Pros & Cons of Facebook Advertising for Non-Profits

Social media has undoubtedly changed the game in terms of how fast an NGO can create awareness about its driving issues.  If you are considering using Facebook to advertise your business, here are some advantages and disadvantages you should consider.

With over 1 billion users who log on an average of 7 times a day, Facebook has become one of the most effective platforms for businesses to build relationships, market their services and get people talking. However, for many nonprofits, maintaining a Facebook advertising strategy can be daunting, costly as well as time-consuming.


Facebook’s reach is enormous, connecting people from across the globe all in one place. It is important that businesses use this to their advantage. Facebook allows ad creators to target their ads to certain demographics or to users with certain interests that the business feels are their current target market instead of just randomly sending out the ad’s in the hope that it reaches someone who is interested. They can do this because as Facebook users we enter detailed information about our likes, dislikes, hobbies, age, gender, etc.

As an organization, you can also target local areas relevant to your cause, which will result in your ad being shown to users most likely to click the ad or research your organization.

Facebook allows organizations to build relationships with potential supporters in a number of ways. The Facebook “page”, which is linked to the Facebook ad, advertises what the company has to offer and provides a platform for people to comment on and share information. Content posted ranges from images, status updates, videos, links, polls, surveys, and more. This allows you to post material that gets people talking, interested and supportive. It also creates a snowball effect. If one subscriber likes or comments on a post made on the page it will show up on their friend’s newsfeed, immediately reaching a wider audience. This kind of ever-expanding network of users helps educate more people about your cause and your organization.

The organization can monitor how successful its Facebook advertising scheme is by checking how many people like the page and how many people are talking about their business like this:

You can also monitor how many people click on your ad and use this to gauge the success of your campaign, depending on your particular campaign goals.


Nonprofit organizations often run on a small budget so advertising can become a costly undertaking for an NGO. The average rate ad will cost from R30 depending on how much you are willing to spend per day and how long you will run the promotion. In the end, the cost is dependent on the type of ad, your location, and how much work you are able to put into promoting your page. Campaigns with bigger budgets are the most likely to reach a wide audience. A good way to figure out whether or not a Facebook ad will be too costly or not would be to estimate an average cost during the ad creation process. This is done before any payment information is entered.

It is difficult to tell exactly how many hits your ad is getting as some users will see the ad and not click on it but rather research the company at a later stage through a search engine like Google. This affects your ad’s conversion rates as you only see how many times users click on the ad.

Users log into Facebook to communicate with their friends and often do not take much notice of ads. This kind of disinterest can also affect your page as users who like your page can unsubscribe from receiving your updates on their news feed as they are more interested in seeing updates from their friends and loved ones.

Although your page is a good way to promote interaction between your business and the customer it also opens up the business to negativity. Users may take to slandering the business’s name on the page or post complaints about services or issues with the business that they have come across. This is why it is important to have someone removing and screening what is posted on the page, even so it is still difficult to know how many people saw a negative post before it gets removed.

Creating a page and maintaining your ads on Facebook is extremely time-consuming especially when they are successful. Some NGOs do not have the staff capacity or budget to undertake a successful ad campaign on Facebook. However, if possible ad campaigns on social networks can become a crucial part in the success of your business especially if the aim is to gain support for an NGO.

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