Reading time: 13 minutes

Social Media For Nonprofits: How To Succeed On Social Media

Published: May 7, 2018

According to a recent survey, the average person has five social media accounts and spends over an hour browsing through these networks every day. Social media may be a very competitive space but it is a fantastic platform for nonprofits to expand their reach. Through social media, nonprofits can tell their story, get people to volunteer, engage their supporters, and raise donations.

In this article, I will take you through 8 effective methods to increase your social media following, expand your reach, and succeed on social networks!

Divide your audience

Divide your ideal supporter base into volunteers, donors, and the people ready to share your message within their social network. So that your organization can reach them more effectively.

Persona development helps you know your audience better, i.e., who they are, where they are, and how to speak to them on a personal level. This will help you determine the right social channels for your cause and the posting schedule. With this information, you can create and promote content that aligns with the sentiments of your audience.

By dividing your audience, you can:

  • Construct your message around the interests of the target audience.
  • You can use more accurate mediums for delivering your message.

Pro tip: Every social channel has a different posting schedule. So, do your research before scheduling your posts. The ideal time is 11 am or 5 pm (EST) from Tuesday to Thursday.

Use humor

Humor is key to grabbing the attention of your audience. The reason behind it is simple – people remember how you make them feel. Making people laugh, giggle, and chuckle reduces stress and makes them feel good. It also projects an image that there are real people, with real personalities behind your content.

Humour can boost your brand and create engagement. If misused, it can cause people to unfollow you. To leverage humor in a way that engages your supporters, you must follow these three steps:

  1. Consider your audience: Think through the interest of your audience. Are you trying to engage more millennials or baby boomers? And then use the right kind of humor that will attract this group.
  2. Document a plan: Be strategic about how often you inject humor into your posts. Test it out and if it works you can move forward with humor as a tactic for your nonprofit marketing.
  3. Aling with your brand: To avoid confusing your audience, align your style of humor with the general tone of your organization.

For example, Metro Trains Melbourne used humor to help prevent train injuries with their popular video ‘Dumb ways to die’. Using humor did wonders for their brand and helped in expanding their reach.

In 2010, charity 10:10 released a short film called “No Pressure” a humorous fantasy about blowing up people (including children) who aren’t enthusiastic about reducing carbon emission. The organization was viewed negatively by the public and had to remove the film from circulation on the same day they released it. This is an example of humor gone wrong.

Make use of videos

Videos are one of the most engaging pieces of content you can post on social media. It gets more attention than written articles. Posting videos of volunteers taking part in an event or attending a rally can be extremely persuasive as the viewers will know what your organization does.

Through the use of videos, you can make your donors and supporters feel like they are part of your mission, know they play a big role in making a difference, and see how their efforts are accomplishing results.

Example: The Robin Hood Foundation uses videos to tell the stories of their beneficiaries. They make use of testimonials which acts as validation for their cause.

Use hashtags

For nonprofits, using hashtags will help in expanding your reach, expose your content to a wider audience, and create awareness for your cause.

When people search for a hashtag used by your organization, your post and profile will pop up first. This way, you can reach people whom you could not have reached without hashtags.

Hashtags are used to search for content and broadcast information to potential supporters without spending a single penny! With its use, you can create a trend regularly and spread your movement.

You can use tags like #DonateTuesdays to encourage donors to make a donation on a particular day. Here, you are using the momentum of an already popular hashtag to promote your cause.

For example, Just Be Inc. used #MeToo which provides empowerment through empathy to survivors of sexual assault, abuse, exploitation, and harassment. Millions of men and women responded, within days, with their own stories. This proves how important hashtags are to spring a movement. Hashtags can be used to increase donations as well.

You can use Hashtags to increase donations. Charity: water used #firstworldproblems to encourage the movement and to raise $42 million dollars.

Hold creative contests

Holding creative contests are a popular way for nonprofits to raise funds, promote their mission and build their mailing lists. It can also help you increase your social media following and stimulate interest in your cause. Hold contests on your Facebook page or Instagram profile.

