How to Use Facebook Messenger: A Complete Guide for Nonprofits

April 17, 2023

If you want to drive donations and build lasting support for your nonprofit, you have to effectively engage with your audience and build brand awareness. It’s a simple ask, to be sure, but the answer to how is becoming increasingly opaque in the oversaturated, overstimulated world we live in today. 

A huge part of getting it right? Making sure that you have a strong online presence and that you’re keeping up with the customer expectations, technological advancements, and marketing trends that actually move the needle today. 

For nonprofits, Facebook Messenger is becoming an increasingly important element of an effective strategy. Here’s why it’s such a crucial tool and how to set it up for your organization. 

Facebook Messenger: The Basics 

First things first: what is Facebook Messenger and how does it work? If you’re one of the 2.96 billion people who actively use Facebook each month (or even if you just check it to keep up with birthdays), you’re at least tangentially aware of the Facebook Messenger app. 

If not, here’s the 30,000-foot view. Facebook Messenger is a dedicated, standalone messaging app and platform that allows its users to send and receive messages, photos, videos, voice recordings, and other types of files with just a few clicks. You can also use the tools to make voice and video calls with other users via smartphone, tablet, or computer. 

The important thing to be aware of here is the depth and breadth of capabilities that the tool has, which go well beyond sending straightforward chat-style messages. You can join group chats, send reactions and stickers, play games, accept payments, and even communicate with people who are not Facebook users. And it has massive reach as a result. As of January 2023, advertisers could reach an estimated 931 million users on the platform, and it’s estimated that people send over 100 billion messages on the platform every day. 

Organization in all industries use Facebook Messenger for: Customer service, Marketing and Sales, Chatbots, Appointment Scheduling, and Feedback Collection

Many businesses actively use the tool as a result. Specifically, organizations in all industries use Facebook Messenger for: 

  1. Customer service: Many businesses use Facebook Messenger to provide fast, intuitive customer support, responding to customers' queries, complaints, and feedback in real-time, often even 24/7. 
  2. Marketing and sales: Businesses also use Facebook Messenger to send marketing messages, promotions, and sales pitches directly to their customers. They can also use Messenger to initiate sales conversations and take orders from customers using Facebook Pay.
  3. Chatbots: Chatbots are often used to automate customer interactions on Messenger. They’re specifically adept at answering frequently asked questions, providing product recommendations, and even taking orders - though they fall short when it comes to more complex, long-form customer questions or concerns. 
  4. Appointment scheduling: Messenger can also be used as a scheduling tool: customers pick a date and time that works for them, and the business can confirm the appointment directly on Messenger.
  5. Feedback collection: Finally, Messenger is frequently used to collect customer feedback, surveys, and reviews. Specifically, businesses can use Messenger to ask customers for their opinions and insights, which can help them improve their products and services.

The Benefits of Using Facebook Messenger for Nonprofits 

As we said, there’s a lot of depth and breadth to the tool. But how does this apply to the nonprofit world, and why should you consider adding Facebook Messenger to your outreach toolkit? 

Here are 8 reasons why Facebook Messenger can be valuable for your organization. 

1. You can reach your audience easily and effectively 

To spread awareness, you have to go where your audience is – and no matter who they are, what sector you work in, or where in the world you operate, the most likely place you’ll find them is on social media. Some quick statistics on Facebook in particular: 

  • As we mentioned, Facebook has over 2.9 billion active users each and every month
  • 67% of those users hop on the platform every single day 
  • 1.38 billion people use Facebook Messenger around the world
  • 63.7% of Americans over the age of 13 are exposed to Facebook ads 

In short, whether we like it or not, this is the place to be if you want widespread engagement and outreach. 

2. This type of interaction meets modern user expectations 

Another important piece of the puzzle? Today’s audiences expect you to find them and engage with them where they already are, and they’re becoming more and more impatient when you offer them anything less. In 2023: 

  • Over 60% of customers don’t feel like they’re getting excellent customer service on social media when they’re trying to make a purchase 
  • 68% of US consumers currently use, or would like to use, social media to engage with brands to ask questions before making a purchase, while 59% of consumers expect to do so to get post-purchase customer support 
  • Marketers who follow their customers across 3 or more channels earned a 494% higher order rate than those who tried to force them to stay on one channel 
  • 86% of consumers will leave a brand after as few as two poor experiences 

In short - they want you to follow them on to social channels, and they’ll drop off if you don’t. This, in large part, has everything to do with modern technology and capabilities, which have driven customers to expect seamless experiences across all channels. Case in point when it comes to companies that completely changed expectations? Amazon Prime and Apple. 

