If you’ve changed your Facebook cover, you know it requires a hi-res photo of a very strange size (850 pixels x 315 pixels). While folks are busy scouring their computers for large photos, now is an excellent time for non-profits to create covers their supporters can share to spread their cause. After all, you don’t have to be friends with someone to see their cover, so it’s a free 850×315 billboard…..if you do it right.

How can non-profits use the new cover space to build their movement?

  1. Empower your already assembled audience: The Surfrider Foundation has over 80 grassroots chapters and some killer images of surf and snow. By offering lightly-branded Surfrider covers, they are spreading their gospel and some pretty jaw-dropping photos.
  2. Crowdsource your images: The Nature Conservancy already shares a daily nature photo on their homepage, and asks folks to submit their photos via Flickr. If you decide to go this route, be sure to give concise, easy steps for submission. The organization could increase engagement by hosting a ‘Best of’ contest and then using the winners as the official Nature Conservancy covers.
  3. Promote upcoming events: Team in Training, benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, has an unparalleled network of athletes training for and raising funds through marathons, triathlons, hikes and more. If Team in Training covers were available, runners of the Maui Marathon could publicize the event and raise more money for LLS.
  4. Celebrate shared accomplishments: 350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis and every year, they coordinate events on the same day in over 188 countries. Last year, 350’s mobilization efforts were so large they were photographed by a satellite in space! Ahead of the curve, 350.org already offers stunning Facebook covers. In addition to offering branded covers, they encourage supporters to upload their own 350 photos as their covers.
  5. Let simplicity shine: The National Resource Defense Council strikes the perfect balance of beauty and brand in their Facebook covers. They let the images convey their message, with simple and direct sentences: “Defend wolves. Save our Oceans. Save America’s last wild places.” What don’t they say? “Donate here! Buy now!” Beware of making your covers too solicitous or people likely won’t use them, and they could violate Facebook’s terms of use. People like the NRDC’s covers so much, they’re asking for more in the comments! (Specifically: snow leopards, cheetahs, and tree frogs.)

Now you know how to use covers theoretically, how do you create one, technically? Luckily, John Haydon wrote a post explaining just that.

Have you spotted any other organizations using Facebook covers to promote their cause? Let me know in the comments.

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