You can host a giveaway in which participants just have to submit their email address in the contest page’s form and they’ve entered to win in a random draw. Or a referral contest in which everyone who enters the contest receives a small prize. Once they’ve entered they’re emailed the gift certificate or code along with a URL which is unique to them. Then they must share the URL with their friends, family, and colleagues to enter the contest (via that URL) to win a larger reward.

Also, experiment with photo contests and caption contests to gauge which type of contests bring in more engagement.

Don’t give prizes unrelated to your organization; unrelated gifts will generate a lot of participation but not necessarily from the people who will become donors or volunteers. An ideal prize would be tickets for your event or a gala hosted by your organization. And thank the ones who didn’t win.

For example, Regence BlueCross BlueShield and Pro Photo Supply co-sponsored the Hearts in Nature photo contest to raise money and help the Dougy Center continue in their efforts to better the lives of grieving children.

Creating a movement through Facebook profile pictures

Your nonprofits Facebook profile picture tells viewers whether you’re boring, interesting, fun, artistic or smart. It stands as a statement in itself.

Over the years, people have changed their profile pictures to support several movements. Nonprofits can use this strategy to spread their influence and cause.

For example, The Human Rights Campaign launched their marriage equality campaign for which users changed their profile pictures to a pink or red equal sign to support same-sex marriage. The HRC page shared a post asking Facebook users to support their cause. Within 24 hours, over 60,000 people shared their original post. The red sign was not just seen on Facebook, it migrated to Twitter and Instagram.

Tell your nonprofits’ story through Selfies

The best thing about selfies is that it generates content created by users. User-generated content is valuable as it opens up opportunities for engagement and participation. It inspires supporters and donors, encourages creativity, and shows that your organization values its supporters.

For example, Made Man organization launched a campaign to support Career Gear. Career Gear is a nonprofit that supports low-income men. As a part of the campaign, they asked readers to suit up and take a selfie with the hashtag #FormalFriday or #GentlemanUp. For every picture they posted, they donated $1 to Career Gear to help men in need. The campaign raised thousands of dollars for the nonprofit in a day. It reached over 30 million users over social media. Other user-generated content includes the ALS ice bucket challenge which raised over $115 million dollars.

Use Snapchat

Snapchat has emerged as a popular platform in recent years. On an average, Snapchat users open the app 18 times a day. You can use this medium to run your campaign and spread your message.

  • While running a campaign on Snapchat you must leverage the younger and female heavy characteristics to your advantage as 45% of users are between 18-24 years and 70% are female users.
  • Based on your targeting strategy, the next step is to advertise your campaign. Snapchat is a mobile app and people view their snaps in a vertical dimension instead of a horizontal dimension. So, your ads must be vertical with sound.
  • Creativity is the key to running a successful campaign. Snapchat users get reports on trending news and aligning your content with what’s trending is a great way to get discovered and go viral.
  • Build a landing page that is mobile friendly to optimize your conversion goal. Use Snapchat technology to auto-fill the user’s phone number, address and other details when users click on your landing page.
  • Use provide insider deets and ‘behind the scenes’ clips of an event or campaign. If your nonprofit works for animal safety you can send out a one-on-one snap of the rescued animals and volunteers working for your organization.

For example, Nonprofits like Charity: water, Human Rights Campaign, Greenpeace USA, LACMA and Ocean Conservancy are ruling Snapchat right now.

Social media is ever-changing, and you must always stay update. It provides access to donors, volunteers, and supporters. Your nonprofit social media strategy will increase awareness, engagement and help raise money. Use our tips to succeed on social media. Comment if these tips have helped your organization.

Your subscription could not be added. Please try again.
You're now a CallHub Insider.

Become a CallHub Insider

Join our community of insiders for a front-row seat to invaluable resources! Get updates on our latest blogs, webinars, and insider tips delivered directly to your inbox.