Social media has become synonymous with nonprofit marketing. More nonprofits have depended on social media fundraising to share their mission and raise funds than ever before.
Social media is popular with nonprofits mainly because of the limited costs involved. Nonprofits can create numerous accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube for no extra cost. They can post daily and even raise funds through the apps. Social media has also become one of the best ways to connect with new donors. 55% of people who learn about an organization on social media end up taking action in some way. That is a 50% return on an essentially free activity!
This article explains why social media is crucial for nonprofits today and how organizations can get the most out of their social media campaigns.
When social media first gained traction, nonprofits assumed it would be the best way to connect with younger donors. Organizations that did not have a strong younger donor base may have felt social media wasn’t worth the trouble. Today, social media has become an essential tool for the majority of the population. In fact, 72% of people use some social media today.
Social media can offer several benefits for nonprofits. Whether your organization wants to spread the word about your nonprofit’s mission and programs, find more donors, or increase your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), social media is one of the best ways to reach your goals at no to little extra cost.
Nonprofits are always looking for more event attendees, donors, or customers. Local media advertising can be costly, and other free promotion opportunities can be time-consuming and have shown few results. Since the creation of social media, nonprofits have found free and paid advertising options that help expand their outreach and grow their audience.
Another way nonprofits can find more supporters and donors is through online advertisement. Online ads are generally less expensive and can reach a larger audience. National nonprofits can benefit from purchasing social media ads that target individuals based on their location, age, interests, and online activity.
A primary concern for nonprofits is how difficult it is to turn a one-time donor or event attendee into a recurring donor. Recurring donations are of enormous benefit to a nonprofit because that is money they can count on and add to their annual budget.
Finding ways to turn one-time donors into long-term supporters or keeping long-term donors engaged is not easy. Social media gives nonprofits the tools to keep donors engaged and interested in the activities the organization does. With daily posts, videos, questionnaires, and even online games, nonprofits can keep donors amused, educated, and coming back for more.
Like donors, nonprofits have difficulty holding onto volunteers; after all, these people are doing work for free, so you can’t expect them to stick around forever.
Nonprofits that cannot keep volunteers engaged or find replacements for lost volunteers are in deep trouble. Social media gives organizations creative and unique ways to find new volunteers, stay connected with current volunteers, and keep volunteers active especially during the pandemic. Peer-to-peer and crowdfunding campaigns on social media allow nonprofits to use volunteers to fundraise and spread the word about the organization.
Social media is one of the easiest ways to raise your ranking on search engines. By sharing blog posts on Facebook or LinkedIn and videos on YouTube, you are helping Google index your organization and better understand what your organization has to offer.
Adding regular posts across various social media accounts increases your brand recognition and helps create more backlinks that send people directly to your website. When people search for your organization, they will likely ask Google, and the more active social media accounts your nonprofit has, increases your chances of being found.
Nonprofits are lucky if they can afford one or two paid fundraisers. The reality is that most nonprofits rely solely on volunteers. Social media marketing can be crucial for fundraising, but it does take a certain level of know-how to get social media to work best for your organization. The following 6 tips should help your nonprofit get started on social media fundraising.
Popular social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube dominate the online world, but new social media accounts are created all the time. Nonprofits new to social media may be tempted to sign up for everything, but having even one social media account takes time out of your day. Research your current donor base and choose social media apps that work best for that demographic.
Facebook is one of the most popular social media tools, and although all ages may have an account, it is more popular with older audiences. This app offers a wide range of marketing options like streaming videos, long-form text, and targeted ads.
Twitter is well-known for short-form text, often written to start a controversy. Short and witty comments go far, but you won’t get too much time to share your mission or story with only a 280 character limit.
Instagram is focused on quality images and live-stream videos. Competition on this account is fierce since it is where most online influencers go to share their stories. Your pictures must stand out to have any chance of catching attention on this account.
LinkedIn quickly gained popularity with professionals looking for new opportunities and business ideas. Depending on your organization’s mission, this can be an excellent app to drive name recognition.
TikTok is the newest app on the list. TikTok is popular with the younger generation and appeals to people looking for a quick distraction. Individuals and companies share 15 to 60-second clips that entertain and amuse. Nonprofits that create a unique campaign that encourages others to share on TikTok may see a better return using this social media tool.
Most nonprofit social media posts should tell a story and share the organization’s mission and vision for the future, but there are times when you need to ask for financial support. The best rule of thumb to follow is the 70-20-10 rule.
70% of an organization’s social media posts should be on the organization’s mission and programs. 20% of content shared can be used to educate donors and people who use your organization. Weekly blog posts, infographics, advocacy information, and other tools should be shared to educate and increase your search engine ranking. Finally, 10% of the time, your nonprofit should be posting requests for donations or asking people to purchase tickets.
Organizations that ask too much will turn off donors, but nonprofits that never ask for financial support from their online followers will not see the response they hope to get from these tools. Remember, you never get what you don’t ask for.
The best part of social media for nonprofits is everyone can be a fundraiser and marketer. The best example of a nonprofit doing this is the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge.” The ALS Association found a creative way to share how it feels to live with ALS and an easy way for people to share videos of themselves taking part in the campaign. This one challenge raised over 115 million dollars for the organization in a very short time.
Other organizations have benefitted from similar campaigns. Birthday fundraising has become ubiquitous on Facebook. These campaigns allow people to see a response from their friends and family in real-time and feel like they are making a difference.
