Feb 23, 2022

How to Boost Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Reach

Dabo's All in Team Foundation social video

There are over 1.8 million nonprofit organizations in the United States.1 How can yours possibly stand out?

There’s no way around the need for promotion. If people don’t know you’re doing something, they can’t get involved. The first step to change that is by building awareness, and that starts with a communication plan that includes multiple channels, such as email, text messaging, direct mail, and social media. Today we’re going to take a look at how to improve your nonprofit’s social media reach.

If your nonprofit is just getting started with social media, or if your social media engagement is in a rut, this is a good opportunity to re-think and re-set how you use social media to engage with potential donors and existing donors. It’s never too late to step back and look at how you’re using social media. There’s always room to learn and grow.

Here are three tips that can help you expand your nonprofit’s social media reach.

1. Determine Your Nonprofit’s Personality

That may sound like a strange first step, but many nonprofits start posting without thinking about this. People are going to be drawn to your organization because they like your mission, and to some degree, because they like the feel of the nonprofit. This is especially true for any recurring engagement, whether it be volunteering, donating, or any ongoing relationship-building with supporters.

As people discover your content on social media, how you talk about your mission will be just as important as what you talk about. Is your tone light and casual? Is it respectful and somber? It can at times be all of those things, but the personality you give off should be recognizable as unmistakably your organization. This builds familiarity as well. As people see more of your posts, they will start to associate your nonprofit with the content you’re sharing and the voice and tone you use to talk about it.

In the two images below you’ll see Black Voters Matter’s Instagram grid and Santa Monica Mountains Fund’s Instagram grid. Both nonprofits’ Instagrams evoke a different personality, one of black contrasted with bright red and large text, to entice action and social justice awareness. The second of green, brown, and earth tones, with images of nature and minimal text. 

We all have a unique voice of our own. If you’re a small nonprofit, that voice may be based on the voice of your executive director or the primary face of your organization. As your nonprofit grows, your voice will likely evolve.

Black Voters Matter Instagram Feed
Santa Monica Mountains Fund Instagram Feed

2. Tell Your Nonprofit’s Story

The next way to stand out is to post engaging content. Many organizations fall into the trap of only posting with asks – donate now, register for our event here. That should be a percentage of what you post, but it shouldn’t be all that you post.

So what should you post? Social media is for sharing. Share the work that you’re doing. What are you doing to further your mission?

This can be behind-the-scenes posts. You can spotlight a volunteer. You can spotlight a donor or a sponsor. You can introduce a new program or an update on a pre-existing program.

You can also post content in more than one way to keep it fresh. You can write a post, upload a short video, and upload pictures. You can also post different content on different platforms. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the major places to be and each has their own strengths and audiences. You may find people respond to one theme more on one platform than the other.

A simple trick to help stand out is to establish a hashtag for your nonprofit. Use this consistently, and invite others in your organization, whether it be board members, staff, or volunteers, to use the hashtag when they post about your nonprofit too. Those same people are your initial audience. They should be following you, and they should also be liking, commenting, and sharing your posts whenever possible. This helps others who aren’t following your account to see your content.

It’s best to make your posts bite-sized and focused on one thing. That helps minimize the demand on your time, and also makes it more digestible for your followers. If you have a lot of information to share, break it up across multiple posts.

There are a lot of options for posts so, to keep yourself focused and on-task, map out a calendar of what topic you’ll be posting on which day and what type it will be. To make it easier on yourself, you can create weekly themes.

Running a nonprofit is a journey, and your journey is unique from other nonprofits. Share that journey.

Catskill Animal Sanctuary Facebook post
Together Rising Facebook Post

3. Track Your Progress

As you start posting this content, you’ll start to see what your followers like.

Each social media platform has its own analytics so keep an eye on it to see what kind of engagement your posts get.

But remember: there is trial and error here. The analytics should guide you, but it shouldn’t rule you. Don’t get bogged down on the performance of each and every post. If one type of post performs poorly once, that doesn’t necessarily mean that type will always do poorly. It will take time to find patterns, like which day of the week or time of day your followers are most likely to engage.

The big takeaway is that social media should be a conversation with your community. Opening up a dialogue invites interaction that can organically lead to donations. Rather than a simply transactional approach, create a unique presence that only you can provide. Experiment and be authentic and your nonprofit will stand out on social media.

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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