Take advantage of the unique opportunities social media can offer your nonprofit organization.
By Jacqueline Tabas
Amidst the Covid-19 crisis, nonprofit organizations have faced onerous financial burdens. There has been a high demand for their services, which taxes their resources, yet their ability to bring in volunteers and host in-person fundraising events has been limited.
Nonprofits rely on donations in order to survive, and during the pandemic, fundraising has become even more challenging. As a case in point, The Salvation Army reported in December that fundraising was down 18% compared to prior years.
However, thanks to the power of social media, there are strategies nonprofits can use to achieve their fundraising and marketing goals. As people become more comfortable with their digital devices during the pandemic, they provide nonprofits with a captive audience for engagement.
If you run a nonprofit, here is how to take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by social media to increase the success of your organization.
Social media is an effective marketing tool for a nonprofit organization. Some of the key benefits include:
Many well-known nonprofit organizations, have employed social media tactics in successful marketing campaigns:
World Wide Fund for Nature: The World Wide Fund for Nature created a successful interactive content campaign called Earth Hour. The annual Earth Hour campaign requests that people turn off their lights for one hour and uses the #EarthHour hashtag (among others) to invigorate followers. In 2020, 90 countries and territories took part in the event and it generated over 4.7 billion global social media impressions.
Make-A-Wish Foundation: The Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted wishes to a myriad of children since 1980. Reportedly, the Foundation’s efforts fulfill a child’s desire every 40 minutes in the United States. Make-A-Wish shares all its video wishes on its YouTube channel. Videos of the children receiving their wishes are also published on the foundation’s website as well as its Facebook and Twitter accounts. This strategy has increased Make-A-Wish’s interaction. You can view the success of their efforts here.
Save the Children: The goal of Save the Children is to improve the lives of children around the world. Notably, the organization targets children living in war zones. Save the Children created a video where a Western child was shown in a situation that a child living in a war zone would face. The footage helped donors better understand and empathize with these children and was responsible for a multitude of donations and video shares:
Amnesty International: Amnesty International uses Twitter to raise awareness of ongoing campaigns and current social issues. Its Twitter profile has 4.2 million followers and has posted nearly 33,000 tweets.
Wings of Rescue: Pet rescue organization Wings of Rescue transports at-risk shelter pets from disaster areas and overcrowded shelters to shelters with empty kennel space. The organization has done a great job posting videos on YouTube, images on Instagram, and posts on Facebook to bring in donations.
While there are many social media platforms out there, here are the most popular ones used by nonprofits:
With over 2.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook continues to be the most popular social media channel.
Facebook success strategies:
With over 2 billion monthly active users, the online video-sharing platform owned by Google is extremely popular. Many businesses, nonprofits, and influencers use YouTube to market their products and services.
Video content is more expensive and time-consuming to create than articles or images, but this type of content has the biggest engagement among audiences. With your nonprofit, you can set simple, yet stylized ways to shoot content, even from your office (or home office).
YouTube success strategies:
Additionally, Google covers all of the starter fees, so that nonprofits will receive the maximum funds raised.
With over one billion monthly active users, Instagram is a video and photo-sharing app owned by Facebook. It is popular among 18 to 34-year-olds.
Instagram success strategies:
With over 330 million monthly active users, Twitter is a site where users post and interact with other users via mini-messages called “tweets.” Many businesses have used Twitter to increase their visibility and engagement with consumers.
Twitter success strategies:
With over 469 million active monthly users, Pinterest is a platform for promoting, saving, and finding information via visual content, and has evolved as a way to showcase a brand, a business, or a nonprofit. It provides an optimal outlet to showcase strong visual content and can serve as an additional engagement tool to drive traffic to a nonprofit’s website.
According to Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council, “Pinterest is a place where people get inspired and then take action. Leveraging the platform gives nonprofits a unique, impactful way to share their causes and encourage people to support them.”
Pinterest success strategies:
With over 310 million active monthly users and 740+ million registered professionals, LinkedIn is the leading employment networking platform.
Nonprofits can use LinkedIn to contact professionals involved in social responsibility or philanthropy. Large corporations have senior employees coordinating donations and partnerships with nonprofits, and these employees all have a presence on LinkedIn. You can use the platform to network with these individuals and develop advocates for your cause.
LinkedIn success strategies:
With over 1.1 billion active monthly users, TikTok is a video-sharing social platform for short-form videos. It has become enormously popular with Generation Z.
With TikTok, you can create videos tied to emotional music, and intertwine the video with a trending hashtag. Inputting emotion and having a trending hashtag has helped TikTok videos go viral and garner more followers.
TikTok success strategies:
Oregon Zoo TikTok campaign video
American Heart Association TikTok campaign video
Save the Music Foundation TikTok campaign video
National Walking Day TikTok campaign video
Here are some general tips to keep in mind no matter what platform you use:
Consider the following marketing strategies to supplement your social media program:
For example, GoFundMe.com reported that a five-year-old boy wanted to help less fortunate children during the holidays. He led a 20-minute meditation session and then asked his attendees to donate to the Coalition for the Homeless in his name; he raised $30,000.
You can then build up your newsletter subscriber list, which becomes a valuable asset to maintain engagement with clients or donors.
A nonprofit organization can use social media to increase donations and improve its visibility by successfully employing a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. Starting and implementing a coherent strategy may take a lot of time and effort, but it has been shown to be an extremely cost-effective marketing method for many organizations.
RELATED: 7 Rules for More Effective Social Media Marketing
About the Author
Jacqueline Tabas is a content marketer and social media manager based in San Francisco. Jacqueline has extensive experience in content marketing, content development, blogging, copywriting, posting, and conducting analytics for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and other social media sites. She has been an advisor on social media marketing to many organizations, including nonprofits, technology companies, retail companies, and fashion brands. Connect with Jacqueline on LinkedIn.
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