Peer-to-Peer and crowdfunding campaigns can help any nonprofit. They allow your supporters to create their own campaign pages and share how the organization has made a difference in their lives.
Pro tip: When you choose a fundraising tool, remember to check if they allow social media buttons on peer-to-peer and crowdfunding campaigns on their platform. For example, with Donorbox, you get social media sharing buttons, a chance to send email updates to donors and subscribers, a subscribe option for potential donors, a donor wall to appreciate the gifts, and more. Check this campaign out –
Another reason social media has taken off is that you can feel like you are in the action, even sitting on your couch. Live streaming has become the name of the game during our current pandemic, and nonprofits, churches, and businesses are using this tool to spread their mission.
Nonprofits who have had successful events but cannot increase attendance are likely to see an increase in online activity after airing their event live online. Organizations who have the support of popular figures can also use it to their benefit by airing interviews on social media. Finally, nonprofits that raise funds for villagers across the world can share live streams showing donors the overall impact. There is no better way to increase donations and gain more attention than showing donors that their gifts really do make a difference.
Nonprofits may be seeing significant returns on their online activities, but without keeping track of social media campaigns, you will have no idea which campaigns are working, what posts are getting the most shares, and when your supporters are online.
Nonprofits should actively research the answers to these questions and use the answers to create new fundraising campaigns, end unsuccessful ones, and make changes wherever possible. Social media apps all have some form of tracking tool to help nonprofits find this information. Facebook pixel is an excellent way for organizations to see the number of people who visit their website from social media accounts or other online resources.
Donorbox offers nonprofits the option to send donation details to Facebook pixel and Google Adwords tracking when using its online donation forms.
After trying out your first social media fundraising campaign, it is essential to thank your supporters for their help in reaching your goal. Never forget to give credit! Your social media followers are why you had the success you did, and they appreciate acknowledgment.
During and after each of your social media fundraising campaigns, you should post a general thank you and find ways to recognize specific individuals whenever possible. If your organization has found success with a crowdfunding or peer-to-peer campaign, be sure to link the names of all fundraisers to your thank you post. By publicly thanking them and bringing attention to their actions, you encourage them to do it again.
Pro tip: A virtual donor wall is a great way to acknowledge the kindness of your donors-cum-social media followers on your online campaigns. Add this to your crowdfunding campaign and highlight gifts and donors every time there is one. Check this campaign out for understanding this feature –
ALS is not the only nonprofit that has raised a significant amount with social media campaigns. There are a few others that stand out in the crowd.
Birthday fundraisers have become so common that you can’t go a day without seeing at least one on Facebook. Charity Water was one of the first nonprofits to push and benefit from these birthday fundraisers. By connecting with their supporters online and providing high-quality images and infographics to share, they encouraged people to start their own birthday fundraisers online. Instead of asking for gifts, their social media followers asked their online community to donate to the nonprofit in their name.
Charity Water was able to make these individuals feel good about sharing these campaigns and see how their own special day can change people’s lives all over the world.
Movember‘s campaign line “Grow a Mo” highlights a creative and unique way to share a mission and raise money. It encourages men to grow a beard during the month of November and raise money for men’s health issues like prostate and testicular cancer.
In 2003, Movember raised enough funds for 1,250 men’s health projects around the world. This silly concept caught on because of the fun ways they encouraged men to participate in the campaign. Their website also includes downloadable forms and web pages detailing ways to grow and style their mustaches and run online campaigns.
Since the beginning, Movember has found creative ways to reach out to a larger audience and raise funds online. In 2021, Movember held a Twitter Party on October 21st with prices and online hosts to encourage more participation.
The video campaign from Save the Children forced people to watch refugee life being lived by a white child, one that could be any of our children.
This extremely compelling video of a white girl living through what children in war-torn villages are living through right now was eye-opening and frightening. People watched in horror as a beautiful and happy child slowly became sick, scared, and homeless and her life turned upside down.
The Save the Children video campaign succeeded in having over 52 million YouTube views a year. By taking away the race and religion of a child, Save the Children was able to reach a new audience and help them see what refugees live through every day.
The Earth Hour campaign was started in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The idea is simple: take an hour of one day to shut off all the lights. The simplicity of the campaign is how the organization got so many to take part in its efforts. In the first year, over two million people participated in the campaign. Since then, more than 185 countries have joined WWF’s efforts.
WWF’s campaign is slightly different from others on the list because there is no financial request during this hour. Instead, people are taking action in other ways and WWF is increasing name recognition and credibility with a larger audience. Thanks to this campaign, more people will have heard of WWF and connected with the organization on a personal level. Because of this stronger connection, people will likely be more willing to donate to WWF in the future.
Nonprofits can use social media for everything from spreading the word about their mission to raising funds for their programs. Thanks to the affordability of this tool and the potential for new ideas, nonprofits of every size have found creative ways to use social media to raise funds, advocate, and spread their mission.
Donorbox has previously shared an article on how to plan a social media campaign. You should check it out for an in-depth insight into creating your next social media fundraising campaign.
Donorbox is an online donation processor that also gives nonprofits the chance to collect recurring donations, connect to social media platforms, hold text-to-give and crowdfunding campaigns, and manage donor information. Visit our website to learn about Donorbox’s features and sign-up for monthly tips and resources on our nonprofit blog.