How to target your nonprofit ads in Facebook

An example of a targeted Facebook ad from NTEN
I was just checking in with Facebook, when an NTEN ad caught my eye.

It wasn't the image. (Not sure what that is.) But it was the "You're already a fan of NTEN..." line.

Let's face it, most Facebook ads are as effective as community bulletin boards at the supermarket--very easy to ignore.

But this NTEN ad worked because it made the direct connection to it and something I was already interested in. Brilliant!

To target your nonprofit's ads this well, simply go to There you can either click on "create an ad" or "manage existing ads."

As you're setting up your ad, you'll see a section called "Connections on Facebook." Choose the "Advanced connections" option as shown here:
A screen  shot of how to target your Facebook ad

Facebook already lets you target with great specificity. You can choose ages, cities, education levels, people celebrating birthdays, people working at certain companies. But by clicking on the "advanced connections" option, you can now get your ad in front of people that are either

  • connected to your Facebook page, event, or app or
  • people not yet connected to your Facebook page, event, or app!

So now you can market your event to people that already like you. Or you can promote your cause to people that haven't yet "liked" your page. You can now make the Facebook ad copy for each group very different, specifically fitting their level of engagement with your Facebook page or event. Just like NTEN did!

About Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman is the CEO of The Concord Leadership Group, the author of Ask Without Fear! and director of The Nonprofit Academy. A coach to leaders around the world, Marc's expertise and enthusiasm engages audiences and has caught the attention of media organizations as diverse as Al Jazeera and Fox News. Marc’s experience also includes pastoring a Vineyard church, managing a gubernatorial campaign, and teaching internet marketing and fundraising at colleges and universities. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook.
To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to


  1. Glad you liked it, Marc! Facebook's targeting options are pretty fantastic.

    The FB ad targeting our Fans directly has more than double the click-through rate as the more general campaign showing up for folks interested in "nonprofits". Interestingly, they're about equally as likely to bounce once they get to the landing page.

    We'll be experimenting more with ads on FB and LinkedIn (and possibly Yahoo) over the coming months, and will write up some reports on our blog.

    The image, by the way, is original artwork we had commissioned for this year's NTC. It performed much better than the other images we tested, likely because of its color and unusual look. At some point, we're sure to use pics of cute animals, as well...


  2. Love it Brett! Maybe you can find some animated gif with dancing cats and test that. 🙂


  1. [...] think your ads on Facebook are living up to their potential, read Marc Pittman’s post How to Target Your Nonprofit Ads in Facebook for a few [...]

  2. [...] haven’t created enough ads to offer advice in that area ? although this one was well received ? but if you want to track it in Google Analytics, you must get the URL to your landing page [...]

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