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How Social Media for Nonprofits Empowers Your Cause

Chloe Anderson
December 1, 2023
Last Updated On
social media for nonprofits blog header

In an increasingly connected world, social media for nonprofits has become indispensable. As organizations navigate the complexities of digital marketing for charities, social media opens avenues to engage with audiences, share impactful stories and mobilize resources. This digital transformation is not just about having an online presence; it's about creating meaningful and engaging experiences that resonate with a global community.

This blog on digital marketing for nonprofits includes:

  • Why digital marketing for nonprofits matters.
  • Examples of nonprofit social media posts.
  • How to create a nonprofit marketing strategy. 
  • Nonprofit social media post ideas.

Why Digital Marketing for Nonprofits Matters

The realm of digital marketing for nonprofits transcends traditional boundaries. It extends the reach and boosts social media fundraising initiatives, amplifying the impact of nonprofit campaigns and building brand reputation. By harnessing social media marketing for nonprofits, organizations can tap into diverse demographics, engage in two-way conversations with their audience and create a community around their cause. Using digital social media marketing tools effectively can help drive awareness and foster a deeper connection with supporters.

Examples of Nonprofit Social Media Posts

How do nonprofits harness social media to build awareness for their cause — and brand? Discover how these successful nonprofit organizations are leveraging social media with impactful posting strategies.

The Nature Conservancy 

Utilizing TikTok, The Nature Conservancy (@thenatureconservancy) excels in capturing attention with short, informative videos. This approach reflects the power of social media nonprofit strategies that focus on engaging and entertaining content.

bison and buffalo in field tiktok screenshot
Image credit: @thenatureconservancy

American Red Cross 

The American Red Cross's (@americanredcross) Instagram illustrates the impact of storytelling in social media strategies for nonprofits. Their posts often feature narratives from individuals directly affected by their work, adding a personal dimension to their digital outreach.

woman holds cpr certificate from american red cross
Image credit: @americanredcross

Feeding America 

Feeding America (@feedingamerica) demonstrates the effective use of celebrity influence with their partnership with Scarlett Johansson to share her experience with food banks. This post is also a potent example of social proof marketing, as it leverages an influential public figure and their endorsement of Feed America’s cause. Their approach to leveraging public figures enhances visibility and engagement for their cause.

scarlett johansson talking about feed america ig reels screenshot
Image credit: @feedingamerica

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code (@GirlsWhoCode) utilizes LinkedIn to advocate for closing the gender gap in technology. They share content related to their educational programs, their students' success stories, and information on diversity and inclusion in tech, which resonates well with a professional audience.

image of two woman at laptop coding
Image credit: @GirlsWhoCode

Doctors Without Borders

On TikTok, Doctors Without Borders (@doctorswithoutborders) shares behind-the-scenes looks at their medical humanitarian work worldwide. Their content often includes field updates, stories from medical staff and information about their missions, effectively engaging a younger audience.

doctos without border tiktok discussing how to help a global crisis from home
Image credit: @doctorswithoutborders

How To Build a Nonprofit Social Media Strategy 

Creating a nonprofit social media strategy is a multifaceted process integral to the broader scope of digital marketing. This strategy becomes the backbone for all social media activities, from everyday posts to targeted campaigns. Nonprofit social media strategies encompass many elements, and each plays a vital role in achieving your marketing goals. 

1. Register Your Nonprofit Social Accounts

The first step is establishing a presence on key social platforms. This means registering accounts specifically for your nonprofit on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok. Each channel offers unique advantages. Having a presence across multiple platforms can maximize outreach and boost engagement.

2. Determine Target Audience

Understanding who your nonprofit aims to reach is crucial. Your target audience could be potential donors, volunteers, beneficiaries or a specific community. This step influences the demographics you’ll target, your choice of platforms and the nature of your content. For instance, younger demographics might be more active on Instagram and TikTok, while professionals may engage through LinkedIn.

3. Identify Goals & KPIs

Clear goals and KPIs are essential. Goals could range from increasing brand awareness and driving donations to recruiting volunteers. Social media KPIs like engagement rates, follower growth and fundraising amounts help measure your goals' success. Your goals will also inform which social media platforms you incorporate into your strategy. If you want to engage Gen Z volunteers, your KPIs will center around TikTok, or if you want to engage other brands and B2B organizations, you’ll likely focus on KPIs centered on LinkedIn marketing.

4. Build Social Media Guidelines

Developing social media guidelines ensures consistency in voice, tone and messaging. Guidelines are crucial to maintaining your nonprofit's integrity and ethos across various platforms and campaigns. Teams can craft better social media guidelines by understanding the algorithm of whichever social platforms they plan to post on — for example, the TikTok algorithm doesn’t necessarily prioritize new content. It aims to show content most relevant to a user’s interests. These insights will help your team make strategic decisions, such as when you should repurpose content, how often you should post on Instagram or TikTok, steps to optimize content, etc. 

5. Plan Campaigns

Effective campaign planning is key, especially for special events, advocacy movements or social media fundraising drives. Each campaign should have a clear message, target audience and desired outcome. Teams should also determine which content will be used for cross-channel marketing — this will help you scale content production and make the most of your existing or planned visual assets. 

