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Showing impact as it happens

Donors and volunteers give their money and time not because they want to support a nonprofit, but because they want to change the world. They want to make an impact that matters — and when you show them that impact, they will likely continue their support.

Often, supporters are hearing about impact secondhand (through your newsletter, website, etc.). Rarely do they get to witness firsthand the impact of their support. But Facebook Live is a powerful way to bring the impact to your supporters.

Here's a brain dump of 35 ideas and examples to get you started with your own theme for Facebook Live.

Facebook Live ideas for art and history museums

  • Live unpacking of exhibits. Invite the artist to share the stories behind select pieces.
  • Live broadcast restorations. Invite viewers to ask questions about the process. Make sure you have your expert answer questions.
  • Try some of these creative experiments for Facebook Live from the Met.

Facebook Live ideas for symphonies and dance and theater organizations

  • Invite performers to teach live music lessons. Invite viewers to ask questions after each lesson.
  • Live stream each encore performance, giving viewers a taste of your awesome productions. Don't forget to include a link to your membership sales page!
  • Live stream select rehearsals. Invite directors to share their vision for the show while commenting on the live rehearsal.
  • Invite understudies to share their experiences during their apprenticeships.

Facebook Live ideas for science and technology museums

  • If parents are your best donors, live stream informal tours of exhibits for kids. Post a link to your ticket sales page.
  • Broadcast interviews with visiting scientists to discuss an exhibit. Invite viewers to ask questions. Don't forget to read questions before answering them.
  • Create a series that answers common misunderstandings about biology, astronomy, evolution, etc. Demystify any and all mysteries. Invite viewers to share their insights and knowledge.

Facebook Live ideas for environmental organizations

  • Live broadcast breaking news about the environment. For example, take viewers to the site of an oil spill.
  • Produce a regular series interviewing environmental scientists, activists, policy geeks and other experts.
  • Invite viewers to ask questions about global warming, the environment, etc. Have kids collect the questions and present the best ones to an expert.

Facebook Live ideas for animal welfare organizations

  • Live broadcast the arrival of new animals. Share their stories and how they were rescued.
  • Live broadcast feeding time for the most interesting animals. Invite an expert to answer questions about diet, behavior and characteristics of each animal.
  • Live broadcast a puppy (or kitty) cam during lunchtime each day. Call it therapy. Limit it to an hour. Or, interview your most charismatic adopters before they leave with their new friend! Ask them to share why they chose a specific dog or cat.

Facebook Live ideas for community foundations

  • Live broadcast selected sold-out training sessions. Invite viewers to ask questions. Invite them to register for the recording, slides, workbooks, etc.
  • Live broadcast your giving day. Go on-site to the most interesting events. Interview the executive director or other spokespeople.
  • Live broadcast open office hours for members (and nonmembers). Invite experts (volunteers or staff) to answer questions related to accounting, marketing, legal, etc.

Facebook Live ideas for youth organizations

  • Broadcast insider access to volunteering, games, awards and other moments of impact.
  • Produce a regular series of useful parenting tips on topics ranging from preventing bullying to social media safety. Invite kids and adults to be the experts.
  • Invite kids to create a series of live broadcasts featuring their interests. Give them the reins creatively, with the caveat that the show reflect your mission and values.

Facebook Live ideas for ministries and churches

  • Broadcast your most popular services — Easter, Ash Wednesday, Christmas, etc.
  • Broadcast a weekly prayer request. Invite viewers to request and/or offer prayers for anyone. Keep the focus on faith. Avoid politics.
  • Live broadcast your study groups. Answer viewer questions.

Facebook Live ideas for community gardens

  • Create a regular series teaching viewers how to be a better gardener. Share everything you know about growing vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc. Answer viewer questions.
  • Live broadcast your harvest. Show viewers your heirloom tomatoes, juicy strawberries, and beautiful sunflowers as they're being picked.
  • See how many rubber bands can fit around a watermelon, BuzzFeed style.

Facebook Live ideas for schools and universities

  • Offer regular tours of the campus to prospective students. Give them your best sneak peek. Invite them to download an info packet about your school (including a link to your website form).
  • Live broadcast the "red carpet" during graduation. Interview preselected graduates. Go beyond asking what they're wearing.
  • Create a live series about student life. Interview select students to share their stories — where they came from and where they're going.

Facebook Live ideas for human rights organizations

  • Live broadcast breaking news about policy changes, abuses, etc. Cover good and bad news.
  • Create a weekly show highlighting wins for the community. Invite expert guests to unpack issues.
  • Interview refugees, human trafficking victims, etc. Connect viewers with the people your organization fights for.
  • Live broadcast your local parade.

Top tips for your first Facebook Live broadcast

If you're planning your very first Facebook Live broadcast, remember these tips for success:

  • Don't freak out.
  • Get your feet wet with a small group.
  • Pick a specific topic people want to discuss.
  • Tell people when you're going live.
  • Make an outline for your broadcast.
  • Make sure the bandwidth is healthy.
  • Write a compelling description.
  • Respond to commenters.
  • Ask for follows.
  • Share the recording with your supporters.

For more from John Haydon, visit John's community for nonprofit marketers and fundraisers.

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MissionBox editorial content is offered as guidance only, and is not meant, nor should it be construed as, a replacement for certified, professional expertise.

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Digital PR and fundraising expert for nonprofits and charities