Using Amazon Prime, you can get any item you’re looking for delivered to your doorstep in 24 hours or less. Your payment method is already saved, you have plenty of reviews and options to simplify your decision-making, and – if you’re feeling fully impatient – you can track your package every step of the way. Oh, and you get free shipping, free (usually boxless and labelless) returns, and free replacements or refunds if the package is lost or stolen. It’s no wonder why 76% of customers now expect companies to understand their unique needs, and 41% of people find themselves to be more impatient than they were 5 years ago. 

And what Amazon has done for customer service requirements, Apple has done for tech expectations. Now, if you get a new iPhone, you simply put it on the table next to your old device and all your data syncs over automatically. Your TV, computer, tablet, and laptop are all automatically connected and synced, and you can even work seamlessly across devices if one screen isn’t cutting it. 

And that’s not even scratching the surface of what you can do and access on each one of those devices. 

Such frictionless, multitouch experiences have massively increased customer expectations – and multiplied impatience with companies or online interactions that don’t meet their needs in the same way. 

When this is the new “gold standard,” you can see why, if a nonprofit isn’t using a social media chat tool, they run the risk of falling behind the needs and wants of supporters globally. 

3. Using Messenger builds trust in your brand 

Nonprofits, more than possibly any other sector, rely on building trust, increasing awareness, and getting your audience to buy into the importance of reaching a common goal - the further progression of the nonprofit’s mission. 

Today, it’s much easier to get people to buy into your vision and believe in you over anyone else if they can reach you. By providing a platform where supporters can communicate with you directly, Facebook Messenger provides an opportunity to build relationships and engage effectively with your community. It also gives nonprofits the ability to add immediate value back to the supporter, with a seamless way to provide access to needed resources upon request. This immediately gives the user the impression that you will have their back, and that they will be supported throughout their engagement with your business. 

It can increase daily engagement: Fundraise,Send updates & alerts, Provide Support & Counseling, Host Events and Increase Advocacy.
4. It can increase daily engagement 

To that end, Facebook Messenger is also an extremely powerful tool for increasing engagement in a variety of use cases, as it can be used to: 

  • Fundraise: You can use Messenger to create fundraising campaigns and encourage supporters to donate. You can also add a personalized touch by sending unique messages, thanking supporters for past donations, or asking them to donate again.
  • Send updates and alerts: You can also use Messenger to send updates and alerts to supporters about important news, events, and initiatives. This can help keep supporters engaged and informed about the work your nonprofit is doing. 
  • Provide support and counseling: Some nonprofits even utilize Messenger to provide support and counseling to people in need. This can include offering mental health support, advice on legal issues, or guidance on financial matters.
  • Host events: Host virtual events – such as Q&A sessions, panel discussions, and webinars – to reach a wider audience and engage with supporters in real time.
  • Increase advocacy: Use Messenger to encourage supporters to take action on important issues, such as signing petitions or contacting their elected representatives. This can be particularly helpful during times of need, as you can use the tool to drive organic engagement and mobilize the masses when it’s needed most. 

5. Messenger is easy to use 

Messenger is easy to use and can be accessed on all devices anywhere, at any time. This makes it extremely convenient for supporters to stay in touch with your organization, and for less tech-savvy members of your organization to effectively reach out online. 

What’s more, Messenger allows nonprofits to respond to supporter inquiries and concerns quickly, improving supporter satisfaction and retention over time. And with the right infrastructure, all these interactions can be dynamically built upon and incrementally improved. 

6. It’s cost-effective 

Messenger is also extremely cost-effective for various reasons. For one, it’s a free tool, which can save you money on communication and outreach efforts. Additionally, it can save you money in various other ways: 

  • Using Facebook Messenger, you can communicate with customers, answer questions, and provide support, all at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods like phone support.
  • You can run ads directly within the platform. These ads can be targeted to specific audiences, making them more effective and cost-efficient. Alternatively, you can communicate with your supporters one-on-one within the platform, eliminating the need for ad spend altogether. 
  • You also lower the cost of other communication tools like direct mail, email marketing platforms, paid ads, and other tools that require you to pay per send. 

7. You can use Messenger for crucial analytics insights  

Messenger provides analytics tools that can help nonprofits track engagement, measure the success of their outreach efforts, and improve messaging. Specifically, Messenger’s analytics can help your organization: 

  • Understand supporter behavior: Messenger analytics can help you understand how supporters interact with their messaging, including how often they open and engage with messages, what types of content they prefer, and what times they are most active on Messenger. This information can help you learn about your supporters’ affinity to your cause and collect personal stories. It can subsequently help you tailor your messaging to better meet their needs. 
  • Improve targeting: With Messenger analytics, you can also see who your most engaged supporters are and target them with personalized messaging campaigns. This can help improve conversion rates and increase supporter loyalty.
  • Streamline performance tracking: Messenger analytics can provide you with real-time data on the performance of your messaging campaigns, allowing you to quickly identify what is working and what isn't. 
  • Enhance customer support: You can also use Messenger analytics to monitor support conversations and identify areas where you can improve your service. This can help improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

How to Set Up Facebook Messenger for Your Nonprofit 

So how do you set up a Facebook Messenger account for your nonprofit? 

