May 21, 2021

3 Ways to Use Social Media to Create Authentic Stories


How do you communicate your nonprofit’s story to your donors? If you are like most nonprofit organizations, you likely answered “with a quarterly newsletter” distributed either by email and/or direct mail.

While email and direct mail newsletters are still a great way to give organizational updates to your supporters, you may be missing out on an easy and fun way to share your story to a larger and younger audience. 91% of Millennials said that they used Facebook within the past week to post about or engage with an issue they care about, while 59% of Gen Zs are inspired to donate to a charity by a message or image they saw on social media.

1. Use Instagram & Facebook stories

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 88% of 18 to 29 year olds use some form of social media. Despite statistics like these, social media is underutilized by many nonprofits due to a variety of factors ranging from a lack of understanding on how to take advantage of the tool to a lack of time or staff resources. Maybe you have a Facebook page and maybe you even have an Instagram account, but in order to be truly successful on social media, you must follow the same social media rules and trends for social media influencers and for-profit organizations.

One way to increase visibility and followers for your non-profit is to consistently use Instagram and Facebook Stories.

  • Instagram and Facebook Stories allow you to share authentic photo and video content that last for a brief period.
    • Stories disappear from your Feed and profile after 24 hours.
      • On Instagram you can choose to add it as a “highlight” to keep it available on your profile after the 24 hour period. 
  • Stories appear at the top of your followers’ Feed, on your profile, as well as in your Feed next to posts that you share as indicated by a colorful ring around your profile picture.

Over the past 2 years, Instagram Stories have grown to over 400 million daily active users making it an integral part of the app. What makes stories so engaging and entertaining is its “in the moment” authentic feel as compared to the more curated style of the Feed. Stories allow your organization to share your passion and mission with visual content in a way that feels natural to your followers.

Once you decide to start using Instagram and/or Facebook Stories, you must post consistently. Roughly map out a plan of when and how often you can reasonably expect to update your Stories as well as your Feed.


Behind the Scenes

  • Share a look behind the scenes of your next luncheon or gala. 
  • Post photos and videos from a volunteer event.
    • What does it look like after you’ve collected thousands of canned and dry food items for local food pantries? Who packs them? How are they distributed to families?

Day in the Life

  • What is it like to work for your organization? Have a staff member or volunteer document their day-to-day responsibilities for your organization. 
  • Are you raising money for research? Ask a researcher who is funded by your organization to share a short video clip from their day and work. 
  • Instagram Story “Takeover”: Ask someone from outside your organization to post their day-to-day. A great option for a takeover would be a beneficiary of your organization. This individual can send photos and short video content for you to post directly to your story.

Promote Your Campaigns

  • If you have enough followers, take advantage of the “Swipe Up” feature on Instagram, as you can easily link a mobile-friendly donation page to it. Create a video and end the ask with directions to “Swipe Up” to donate. 
  • If you don’t have access to this feature, you can use a call-to-action like a text-to-donate keyword, e.x text NPODEMO to 51555, to make it easier for supporters to give and share with their friends.

Impact Stories

  • Following a recent fundraiser, use pictures and video to show how money is being used toward your cause. 
  • For example, did you raise money to purchase new books for the school library? Share your predictions for the top borrowed books for 2019. Ask for suggestions for books to purchase.

Have fun with it! Add stickers, gifs and even music to your story. Use branded hashtags and mentions to tag individuals and partner organizations in your stories. Share other Instagram posts and stories to your Instagram story for even greater impact.

When you should post stories

Due to the fact that Stories last for 24 hours, the time of day that you post is not as crucial for engagement as compared to posts to the Feed. Aim to post to your Stories at least one to three times per week. If you have a dedicated social media manager, you can post up to 10 or more posts to your Stories a day if you have the content to support it.

Interested to know more about how your organization can set up an online giving page or a text-to-donate keyword for your next campaign? Request a free demo with one of our fundraising experts to see how GiveSmart can help you advance your mission. Request a Free Demo

2. Engage with your followers

  • Respond quickly to your follower’s comments and direct messages.
  • Repost their content (related to your organization).
  • Tag your staff and volunteers when posting.
  • Interact with your followers by using the polls option to learn more about them.
  • Use the questions feature to gather intel from your followers about the content that they want to see.

3. Work with influencers

Influencers will help you gain more followers and share your story to a larger audience. Influencers are social media experts, popular users, bloggers and sometimes famous people. With so many nonprofits vying for attention and dollars, many are looking for peer recommendations on who to support, whether that support comes in the form of donations or volunteer time.

It also helps to follow a mix of nonprofits, brands and influencers for more ideas on how to use Stories to share your story:

Promoting your cause through social media can inspire your most passionate online advocates. It’s never too late to start implementing these strategies into your social media plan, so get a head start today!

Our goal at GiveSmart is to help nonprofit organizations create and manage successful digital fundraising campaigns, raise more money and retain donors longer. Request a free demo with one of our fundraising experts to learn, step by step, how GiveSmart can simply help set up your campaigns while transforming your results.


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