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Social Media for Nonprofits: How to Make an Impact

With the right social media strategy, your nonprofit can create an engaged, active, and loyal online community that cares about your mission and is ready to help. Studies show that 29% of online donors are inspired to give through social media. Even beyond garnering more donations, a well-done social media presence can help you extend your brand’s reach and earn recognition—opening you up to media features, helping you attract more volunteers, and creating a dynamic online resource for people to learn more about your important work. 

While investing in targeted ads can go a long way, there’s also a lot you can do with social media at no financial cost to your organization. All you need is a little time and a good strategy. 

With that in mind, here are a few simple steps you can take to develop and refine your nonprofit’s social media strategy—and drive impact.

1. Establish clear, measurable goals 

As with any marketing plan, the first step to building out your social media strategy is to establish what you want to achieve. Are you hoping to pull in more donations? Drive awareness over time? Or are you launching a time-sensitive campaign and need to increase participation among a core demographic? Outlining your top priorities and goals from the start will help you shape your overall strategy—and get the most out of your time and budget. 

These goals should be well-defined and measurable, like increasing traffic to your website by a certain percentage or bringing in a specific dollar amount of donations through social media over a set period. Of course, your goals may evolve, so your social media strategy will likely evolve with them. Stay focused on what you want to achieve and avoid trying to do too much too soon. 

2. Create cohesive and engaging content

Create cohesive and engaging content

For some, social media is an escape—a haven of cute animal videos and picturesque travel photos. For others, it’s a resource for discovering new information about things they care about. But many have curated feeds that highlight the best of both, so it’s important to post content that stands out from the crowd and encourages people to stop scrolling and engage. 

Whenever possible, use cohesive branding to ensure that when people come across one of your posts, they immediately know who posted it and want to learn more. Depending on your goals, it may be best to post a healthy balance of general updates and news, urgent calls to action, and inspiring content that focuses on the impact your work is having. If followers feel that you’re spamming them with the same content over and over again, they may decide to unfollow you. 

Building an editorial calendar can help you strike the balance and stay on track. You can track this in a spreadsheet or document, or use tools like Trello or Airtable, many of which have free versions and even handy templates that you can use. If you’re worried you won’t have time to post regularly, it’s also worth exploring social media schedulers, such as Hootsuite or Buffer.

3. Interact with followers and other organizations 

One of the best things about social media is that it allows you to interact directly with your nonprofit’s supporters and other organizations that you partner with or admire. This is a great way to make followers feel more connected to your nonprofit. 

To increase the likelihood that people will share and engage with your content, be sure to tag any relevant profiles in your posts, such as the volunteers pictured or the organizations that collaborated with you on the initiative. You can also create unique hashtags that make it easy to find and share content that others are posting about your nonprofit. For example, by searching a hashtag you created for your latest campaign, you might find people talking about the donations they made, allowing you to post a thank-you comment from your nonprofit’s official account. This makes supporters feel appreciated—and can encourage their followers to get involved, too.

Even if you don’t have a team dedicated to social media, aim to check your notifications regularly and reply to comments and messages from followers. The more responsive you are, the more likely it is that they’ll continue engaging with your organization in the future. 

4. Track progress and refine your strategy

When you’re busy running a nonprofit and supporting the communities you serve, social media can sometimes become an afterthought. But dedicating even a few hours each month to tracking your progress can help you identify which strategies are working and which ones aren’t, allowing you to better direct your time and resources moving forward.

Track progress and refine your strategy

LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube all have comprehensive analytics available for organizations, making your progress easy to report and check in on. Some platforms also have built-in fundraising tools, giving you a clear view of how many donations your campaigns brought in through that platform.

Small steps, big impact

Getting started with social media can be challenging. Start small by doing simple tasks that cost nothing and help to immediately boost your nonprofit’s online presence, like creating an official LinkedIn Page and ensuring it contains complete and up-to-date information. Then, gradually ramp up your efforts, applying the lessons you’ve learned along the way. 

If you’re looking to get even more out of social media, targeted ads and sponsored content can help. To learn more about marketing solutions from LinkedIn for Nonprofits, reach out to one of our nonprofit consultants today.