If you already have Messenger turned on, this is a great time to check and see if any subscribers have already accumulated! To find them, you can leverage Facebook’s Nonprofit Manager tool to get more details about your existing social community.

Once you find them, you can filter and target your audience by key traits such as “subscriber” and “recurring donor”. Further, the have been recent updates that allow nonprofits to turn on automated messages to supporters that further enhance the supporter experience (and this feature has already proven to be extremely effective for nonprofits everywhere).

And remember: since your subscribers have already interacted with your Facebook page, they’re familiar with your brand and interested in what you have to say. In fact, sponsored messages to subscribers have an 80% open rate, while cold emails are lucky to get 10%. 

If you don’t already have Facebook Messenger, here are a few basic steps to get your account up and running. 

1. Make sure you have it enabled on your Facebook page 

4 steps to make sure its enabled on your Facebook Page

When you create a page for your nonprofit on Facebook, it’s likely that Messenger will already be enabled on your page. To confirm, simply: 

  • Navigate to your page settings
  • Click on “General” 
  • See if “People can contact my page privately” is enabled next to Messages.
  • If it’s not enabled already, click on “Edit” in the same row, and turn on the feature 

2. Add a “Send Message” button to your profile

To help users easily navigate to your Facebook Messenger, make sure you have the button on your page. 

screenshot of facebook profile page

To accomplish this, go to your page, click on “Add a Button” and select “Send Message” from the dropdown list. You can also customize the CTA on the button if you want to personalize it and make sure it’s appealing to your audience. 

3. Allow messages from event guests

If your nonprofit business hosts and/or promotes events on Facebook, you should also make sure that your guests can easily ask questions or make reservations via the Messenger app. This is done when you’re creating an event on Facebook. At this stage, go to “Event Settings” and enable the messaging checkbox. 

4. Be sure to enable automated responses

The beauty of Facebook Messenger is that it can be automated and hands-off for FAQs and other basic inquiries. As mentioned earlier, you can also set up certain automated messages directly from Facebook Nonprofit Manager.

A greeting message

This is a message that is automatically sent to anyone who initiates a conversation with your nonprofit on Facebook Messenger. It can be a simple greeting message that welcomes the user and informs them that their message has been received, and it’s a must-have today. To add a greeting message, you: 

  1. Go to your page’s General Settings and select “Messaging”
  2. Scroll down and turn “Show a Messenger Greeting” on
  3. To edit the greeting, click “Change”
  4. Select “Add Personalization.” This allows you to include elements like the user’s name, your Facebook page link, your website, or your nonprofit’s phone number.
  5. Click “Save” 
Instant replies

Instant replies are automated responses that are sent to users who message your business outside of business hours. You can customize these replies to include information about when your business will be available to respond to their message, and they can increase trust and user satisfaction. To set up instant replies, you: 

  1. Navigate to your page’s General Settings and select “Messaging” 
  2. Scroll down and select “Set up automated responses” 
  3. Click on “Instant Reply.” 
  4. Press “Edit” to customize your message.
  5. Make sure Messenger is checked off under Platform. 
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Set up a list of commonly asked questions with their respective answers, and make them easily accessible to users. This will save time for your customer service team and provide users with quick answers to their questions. To do this on the app, you: 

  1. Select “Inbox” at the top of your page
  2. In the left menu sidebar, select “Automated Responses” 
  3. Click “Frequently asked questions”
  4. Select “Edit” 
  5. Add a question and then fill out your response.
  6. Select “Add Personalization” to add relevant details like the user’s name or even your nonprofit’s phone number 
  7. Save your reply
Feedback and surveys

After a customer has donated, signed up for an event, or received information, you can set up automated messages to ask for feedback or to send a survey. This can help improve your nonprofit’s online presence and customer experience.

Comment to message

Facebook Messenger also lets you set up automatic responses to comments on your page that contain specific hashtags. This is especially helpful if you’re running a campaign or hosting an event that involves using hashtags. For example, let’s say you’re an environmental nonprofit running an event where users share their stories using the hashtag #cleanerearth. Every time there’s a comment containing that hashtag, you can send that user a message thanking them for their story. You can even ask their permission to repost their story for user-generated content.  

5. Track Messenger analytics

Finally, don’t forget to pay attention to your analytics and adjust your messaging and strategies accordingly! Paying attention to this data is crucial if you want to maintain engagement and reduce friction on your page. 

And there you have it! Follow these tips, and you’ll have your nonprofit’s Facebook Messenger account up and running in no time. For more Facebook tips and tricks, check out our eBook, Setting up Facebook Giving Tools: The Complete Guide for Nonprofits. You can also contact us directly to learn more about how to get a proven effective Messenger strategy set up for your nonprofit.

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