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How Nonprofits Can Utilize Social Media To Do Good

Social Media Nonprofit Best Practices

Ask any non-profit what their greatest challenge is, and it’s likely that they will all talk about their relentless pursuit of donations. Now, thanks to the power of social media, the task of convincing others to open up their pocketbooks, may prove a little less daunting. Here we show you how nonprofits can use social media marketing successfully.

1. Show Donors How They Make a Difference

The beauty of social media is that it is right here, right now. Never before have some non-profits been able to connect with their donors in real time to reinforce how donations make a difference. Share updates with your donor base through tweets, Facebook posts, and live feeds. Be sure to steer them toward donating by tweeting links to your charity’s donation landing page and sharing how their donation made an impact. Acknowledging their support, especially where their friends and followers can also see it, will go a long way toward solidifying your donor and their long-term involvement.

Showing Donors of Nonprofits Appreciation


2. Encourage Storytelling

Facebook can be an ideal place to engage with followers and share stories of how your non-profit affects the lives of others. On the Make A Wish Foundation Facebook page, there are personal posts from those families who have benefited from Make-A Wish’s efforts, along with photos and stories on their Notes tab.


These social media platforms prove to be the perfect place to go beyond the big idea of your charity and personalize it with a voice and a name and a story. It’s one thing to donate to try to stop world hunger, it’s quite another when you can see the face and hear the story of a 5-year-old boy starving in Africa.’s Facebook page provides a great example of sharing their success stories in their Living Proof tab. Be creative about how you showcase your stories. Try making a standing weekly inspirational feature or encourage the sharing of photos each week for an “On the Pulse” kind of section.

3. Think Visual

A Pinterest study from Shareaholic reported that 21% of users have followed through with a purchase after discovering it on Pinterest. Think that only applies to retailers? Think again. Imagine how sharing some of those inspirational and emotional photos could drive donations. Get started by creating pinboards with images that relate to your cause. For example, Habitat for Humanity pins pictures of volunteers building homes across the globe, as well as graphics with information about upcoming volunteer opportunities.



You can also think of Pinterest as an extension of your “gift shop”. Upload pictures of those items you “sell” to drive donations, like bracelets and bands (think Lance Armstrong’s popular yellow Live Strong bands). Be sure to include your donation landing page URL in the “Edit” section of your pins. Last of all, it’s important to keep the interaction two-way, so follow those people who repin from your board to nurture that ongoing relationship.

4. Leverage Your Network

You know how it is — it’s all about who you know. And LinkedIn is a pioneer in leveraging social media to let you socialize with the “right” people. Try making use of one of LinkedIn’s valuable, though underutilized, features, LinkedIn Events. With nonprofit conferences such as the National Conference on Volunteering and Service and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network National Leaders Conference, people clearly want to get together to chat about their nonprofit work, and those that are serious enough to go to events like these are serious enough to be using LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s Event tab makes creating events for nonprofit causes super easy. In just a few clicks, your nonprofit can create and share an event with your connections. In addition, with the ‘Find Events’ tab, other companies interested in attending can find your event and attend — getting you exposure to a new group of potential donors.

5. Think Like a For-Profit

We know. We know. You’re a nonprofit, so you have a different tone and approach to things. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t utilize some of those same tactics that for-profits use with great success. Try engaging donors with a social media contest.

Nonprofit Social Media Contest

Whether it’s submitting favorite photos from one of your recent events, to making the best YouTube video that explains your organization’s cause, to who can tweet using your charity’s hashtag the most, a contest may be well received by your donor audience, increase awareness of your cause and help promote your events.

Social Media Nonprofit Statistics

Here are some interesting numbers that the Huffington Post uncovered about Nonprofits and social media.

• 92 % of the top 50 nonprofits have at least 1 social media presence on their homepage.

• The most followers that an organization has on Twitter is 840,653 (PBS)…

• … but on the other hand, the organization following the most people is following 200,522 (The American Cancer Society)!

• The American Red Cross was the first organization on the list to create a Twitter account.

• Food for the Poor is the most talkative organization on Facebook and has posted 220 posts over the course of 2 months.

• The organization with the highest net income, the YMCA, only posted 19 times to Facebook in 2 months, but has over 24,000 fans.

Do You Make the Social Media Grade?

See how your organization stacks up on how it’s using social media with Customer Insight Group’s free social media grader. You’ll see where you’re at the top of the class and where you can make improvements.