Social media has become such as integral part of our lives that it’s even infiltrated the nonprofit sector. If you work for a nonprofit organization, you need to know about social media and how it can benefit your cause.
“We’re now at the point where we see more and more studies and surveys that show that people want to give their money; they want to support good causes; they’re looking for ways they can do this,” said Laura Larrimore, chief marketing officer at Network For Good. “But what we hear from donors is, ‘Don’t just ask me one time. Don’t just send me a letter or an e-mail asking for my money.’ They want to find out more about the organizations that they’re interested in. They want to get involved.”
Social media is an ideal way for nonprofits to communicate with people who are committed to their organizations’ missions, but also with new donors and members of the public who may be curious about their work. Here are five reasons why your nonprofit organization needs to be on social media:
To create awareness about your cause.
If you want others in your community or across the U.S. to know about what you stand for, then having a presence on social media is essential, said Larrimore. “People rely on it,” she said. “They go onto digital channels because that’s where they get their news and information.”
According to a 2021 study by the Pew Research Center, a third of Americans get their news on Facebook. And, according to a 2014 study by social media management company Sprout Social, 30% of people surveyed said they’ve donated to a nonprofit group or organization after seeing it promoted on social media.
“Nonprofits want to raise awareness about what they do,” Larrimore said. “And we find that more and more donors are looking for opportunities to donate online and through digital channels, so organizations need to be on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn because that’s where donors are looking for them.”
To your story
Having a strong social media presence gives nonprofit organizations a way to update stakeholders and the public about their accomplishments, said Larrimore. “The great thing about social media is that it’s easy for people to share your story,” she said.
In fact, according to the 2014 Sprout Social study, one in five respondents were likely to have shared or promoted an organization’s posts on Facebook or Twitter.
To help increase your donor base.
According to the Network for Good, more than 60 million households donate money each year in the U.S., and about $200 billion is given annually to charitable organizations. Yet, while social media can’t necessarily bring in major donations on its own, it can be one tool among many an organization uses to attract new donors and members of the public who may want to get involved with their mission.
You will also have more audience for your fundraising platforms and nonprofit campaigns. There are GofundMe competitors that you can use for your nonprofit crowdfunding, which can give you more exposure since GoFundMe can be overcrowded with campaigns.
To show how your work impacts others.
The best way for nonprofits to engage supporters and potential donors is by showing them how their work changes lives. For example, if you were part of a group working on wildlife conservation issues, you could post photos of rare animals, talk about how many have been saved, and highlight fundraisers.
To give your supporters a place to connect.
Nonprofit organizations often have hundreds of volunteers who dedicate hours of their time to support their cause, so it’s important for them to feel appreciated for what they do by having a place on social media where they can ask questions or share stories Larrimore said. You can even use Twitter chats to connect these supporters and with people in your organization.
In addition, allowing individual members of your team to update on Facebook or Twitter is a great way to let people know what’s going on inside your company, said Larrimore.
According to the 2014 Sprout Social study, 77% of respondents said they’re more likely to donate to a nonprofit organization that maintains a strong social media presence. So how do you get started on social media?
Pick platforms that best fit your target audience
It’s not necessary to be everywhere; you should know where your audience is and then build your strategy around that. It could be Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or all three. For example, some organizations might use LinkedIn for recruiting new members while using Facebook to reach out to their donors.
Use analytics on each platform.
An advantage of having separate profiles is it allows you to track your social media outreach in more detail and tailor your campaigns accordingly. For example, if you find that Twitter works best for reaching young people between the ages of 18 to 24, then dedicate more resources to that platform than, say, Facebook or LinkedIn.
Keep a regular schedule, so people know when to expect updates from you, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of content such as photos, videos, animations, infographics, etc. “We see some organizations getting creative,” Larrimore said. “I think it’s a good time for organizations because there are a lot of resources out there.”
And finally, never forget about your current supporters by thanking them for everything they’ve done and perhaps even suggesting new ways they can help.
Your organization can improve its social media presence by showing how it impacts others, giving supporters a place to connect, attracting new donors, and utilizing analytics. To start this process, choose the best platforms for your target audience and create a regular schedule for when things will be posted.