The Facebook Ladder of Engagement

Photo by John Loo

Facebook is about friendships. It’s about reconnecting with old friends, and keeping up with close friends. It’s about collaborating with private small groups, and sharing with the world.

In other words, Facebook is relational–it’s not transactional.

We’ve discussed before how Facebook is definitely not the greatest tool for fundraising if you view it as a tool for the transactional business of fundraising.

Tools Come Last

There are a few tools where you can conduct fundraising transactions on Facebook, but what makes these tools work is planning, measuring, and building relationships.

The Facebook Ladder of Engagement

Fundraising obviously involves building relationships with people and establishing trust, which Facebook is great for!

So where does Facebook fit with in the donor relationship?

Here’s a slide I usually like to share when giving presentations on this topic:

In Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, Beth Kanter and Katie Payne discuss the “ladder of engagement” as a way to visualize how nonprofits move people in stages from awareness to action.

This diagram can be called the “Facebook Ladder of Donor Engagement.”

The steps are meant to represent two measurements:

  1. Trust and Affinity–As people become aware of your organization and interact with you at different levels of commitment, which can mean that trust affinity increase.
  2. Audience Size–Similar to the sales funnel model popular in the for-profit world, audience sizes very become smaller at each stage of the game.

In this diagram, each step represents an action someone can take on Facebook to express their relationship with your org.

How is the ladder of engagement useful?

The Facebook Ladder of Engagement can be used to develop strategies for each step in the ladder.

For example, let’s image that reach is a problem for your organization. Using the ladder, you can ask: How can we increase awareness of our campaign on Facebook? What will motivate people to like comment on and share updates related to this campaign? Then, using data from Facebook Insights you can define the types of content people will talk about the most.

You can also use the ladder to determine what kind of Facebook ads you should use to target specific donor segments, what type of messaging to use in a petition, or how to reduce fan attrition.

How are donors engaging with you on Facebook?

12 thoughts on “The Facebook Ladder of Engagement”

    1. Thanks fort showing up, Beth. I’ve been talking about this model for years, but recently my thinking has changed slightly: nnNonprofits need to understand that just taking a step with a nonprofit (like a FB Page for example) doesn’t mean that they won’t go back down the ladder at some point. In truth, there’s the ladder an org uses as a model to develop strategy (as described in this post), but there’s also the ladder within each supporters heart.nnnFor example, this month many breast cancer orgs are naturally getting a lot of attention, but in December those same people will possibly be interested and active with other causes. nnIn other words, the ladder of engagement is essentially a dynamic continuum.

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  3. Building engagement to TRUST level in case of non profits and that too through Facebook is a daunting task, when I consider Indian context.

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