If you’re running a nonprofit, it’s safe to assume you’ve got your hands full. Between managing fundraising campaigns, hosting events, sourcing donors, sending email updates and keeping your website looking great, there’s probably not much time left in your day. The last thing you want to hear is a marketing agency encouraging you to add one more thing to your to-do list: actively and consistently post to your nonprofit’s social channels.
Social media is a great tool to keep your donors engaged with your organization and informed about your cause. Not to mention, having active social media accounts allows you the opportunity to reach a wide audience of new potential donors, draw them to your website and encourage them to care about your cause.
The benefits of keeping your organization’s social media accounts regularly updated are worth the time it will take you to do so consistently. Let me explain why.
You can communicate your impact easily on social media.
It’s not likely that your donors are visiting your website every day. They may not be checking their email every day either. But they are visiting their social media channels. The average person spends nearly two hours of every day on social media. To effectively communicate the impact your nonprofit is having on its cause, because of the donations you receive, it’s important to meet your audience where they spend their time.
Being able to see the impact their donation made is important to many donors; it may spur them to give again.
Social media gives you a visual medium to tell your story.
One of the best ways to communicate the impact your nonprofit is making is through sharing images and videos on social media. On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube, your visual content makes a bigger impact than sitting on your website alone. Not to mention, on social media your supporters can easily share these photos or videos with their followers.
Visual content on Facebook receives 39% more engagement than text-only posts. Instagram is built to be a primarily visual channel, making it a great place to share both photos and videos under 60 seconds long. Twitter is primarily text; posting a picture or two will help you stand out from the noise of your followers’ newsfeeds.
Social channels help to curate a community of supporters.
Social media is great at finding likeminded people and uniting them behind a cause. Many people use social media to find a community of people who love, care about or believe in the same things they do. Using popular but relevant hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is one way to help the right people find your nonprofit. Joining Twitter chats or LinkedIn groups and contributing to the discussion is another way.
An audience who feels strongly about your mission will be more likely to engage with the content you post to show their support. Then, when you ask your social media communities to rally behind your cause at an event or contribute to a fundraiser, they will do so because they truly care.
You’re able to extend your reach with social media.
Nonprofits should consider their social media accounts to have two audiences: your donors, volunteers and supporters as your first audience, and their networks as your second audience. It’s understandably easier to reach your current supporters, since they likely will be happy to follow your social pages. To reach both audiences, however, you must learn how to create shareable content. Photos are great examples of shareable content, as told by the following statistics:
- Tweets that include an image receive 150% more retweets than those without.
- Infographics receive three times more likes and shares than any other type of content on social platforms.
- Facebook posts with images receive 3 times more engagement than posts without images.
Consider devising a campaign that centers around encouraging your social followers to share or tag their friends as part of a contest. Campaigns like this can help spread awareness for your cause as well as helping you source new potential donors and even receive donations.
The ALS Ice Bucket challenge during the summer months of 2014 is a great example of a social media campaign that used Facebook to reach a huge audience, raising awareness for a cause and bringing in $115 million dollars to the charity. Once you’re settled into using social media to reach your audience, start brainstorming ideas for a campaign that could help you reach an even larger group of people.
All this at no cost to you!
Setting up a Facebook page, Twitter profile, Instagram business profile, Pinterest account or YouTube channel is currently free of charge. In some cases, you will pay to upgrade to a higher account level (see YouTube Red) and will be charged if you want to do any advertising (though you can control how much you spend). The opportunity to build an online community at no or a very low cost is one you should take.
Reminder: you don’t have to do it all. Consider doing some research to find out what social channels your donors are most active on. Then, craft your social media strategy around those two or three channels rather than stretching yourself thin trying to manage five platforms. Focus on posting great content where your donors already are, and you’ll be better equipped to continue growing that audience (and turning them into donors).
Want to increase your nonprofit’s social media activity but just can’t find the time to do it yourself? Get in touch. We’re experts at social media management and crafting social strategies for organizations like yours.