6. Create a Content Calendar 

A social content calendar organizes posts and ensures a consistent posting schedule. It aids in planning diverse content types, from educational posts to success stories and event promotions.

7. Schedule Content 

Regular content posting keeps your audience engaged and informed. Your content calendar will help keep your plans on track and let your team plan content ahead of time, which allows your team to get after real-time posts as they arise — think industry news, trending memes and more.

Another great way for nonprofit brands to schedule content ahead of time is to take advantage of social media calendars that list important dates throughout the year your organization might want to publish for upcoming holidays.

8. Optimize Content

Utilize social media SEO to elevate your nonprofit's visibility, attract more supporters, and amplify your message online. Be sure to research SEO best practices for specific platforms — for example, the TikTok algorithm prioritizes user interest, while the Twitter algorithm prioritizes timely posts (among other factors). These factors will inform your strategy and give your content the best chance to succeed on social.

9. Measure Results

Finally, regularly assessing the performance of social media activities against your set KPIs is vital. This evaluation guides future strategy adjustments and optimizations.

Incorporating these steps into your nonprofit's digital marketing strategy can significantly enhance its online presence. By leveraging social media best practices for nonprofits, teams can effectively communicate their mission, engage with their audience, and achieve their objectives.

Social Media Post Ideas for Nonprofits

In a world where online platforms are saturated with content, nonprofits face the unique challenge of making their message resonate amid the daily scrolls. They must think differently and embrace unconventional social media tactics to cut through the noise. These strategies must capture attention and keep followers engaged and invested in the cause. Here are innovative approaches that can help your nonprofit stand out and make a lasting impact on social media.

Impact Narratives

Impact narratives help illustrate the organization's impact and can be a powerful marketing tool to highlight your brand’s work. Here are some ideas to share impact narratives: 

  • TikTok Video Series: Create a series of short, compelling TikTok videos featuring beneficiaries narrating their stories. Use a mix of direct testimonials and creative visual storytelling to illustrate the positive changes brought about by your organization.
  • Instagram Reels: Craft engaging, visually rich Reels that show before-and-after scenarios, highlighting the tangible impact of your nonprofit's work.

Educational Content

Educational posts help educate and inform about your cause and are valuable tools to reach and teach your target market on the platforms they use the most. Some ways you can reach users on social with education include: 

  • Facebook Live Sessions: Host live educational talks with experts or key team members. Use these sessions to discuss the issues your nonprofit addresses, inviting questions and comments from viewers for a dynamic interaction.
  • YouTube Mini-Documentaries: Produce short documentaries that educate viewers about your cause, using storytelling and factual data to convey the message compellingly.

Event Advancement

Brands can use social media to announce and promote events, which are often vital in driving participation and awareness. Here are two examples of how brands can promote events on social media: 

  • Instagram Stories with Countdown Feature: Utilize Instagram Stories to announce upcoming events, adding a countdown sticker to build anticipation and remind followers as the event approaches.
  • Threads Series: Craft a series on Threads for your event featuring sneak peeks, speaker highlights, and interactive Q&A sessions. This approach builds excitement and engages your audience in a storytelling format.

Interactive Engagement

Interactive elements like polls and quizzes can engage audiences and encourage them to learn more about your organization or campaign focus in a fun way. Here are some interactive elements nonprofits can use on social: 

  • Instagram Polls and Quizzes in Stories: Leverage Instagram Stories to post interactive polls and quizzes related to your cause, encouraging audience participation and spreading awareness in a fun way.
  • Interactive Q&A Sessions on Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything): Reddit marketing can be a creative strategy for many nonprofits. Host an AMA session where followers can ask questions about your nonprofit's work, providing insights and fostering a deeper connection with the audience.

Volunteer Highlights 

Showcasing the work and stories of volunteers helps humanize the organization and can inspire others to learn more about your brand or volunteer themselves. Here are some ideas to spotlight volunteer efforts: 

  • LinkedIn Volunteer Spotlights: Feature detailed posts on LinkedIn spotlighting individual volunteers, sharing their stories and experiences, and showcasing the human side of your organization.
  • X “Day in the Life” Takeovers: Arrange for volunteers to take over your X account for a day, sharing their experiences, insights, and behind-the-scenes activities in a series of posts.

FAQs

How do nonprofits use social media?

Nonprofits use social media for many purposes, from advocacy and education to fundraising and volunteer recruitment, each tailored to the platforms' strengths.

What social media is best for charities?

The best social media platform for a charity varies based on its goals and target audience. Facebook is versatile for various content types and great for event promotion and sharing longer-form content. Instagram is renowned for visual storytelling, X serves well for quick updates and advocacy, LinkedIn is ideal for professional networking and outreach, and TikTok is emerging as a powerful platform for engaging with younger demographics through creative and viral content. Each channel offers distinct advantages, making them suitable for different aspects of nonprofit communication and marketing strategies.

Do charities use TikTok?

Yes, charities are increasingly embracing TikTok to engage with younger audiences and leveraging its unique format for creative and impactful storytelling. See The Nature Conservatory and Doctors Without Borders for two examples of non-profit success on TikTok.

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