Social Media for Nonprofits: A Quickstart Guide

Social Media for Nonprofits: A Quickstart Guide

Yesterday we had lunch with the leaders of Eikon Ministries, a local Memphis organization empowering youth in the Binghampton neighborhood to become a strong generation of leaders in the urban communities of our city. Our conversations about their mission and needs as a nonprofit sparked the idea for this week’s post.

We understand that nonprofits are committed to specific goals, and that doesn’t leave much time for creating an active social media presence for your organization. To help, we’ve compiled a list of social media best practices that you can realistically implement to efficiently engage your audience.

Use the 3 A’s

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If you’re worried that coming up with a content strategy will be challenging, rest assured! Nonprofit marketing experts have determined a plan of action that can easily be applied for your organization.

The three A’s are appreciation, advocacy and appeals. In other words, your social media posts should include thank you's to donors and volunteers, shared content from organizations relevant to yours, and specific requests for donations. Now we will share with you some ideas for putting a creative, engaging spin on those posts.

Use Visuals, Visuals and More Visuals

Did you know that your brain processes visuals 60,000x faster than written words? According to Buffer, Tweets with visuals are retweeted 150% more than Tweets without visuals, and found that 87% of engagement on Facebook happens with posts that include visuals.

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You might be thinking, “Well, what kind of visuals should I post?” Your organization is actually its own best source for visual content. Encourage volunteers to take pictures while they work and post them to their own social media accounts, tagging the organization and showing their friends how much fun it is to be involved there. Set up a camera at your next event and have attendees tell why they support your cause. Make a simple infographic for parents to show their kids how to set up a lemonade stand for fundraising. There are endless possibilities, so just pull out your phone and capture whatever your organization does.

Make it More than a Fundraising Platform

Don’t forget about your social media profiles when you’re in between fundraising campaigns. Just because you don’t have a 5K next week or a silent auction coming up doesn’t mean you should take the month off from posting. Use the downtime to do a volunteer spotlight or post a throwback picture of some counselors when they were campers years ago. Staying active on social media helps your audience get to know your organization on a behind-the-scenes level and feel the year-round enthusiasm that you have for your cause.

Demonstrate Your Organization’s Needs

If you’re running out of green beans at your food pantry, post a picture of the almost-empty shelf and ask specifically for that item to be donated. You always want to bring positivity to your audience’s newsfeed, but if you don’t ever demonstrate a need for something, they might not know how they can help. It feels natural for someone to pick up some extra green beans at the grocery store because they know those veggies will soon be on the dinner plate of someone in need.

If what you really need is money, you can still be specific by showing them what an exact dollar amount can help your organization do. For example, $10 feeds a family of four in need. Just don’t forget to post a link to the donation page on your website! Posts about specific needs are just more compelling than a blanket statement soliciting donations, which doesn’t always seem urgent enough for your audience to act on it today.

Tell Before and After Stories

Show that A+ that one of your tutoring participants got on her geometry test. Post a picture of the healthy horse that came to your rescue as skin and bones. Supporters love to see the success that their donations are helping you to achieve. Others might be inspired to begin volunteering with your organization when they know their time can produce a real change. Instead of forcing them to feel something about your cause, convince them to care naturally with a story they can relate to on an emotional level.

Socialize on Social Media

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Remember that social media is above all a place to be social and build a genuine relationship with your audience. Use a conversational tone in your posts that makes your audience feel like you’re talking to them one-on-one.

Generate some discussion on your page by hosting a contest to name the newest animal at your rescue group or zoo. When someone retweets you or leaves a compliment on a photo of the house that your volunteer team spruced up, reply with a thank you! They will appreciate that you interacted with them on this personal level, and it will make them feel more involved with your organization. Basically, in order to receive the support of your community, you will want to show that you’re a proud, active member of it.

If you need help implementing any of these ideas, or you would like some regular consulting or posting assistance, feel free to contact our social media experts.