Facebook Contests for Nonprofits: Should You Use a Third-Party App?

Main Page Content Facebook 8.27.13

This is a guest post from Sandra Morris of CafeGive, a leader in creating and executing Facebook contests for nonprofits and businesses. After Facebook recently changed its rules on contests, I asked Sandra what the changes meant and if organizations should continue to use third-party applications for contests.

Understanding the New Terms for Facebook Contests

First, let’s look at the major change Facebook made:

Administrators can now create promotions without being required to use third-party applications.

Facebook used to require a third party application to administer any contest, and expressly stated that you could not use its platform—meaning the newsfeed—to collect entries or to notify winners.

Several other requirements in the old policy have remained the same, however. Contest administrators still have to ensure that the contest operation is lawful, and include at minimum the following:

  • Official rules
  • Offer terms and eligibility requirements
  • A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant
  • An acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook

There are a few other, minor items beyond those points that you will need to know to keep your contest compliant. You can see all the new terms here.

Creating contests with third-party applications has become fairly common practice on Facebook. You can easily create and administer a third-party contest without any technical know-how, thanks to platform companies like ours, CafeGive Social.

With a limited set of graphics (a banner or two), your brand and messages, you can quickly get a contest page up and running. The most time-consuming part today for our customers is in creating the terms and conditions, making sure you have a covered the regulations, and ensuring your content’s compliant with the requirements Facebook has kept in place.

Third-party resources like CafeGive’s include a space to post this information, which is then linked to the contest so that it meets requirements.

Should You Still Use a Third-Party App?

We believe the best reason to use a third-party application is to produce a homepage for your contest. Third-party providers have created methods to visually brand your contest and link to all the required terms and conditions. But, more importantly, that homepage can also be the place you send people to learn about you, the contest and how to engage with your brand.

With a third-party app, you can:

  • Require a Like to enter the contest
  • Ask entrants for an email address
  • Reward entrants for promoting the contest
  • Collect and powerfully display content from consumers like photos, video or text from entrants
  • Host a contest on multiple Facebook pages—yours, your business sponsors’, others
  • Host a contest on your website and your Facebook page simultaneously
  • Use the unique URL of your contest in email promotions, text promotions and other social media posts to drive traffic (76% of contest entries online come still come from email, and a Facebook post cannot be sent as a URL)
  • Gain access to a variety of metrics including visits and conversions

Things to Consider if You Don't Use a Third-Party App

No doubt, it’s much easier to run with Facebook's new rules and simply create a post to launch a contest to your fans rather than to create a homepage for your contest. But consider the following:

  • How many fans see a typical post?
  • How often will you repost?
  • Will you pay to promote the post to get maximum exposure?
  • How will you notify the winner?
  • How will you make sure you have met all the regulations around contests on Facebook and in your locality?

If you have more questions about the changes to Facebook contests, or how a contest could support your marketing goals, you can contact Sandra and the CafeGive team here.

Related Pinterest Board: #FWB40 - Facebook Contest Fundraiser