You have likely seen nonprofit organizations using social media platforms like Facebook to fundraise, usually in the form of peer-to-peer campaigns. Fundraising on social media is a great strategy for nonprofits, but it’s not the only way your organization can use social media.
When used correctly, social media is an essential tool in a nonprofit’s marketing strategy. In this guide, we’ll cover a few ways that you can use social media to build community with your supporters and strengthen donor relationships:
- Use your platform to inform supporters
- Show the inner workings of your organization
- Engage with your followers
- Go live!
- Showcase your brand personality
With these tips, your organization can properly capitalize on the benefits of social media for building a strong and loyal supporter community. Let’s get started!
Use your platform to inform supporters
While creating educational posts about your cause is important (and is likely something you already do), you can also create informative posts about things like how your nonprofit uses donations or how text-to-give works. Educating your followers about not only your cause but how they can get involved and how your organization actually works, will reduce barriers to involvement and increase their trust in your organization.
For example, you could create a post with multiple graphics for Facebook and Instagram that walks supporters through how they can donate through text-to-give and how it works on the back end. You can also create video versions of these graphics to use on TikTok or Instagram Reels to reach more people! This not only helps non-tech-savvy supporters who would like to donate, but it can also help resolve any concerns about the security and validity of mobile and online donations.
Bonus tip: After you share this kind of post once, you can reshare it or link to it when marketing new campaigns to continue providing that resource for new and existing supporters alike. You can also re-create updated versions if you need ideas for new content to post!
Show the inner workings of your organization
While you’re giving followers an insight into how donations work at your organization, you can take it a step further and get staff and volunteers involved.
- Staff or volunteer story “takeovers.” Various members of your staff, or even volunteers, can take turns being featured on your stories talking about what they do at your organization, why they’re involved, and more.
- “Day In The Life” posts. This type of content is usually best as a video or on stories. Have your social media manager record what volunteers or members of your staff do in a day to show followers how your organization works.
- Highlighting staff and volunteers. Another option is to introduce your staff or volunteers with static posts featuring an image and a “get to know me” blurb in the caption. Have them talk about themselves, what they do at your organization, and why they chose to get involved.
Sharing more about the internal workings of your organization and the people that make your work possible is a great way to boost employee engagement. It’s also a creative volunteer engagement idea that can make volunteers feel more like insiders at your organization. Most of all, it helps supporters get to know your organization better, which will increase their connection to you and your cause.
Engage with your followers
Social media should not be looked at as a one-way medium. While you’re putting out content to your followers, you should also be engaging followers instead of just expecting them to interact with your content.
Snowball’s guide to donor engagement highly recommends interacting with your supporters on social media to strengthen your relationship. Not only will this make your followers feel a stronger connection to you (and that you care about them!), but it’s also what the algorithms want to see. The more that accounts interact with each other, the more they show up in each other’s feeds. So, it’s in your best interest to engage with followers.
To engage effectively, you should:
- Respond to comments and DMs in a timely manner.
- Post to your stories (on platforms with this feature, like Instagram).
- Use engagement stickers on stories like polls, quizzes, and question boxes.
- Create a hashtag for supporters to use, then interact with and reshare relevant content in that hashtag.
No one likes a one-sided conversation, not even on social media. Taking the time to interact with your followers and show them they’re not just a faceless “like” to you will increase their connection to your organization and potentially boost your posts’ reach!
Almost every social media platform now has some version of a “Live” feature that allows you to interact with supporters in real-time. You can go live to share an update while speaking directly to the camera, or do so during an event to share the excitement and success with supporters who couldn’t make it. Some organizations also use Lives to do educational discussions with experts or Q&A sessions for supporters.
Here are some tips for going live:
- Have a clear purpose for going live
- Advertise your Live in the coming days and weeks
- Make sure you have good lighting
- Ask the viewers questions
- Address viewer comments on your Live
- Download and save your Live to be repurposed or shared
The Live feature available on many social media platforms is an excellent digital tool for giving your followers a more personal view of and connection to your organization. Make sure you follow these tips to host high-quality Lives that your followers want to engage with!
Showcase your brand personality
Social media can be overwhelming because of the sheer amount of content that gets shared every minute. It can feel difficult to stand out or even just show up in this environment. That’s exactly why it’s crucial to create a cohesive brand image that makes your content recognizable. You can do that by:
- Using consistent fonts and colors. Pick a set of fonts and colors (ideally ones that match your website and customized donation page branding) and use them on all of your stories and graphics so that followers can easily recognize your posts.
- Choosing content pillars. You can choose to post, for example, three main types of content, like educational posts, behind the scenes, and trending content, and then build a content calendar around those pillars.
- Turning trends into relevant content. On platforms like TikTok and on Instagram Reels, learning to take a sound that many people are using in their videos and apply it to your niche is crucial for getting eyes on your content. Duolingo’s TikTok account is a great example of an organization doing this.
Because social media is an important part of a nonprofit’s digital campaigns according to Getting Attention, you want to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd. Consider all of these tips when you’re putting together your social media content strategy to create a cohesive and unique brand image.
Social media can be a difficult beast to tackle, but with the right strategy and intent, it can be an incredibly powerful tool for connecting with existing and potential supporters. While you’re focusing on creating a killer social media strategy, don’t forget to make sure your donation page follows best practices for when you successfully convert followers into donors!
John Killoran is an inventor, entrepreneur, and the Chairman of Clover Leaf Solutions, a national lab services company. He currently leads Clover Leaf’s investment in Snowball Fundraising, an online fundraising platform for nonprofit organizations.
Snowball was one of John’s first public innovations; it’s a fundraising platform that offers text-to-give, online giving, events, and peer-to-peer fundraising tools for nonprofits. By making giving simple, Snowball increases the donations that these organizations can raise online. The Snowball effect is real! John founded Snowball in 2011. Now, it serves over 7,000 nonprofits and is the #1 nonprofit fundraising platform.