4 Social Media Tips for Forward-thinking Nonprofits

While the old methods of fundraising are still alive and well, the age of social media has (and will continue to) change the game for how nonprofits network, fundraise and tell their unique story.

Social media for nonprofits

The fundraising struggle bus is not lacking passengers. You have probably been on bus at least once if you’ve ever worked with a nonprofit organization.

Being active on social media opens a whole new world (ten points if you got that Disney reference) of opportunity for your nonprofit. While social media is just one piece of the fundraising puzzle, if it is used well it can be a very valuable puzzle piece.

Here are four ways to use social media to champion your nonprofit’s cause (as discovered by us, champions of nonprofits):

Tell compelling stories

Social media for nonprofits

Here’s something you maybe didn’t know: everyone makes decisions based on emotion. Truly. This is science. If you don’t believe me, read this super long science article.

Also, this quote from Alaura Weaver, at Copyhackers:

“Our brains have evolved to empathize, remember, and make decisions as a result of hearing a story. It’s neurologically impossible to resist the persuasive power of a well-told tale.”

The best way to get people to support your cause is to engage their emotions. That’s what will drive their decision to give your cause money or not. And what better way to engage emotion than by telling compelling stories? (Trick question. There is no better way).

The content you post to social media can’t be just numbers, stats, and cold, hard facts. It has to appeal to the heart of your followers. Otherwise it is pretty much useless.

Think you don’t know how to tell stories?

  1. You’re wrong. You tell stories all the time, in normal life.
  2. If you are emotionally connected to your cause (which you probably are) then you will be able to speak about it from the heart in a relatable, emotionally appealing way. That’s storytelling.

Interact with your followers

Social media for nonprofits

Posting photos, videos, or status updates is only half of the social media game. The other half (and maybe the more important half) is engaging with your followers. After all, the beauty of social media is that it lets people (who would probably never meet otherwise) connect, engage, and share life together. You gotta get in on that!

It’s not enough to post a cute picture of a puppy and ask for a donation. Interacting with your followers lets them know that,

  1. You are a real person, not a faceless organization and
  2. You actually care about them.

Those two things are beyond important when it comes to building a network that will be willing to support you, financially and otherwise. Which brings us to point number three:

Make friends

Social media for nonprofits

All that interacting with your followers should start to do something pretty wild: create relationships. (Kidding, it’s not wild. It’s common sense. And it’s awesome).

Be. Friends. With. Your. Followers. You can’t be BFFs with everyone, I know. But start to build real relationships with the people who interact with you the most. Whether these people are your biggest donors, or the ones who always comment and share your content, fostering a friendship with your followers will keep them on your team for the long haul. That’s how your cause will succeed!

If your followers feel like a real, integral part of your team, they will be far more likely to continue to donate.

Recognize your donors

Social Media for nonprofits


Finally, when people do make a donation, make it a big freaking deal! Everyone loves to be celebrated, right? Hand-written thank you notes will always be a great way to thank your donors, but social media opens up a world of other fun ways to thank people.

Post photos (with permission!), or shout-outs, to thank your donors and let them know how incredibly important they are. Not only will it put a smile on your donor’s face, it might also encourage others who see the post to donate, too.

You may not make $50,000 by posting a Facebook update, but using social media to make friends, tell stories, and interact with your donors and fans will go a long way in furthering your cause.
If you work for a nonprofit and your social media game could use a little help, give us a call! We’d love to chat with you.