1. How to Get Your Rotary Club on Facebook

    Follow-up to: Your Rotary Club & Technology, in which we discussed fundraising through social networking sites. This article will act as a basic primer that Rotary clubs can use to help get their club onto Facebook successfully.

    What is Facebook

    In an effort to keep this article focused and helpful for those clubs who are already looking into Facebook and other social networking sites, we’ll try to skip basics such as this. There is a great wikipedia page that explains in great detail the answer to that question. In essence though, Facebook is a website or “social network” made up of friends, family, and acquaintances.

    Why Your Club Should Use Facebook

    Facebook allows for quick, personal interaction between people from other clubs and non-members.

    Facebook allows for quick, personal interaction between people from other clubs and non-members.

    Again, to save time, I’ll refer you to my previous article Your Rotary Club & Technology which outlines some of the potential reasons why you will find it beneficial to bring your club onto Facebook.

    Other basic reasons might include:

    • Ability to easily share club media — videos, photos, presentations
    • Easy club notifications with member updates
    • Online presence for clubs who have no website
    • Invite non-club members to participate and get involved with your causes
    • Expand the reach and effective operational range of your club beyond your local area.
    • Connect with the 100s of other clubs who are already on Facebook.

    A Few Notes Before You Dive In

    Facebook is not an easy-mode solution to your clubs fundraising and logistical problems. Just because you sign up here doesn’t mean your problems will disappear, it will require you and your club members to step out of their technological comfort zones.

    It’s not just for kids. Do not allow your doubts of technology and it’s relevance to your age group stop you from joining in. Many clubs with members of all ages are experiencing the fun and effectiveness of Facebook in both their personal life and their Rotary club.

    Step I: Find / Designate an Expert

    One of the most important ways to ensure that the transition goes smoothly is to either find someone who is already on Facebook and who knows its ins and outs, or designate someone within your club to research the idea and then take lead with the project.

    No doubt, if you’ve found this article, you are either that expert, or the designee. In that case, I promise to make this as easy and painless as possible.

    Step II: Get Members Online

    In order for the Rotary club to have an effective presence on Facebook, you need to get as many users online with their own account as possible.

    Rotarians are often busy people and it’s hard to just expect that they will all take the time to go make their own profile in a timely manner, some assistance and planning is required!

    Step II Actions:

    1. Have a Facebook Meeting – Get all your members together for a special project night, or in place of a regular meeting day. At this meeting the Facebook expert can walk the members through the process of setting up their account.
    2. Have each member setup an account with a valid email address; provide them instructions on how to customize their profiles, post their pictures, and write information about them.
    3. Walk members through the main functionality of Facebook, including a tour of its features.
    4. Cover the following subjects:
      1. How to find their friends — already on Facebook
      2. Controlling spam
      3. How to share links
      4. How to create friend lists
      5. Privacy, how to control their information
      6. How to share their videos and photos

    Step III: Setup a Facebook Page

    Now that your club members are online you can begin creating a presence for your club online.

    You’ll want to review Facebook’s guide (PDF) for creating and managing a page. It contains a great amount of useful information and can save you time.

    Once you’ve reviewed the guide, find out what materials to prepare, and then follow the step by step process for creating the Facebook Page.

    Step IV: Customize Your Page

    Once you’ve setup your page, be sure to include detailed information about your club. Follow any applicable action steps below.

    Step IV Actions:

    1. Add your logo – Make sure it is centered in the middle of the image so that it crops well for thumbnails. If worse comes to worse, just use the Rotary logo.
    2. Link to your website — if you have one.
    3. List your meeting times & locations.
    4. Add details about your Programs, History, and an invitation for people to join your club from within the “Notes” tab of Facebook.
    5. Upload photos and videos that relate to your club and its activities.

    Step V: Invite Club Members to Join

    This area of your page will act as your "action" center for your Facebook Page

    This area of your page will act as your action control panel for your Facebook page.

    Once you’ve completed the setup and basic customization of your club’s Facebook page, you need to invite them to join it and “become fans.”

    To do this, click the link directly below the logo that says “Suggest to Friends”. By this time, all Rotarian members in your club that are on Facebook should be set as friends on each other’s account.

    Simply select your Rotarian friends in this list and click “Send Invitations.”

    Prompt the members to accept the invite so that they become members or “fans” of your new Facebook page. They will have to manually click the “Become a Fan” link in order to be fans.

    Step VI: Designate Admins

    It’s important that you engage the services of the more adept members to run the Facebook page. These admins can help you moderate the page. Assign them tasks to ensure that one person isn’t the bottleneck for updates to the club pages.

    To designate other admins, click the link “Add Admins” and select which club members should be made admins. Usually, the club treasurer and the website committee all have access and are trained on how to do specific tasks.

    Step VII: Promote the Page

    Once you’ve created your new Facebook page it will slowly begin to show up in the search engines under your club’s name. Typically this process takes about 30 days, but it can often take less time.

    We recommend that club members share the link to their Facebook club page with any friends via email, a website link, or sharing through their Facebook account.

    Remember, the success of your club’s online presence will reflect how much effort you put into it. If you build it, and then simply leave it as is, you won’t see much success.

    Practical Uses for Your Facebook Page

    1. Send out invitations to club members and fans of your club with RSVP capabilities that will allow you to better plan events for your club.
    2. Send out club notices and updates to all members.
    3. Post speaker schedules.
    4. Post recorded video of presentations at your club.
    5. Upload photos from club outings or events.
    6. Become partners with other clubs.
    7. Create a home page for different causes that you promote on Facebook — collect donations.

    Final Thoughts

    A Facebook Page can create a great many opportunities for your club online. Therefore, more and more clubs are migrating to Facebook from more traditional, less manageable platforms such as static websites.

    Hopefully this primer is enough to get your club on the right path. If you found this guide helpful, please support our club the North Whidbey Island Sunrise Rotary Club at our club’s facebook page! We’d love to hear from you!

    If you are having technical difficulties or need more assistance, feel free to contact Sam Howat via Facebook.

    Please feel free to leave a message in the comments below with your questions, or with a little information about your Rotary club, or links to your Facebook page!