 7:35 am

    I’ve been updating our page today, using this blog as a guide! Thanks so much for the ste-by-step guide! I’d love to know what you think of our page

  10. March 7, 2012 5:21 pm

    Outstanding information……………………thank you so much

  11. March 9, 2012 11:04 am

    Do you know what you have to do in order to have text displayed under your nonprofit’s name (above the About link)? I would like to have our mission displayed there. Your example has the information about the Nonprofit of the Month. Thanks! –

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      March 19, 2012 4:22 am

      You haven’t yet upgraded to Timeline. That’s the first step.

  12. Sybil Hunt permalink
    March 9, 2012 3:28 pm

    I “forged ahead” and published our page in the new format. However, I’ve just learned that my team leaders want to return to the old version until March 30th. How can I “unpublish” this new format without unpublishing our page?

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      March 13, 2012 12:37 pm

      Don’t know. Click around the Admin Panel to see if it is possible or search the FAQ on Facebook.

  13. March 13, 2012 8:37 pm

    Facebook has already made the cover photo mandatory to profiles and pages. Actually, it’s a great way for businesses to promote their product.

  14. March 14, 2012 8:06 am

    Is anyone having problems uploading custom applications icons? When I try to upload the ones that I made I get random photos instead of my photo. Each time I retry I get a new, random photo that I have never seen. These photos are coming from Facebook, not my computer. Very weird and buggy!

    • March 20, 2012 2:00 am

      This is a glitch at the moment. We have had the same issues, as indeed have others, and I believe FB are looking into it. Bit of a nuisance really, hopefully it will soon be sorted.


  15. March 15, 2012 9:21 pm

    I can’t find a way to change the picture that appears on the Photo “app” tab, though I see that many of those in your set of 11 inspiring timelines have clearly taken control of that element. I don’t get a pencil when I hover on the photo tab; no dropdown menu appears, no sign of an “Upload Page Tab Image” dialog. Per FB help, I also tried: Manage>Edit Page>Apps>Photos>Edit Settings, but to no avail. Suggestion? Thanks!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      March 19, 2012 4:19 am

      Can’t help you without seeing your page. Make sure in fact you have a page, and not a profile. 🙂

      • March 23, 2012 2:06 pm

        I’ve having the same problem. FB automatically updates the photo app icon to whatever photo we most recently posted to our wall. Our page is Please help 🙂

      • nonprofitorgs permalink
        March 25, 2012 4:36 am

        That’s how it works. 🙂 I don’t upload photos… I post them as links from Pinterest.

    • March 30, 2012 3:32 pm

      Tricia, I finally figured that out, too. (We have a page: Looks like if the photo isn’t cropped just so, the image can be not so lovely. (Most turn out okay.) I waited until today to publish and I’m disappointed no longer to be able tee a new status story off of a link. But perhaps I have yet to discover that and other wonders.

  16. March 16, 2012 8:20 am

    Great How to advice, especially on the tab and application images – I’ve added it to my resource links in the post I did 🙂
    New Facebook Page Timeline for Charities – what is it you need to know?

  17. March 19, 2012 7:43 am

    We’re currently working to commemorate an upcoming event with the new timeline. Thanks for the step by step instructions. They’re extremely helpful!

  18. March 27, 2012 1:33 pm

    Nice one.. For personal covers most of the time I used

  19. April 11, 2012 11:01 am

    Trying to add another box to my facebook page and I am only given choices of notes and video. I already have photos, likes, maps and events. I added twitter before the change over and that was available through the app page as well. However, I would like to add a few more boxes to link to flickr, youtube and additional events. Anyone have the know how? Thanks

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      April 13, 2012 4:55 am

      You need to find out the name of the app you want first and then search for it in Facebook.

      • April 13, 2012 8:25 am

        Yeah, I did that. I was trying to link directly to my youtube and flickr accounts and going to the pages and apps from facebook didn’t give a choice for the actual app. Also did a google search and directly to youtube and flickr but no luck. Thanks for your response and all the great tips and webinars


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  3. What your nonprofit needs to know about switching to the new Facebook timeline « Social Media Marketing for Non-Profits
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  6. Advantages of the new Timeline for FB » The Healing Power of Social Media
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