Social Media Guide for Nonprofits

Working with nonprofits is rewarding and provides opportunities to affect positive change. However, with limited budgets, many nonprofits find it difficult to justify spending money on marketing. What some nonprofits may not know is that they have a huge marketing opportunity right at their fingertips, and the hard costs are minimal compared to other marketing channels.

Social media is a great way to get your message out and to engage your audience. We’ve put together a few tips to help you get started.

  1. Reserve your name on all social media platforms. Your brand, especially as a nonprofit, is extremely important. Reserving your name helps to ensure you have control over any place your name and brand might be used. Even if your audience is older and isn’t on Snapchat, go ahead and reserve your name to protect your brand.
  1. Be strategic about the content you share. You can use social media to publicly thank sponsors, donors and volunteers, and you can use this opportunity to make them a part of your organization’s story. Talk about how they became involved with your organization, interview them about why they choose to donate to your cause and tell the story of the difference their donation makes. In turn, they will likely share that material, opening up your message to a larger audience. Share volunteer opportunities and ways to get involved, too.
  1. The easier it is for people to donate to your organization and for supporters to help you fundraise online, the more likely you are to receive donations. There are several popular fundraising websites that make this possible, including First Giving, Blackboard, Classy and Crowd Rise. You and your supporters can share the link across your social media channels. Facebook also has a donation platform where you can host fundraisers. A local nonprofit here in Oklahoma City, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, has successfully used this feature. The Facebook fundraiser shows up as content on your page when it’s live. Lastly, you can change your call-to-action button (as seen below from NYC-based nonprofit charity: water) on Facebook to be a donate button, making it easy for people to donate directly from their smartphones or computers.

Charity Water Facebook donate button.

  1. Engage, engage, engage. Engagement with your audience is the best way to gain new followers and to get existing followers to share your posts. To start, recruit a handful of loyal supporters – staff and volunteers – and ask them to commit to participating in your social media efforts. You’ll also need to consistently generate engaging and original content such as highlighting volunteers, asking questions, posting photos and graphics and telling the stories of those you’re helping.
  1. Perform a sweep of your social media accounts 2-3 times a day, and respond in a timely manner when people engage with you. This will help to keep them interested and more likely to engage in the future.
  1. This one is the kicker, and the only piece that isn’t free. Use social advertising. $10 goes a long way on Facebook and can reach upwards of 10,000 people just with that small spend. Some nonprofits are afraid of spending donor money, but so much can be accomplished with a small amount of money. With the targeting options that are available through all social advertising platforms, think of it as serving up a private billboard to only those who will potentially act on it.
  1. Have a social media crisis plan in place. Read our post on using social media for crisis management to see how to use social media to your advantage.

Social media is one of the best ways to supplement nonprofit growth. It provides an opportunity to use strategic content and engagement to get your message out there and expand your reach. As people spend more and more time on social media, this will only continue to be more true.