Social media is one of the most proliferous marketing platforms. It has been a true game-changer for nonprofit organizations to build awareness, connect with supporters, and promote their message. However, it’s not about throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. There needs to be a strong strategy behind each of the nonprofit social media ideas you use.
As a nonprofit, marketing your organization is critical to its success and continued growth. This can be difficult for nonprofits to manage – as most are working on a shoestring budget.
According to the 2021 State of Nonprofit Marketing Report, most organizations face a lot of challenges when it comes to their strategies. Primarily, nonprofit marketing teams struggle to innovate, collaborate, and create content that is engaging and supports a positive experience.
Generating interesting content, reaching new audiences, and building recognition are some of the main reasons to use social media platforms. In this post, we’ve compiled some useful nonprofit social media ideas to help you boost your organization’s impact.
1. Define Why You Want to Use Social Media
First things first, your team must define the purpose behind your nonprofit social media strategy. This will guide your campaigns and determine which content is going to be most relevant to post. Some common purposes for nonprofit organizations would be:
- To share news about your organization or cause
- To build awareness, recognition, and familiarity with new audiences
- To promote a specific cause or fundraiser
- To recruit volunteers or donations
- To educate an audience about an issue related to your organization
For example, the nonprofit SHIFT uses its Instagram platform to share informative and actionable tips to combat racism in the workplace. Their content centers around useful talking points people can use to build awareness and start meaningful discussions about the topic.
Of course, the purpose of your campaign could be a combination of these purposes. However, this needs to be clearly defined and understood by your marketing team. If any content does not align with the overall purpose of the campaign, it should not be posted.
2. Set Measurable Goals
It is impossible to tell whether or not your nonprofit social media ideas are actually working – unless you have measurable goals in place. These should align directly with your purpose. For instance, if your goal is to raise awareness, you need to track metrics like website traffic, referrals, and email newsletter sign-ups.
Thankfully, it seems like many nonprofits understand the importance of tracking metrics for marketing purposes, such as customer retention, acquisition costs, referral rates, and content engagement. The aforementioned State of Marketing report showed that the vast majority of nonprofits actively measured these data points.
Within each metric, it is important to set an attainable yet challenging goal for a set timeframe.
This could be increasing online traffic by a specific percentage by each quarter, doubling average post engagement numbers, or hitting a monetary fundraising goal by the end of the year.
By setting goals and tracking the correlating metrics, you can easily see how well your nonprofit social media campaigns are doing. From there, you can adjust your strategies as needed to get on the right track.
3. Experiment with Different Channels
Depending on your content, organization, and goals, some platforms will work better than others. Social media is constantly changing – to keep your organization relevant, you need to be aware of the latest trends and the purposes behind each platform.
To select the right platforms to channel your efforts, you’ll need to research your targeted audience. This is the easiest way to narrow down your selection as the demographics for social media users can change significantly between platforms.
The latest data from the Pew Research center shows that popular channels like Instagram and Facebook attract the widest range of demographics, while others are more specific. Some platforms are used more by men compared to women or based on race, income level, and location.
Now, you don’t necessarily need to be active on every single platform if it doesn’t align with your organization. But it could be worth giving it a whirl before you cross it out completely. Your nonprofit social media strategy may also need to adjust slightly depending on which platform you’re using to better connect with people.
4. Focus on Content that Builds Engagement
Coming up with new content marketing ideas for your nonprofit is by no means easy. Even the most talented social media managers struggle with this. One tip is to always consider whether or not your post is going to encourage engagement from viewers.
The ASPCA has really hit the nail on the head by sharing content that pulls on people’s heartstrings with adorable baby animals (something that tends to perform well on social media). This has helped them connect with nearly 150,000 new supporters – thanks to the engaging content.
Their feed is a great example of how to ask for donations on social media: the ASPCA also embeds direct donation links on their videos, making it super easy for viewers to support the cause while they scroll.
The goal is to create fun interactive posts that give your audience something in return. This could be something as simple as an emotional response or a call to action to support your organization. Or, it could be directly interactive, such as a poll, survey, or highly shareable content that followers will repost to their own accounts.
5. Partner with Other Nonprofits or Campaigns
As a nonprofit, you know that you’ll never make it without the help of the community. Digital partnerships can help both organizations connect with new audiences and build exponentially more awareness together than they could on their own.
To pitch an idea to another like-minded organization – or even a large corporation – you’ll want to first clarify the purpose of the collaboration. When you reach out to propose a partnership, you will want to present:
- A defined purpose, such as an event or a set goal
- A shared target audience
- The value of the partnership (what your organization brings to the table)
- A written agreement with specific expectations and timelines
The Trevor Project serves as a great example here. Their organization is a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth. They have worked closely with the clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch to create gender-neutral clothing items as well as a Pride collection.
This type of partnership helped both like-minded organizations reach targeted audiences – while building awareness. But you don’t necessarily need to collaborate with a massive corporation to make an impact. Simply creating nonprofit hashtags with other organizations or collaborating on content creation can be a great start!
6. Build a Plan and Calendar
Organization is critical to any nonprofit’s success – and that extends to your nonprofit social media campaign. Organize your posting schedule and plan it out ahead of time to make things easier. By sharing content more frequently, you’ll likely get better engagement rates.
It’s hard to give an exact number of how many times a day/week you should post. Social media algorithms change all the time and they are notoriously secretive about their methods.
HubSpot conducted an experiment which found that accounts with under 10,000 followers got higher engagement by posting about 3 times a week, while larger accounts had to post daily to keep these rates high.
You can use tools like ContentCal or NapoleanCat to create a calendar and set up automatic posting. This can help you plan ahead or set up weekly posts, such as Giving Tuesday reminders.
7. Go Live to Kickstart the Conversation
You may be surprised with how popular live streaming events have become, thanks to social media. In fact, 82% of social media users stated that they preferred to watch a live video from a brand compared to reading a social post!
Hosting live virtual events is a great social media idea for nonprofits to build engagement and connect with audiences in real-time. The Humane Society of the United States hosts live video feeds regularly, sharing updates on rescue missions, streaming volunteer events, and posting interactive interviews so people can ask questions in real-time.
To build your audience, you may need to promote your live feeds before starting. Experiment and switch up the purpose of your live streams with “Ask Me Anything” interviews with leaders or behind-the-scenes content of your organization.
Build up hype a few weeks beforehand and invite your followers to set up a reminder and add the event to their virtual calendars.
The Wrap Up
Social media has been a total gamechanger for connecting with people. Nonprofits should be taking full advantage of these platforms to market their organizations, build awareness, and drive donations. Hopefully, these nonprofit social media ideas can help you take things to the next level!
If you’re looking for more ways to boost your nonprofit’s presence and need help with additional aspects of digital marketing, look no further than Ayokay. We specialize in search engine optimization, web design/development, and digital marketing campaigns. Our team is here to help – just reach out online to get started.
Jack Shepler is a Marketing and Search Engine Optimization expert. He founded Ayokay, award-winning marketing, and web design firm in Indianapolis, Indiana that has built brands, increased sales for businesses, and helped nonprofit organizations fulfill their missions since 2011. He uses his decades of experience to educate through the Ayokay blog and through public speaking. You can follow him on LinkedIn.