Facebook's New Timeline For NonProfits

This is my journey of gathering and processing information in my quest to learn all there is to know about Non- Profits utilizing Facebook.

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  1. Beginning March 30th Facebook made the shift to the new TImeline layout and design mandatory. As expected when this information was released months prior to that date there was an uproar in the blogging and social media communities. In my quest to learn about the benefits of Facebook for Nonprofits this new shift has presented me with an abundance of current knowledge surrounding the rebranding of Nonprofits and the new implications of timeline. 
  2. The timeline it self was reoriented to better suit brand usage on their individual pages with certain features that presumably make it easier for the brand to display and manage information such as photos, locations statistics and events. 
  3. Many sites began to breakdown the new layouts so that users could better understand the benefits of the shift. Tech crunch gave great incite into these uncharted waters with a categorization of features that visually allow users to see where there focus needs to be directed. The  layout change has created a central focus on further connectivity of users through sharing of activity, similar applications as well as emphasis on visual appearance. 
  4. With the drastic change happening to all users of Facebook it was extremely important that all Non-profits with a presence and following on the site to prepare their own pages before the shift. Beth Kanter gave the reassuring advice to not panic but to remain calm and strategic in implementation. She better explains how this is not just a change in the visual design of the sight but it also will shift the way people both view and are impacted by pages. 
  5. Kanter reference a study on the Sociable blog showing the way the new Facebook layout is viewed in comparison to the old layout. The study shows that the prominent addition of the cover photo is typically going to be the first place on the new layout that users eyes will travel which is a shift from the previous focus on the wall. In fact in the new layout the wall will essentially be one of the last places the users eyes will venture to, which means the cover photo plays an important and impacting role. 
  6. Nonprofits especially need to choose a distinct eye-catching cover photo that visually displays their organizations very unique and heart wrenching story. Nancy Schawartz explains the proper way to execute these photos with an image framed by an appropriate and concise message that promotes a consistency for the overall page, emphasis on the appropriate aspect due to the Facebook rule against call to actions.  This consistency is a way to ensure that there is an understood connection between the cause and organization. She discusses the use of your organizations tagline to draw attention and establish a form of connection between the image and the cause, but there have been many examples of compelling photos with no wording what so ever. 

    Look Nonprofit Tech 2.0's perfect examples of Nonprofits utilizing impactful Cover images: 
  7. Screen shot 2012-04-03 at 8.14.20 AM
  8. ...Charity water used an photo that made you want to explore their site further with no promotion of the organization but a simple and lasting image.
  9. As if the above examples were not inspiring enough Beth Kanter provide a view into her process for creating a new cover photo for her own page. Her admission of lack of graphic experience provided a sense of relief for those small budgeted Non-profits who were envisioning the complicated process of creating a creative eye-grabing cover image. She used connections and the knowledgeable people around her to help her begin to format the creation of her unique page, which when you have people like her around is fairly simple to do. 

    She provided a link to Hongkiat.com for more inspiration and at the very bottom a template upon which a Nonprofit can base their layout... (which when unsure about how to get started is a great jumping off point)
  10. Following the path of inspiration for cover images some nonprofits have taken an even more inspiring approach of branching out beyond there own sites...
  11. ... Giving the option of downloadable cover images that are pre-made and display active support by fans. As Kivi Leroux Miller points out in her blog, this eliminates the hassle for users to find an image to put in the confining 850 pixels by 315 pixels. 
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  13. These images provide supportive tag lines that are reaching wider audience levels and creating an increased level of awareness. Though Kivi does bring up the point that these may be treading the thin line between a "call to action" and support, for now they can be considered creative genius. For Nonprofits who found it relatively easy to create their own visually appealing cover images it is a great device for generating publicity and support. 

    Check out these organizations on Nonprofit Tech 2.0, that have successfully implemented this idea already:  
  14. In relation to Nonprofits specifically all of the importance placed on imagery is primarily centered around conveying the story behind the organizations message. 
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