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Nonprofit Social Media Strategy: 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.

A well-done social media presence extends your brand’s reach and earns recognition, opening you up to media opportunities, 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.

Here are a few steps you can take to develop and refine your nonprofit’s social media strategy — and drive impact.

Tips for your nonprofit social media strategy

1. Establish clear, measurable goals for your nonprofit social media strategy on each platform
Every social media and networking platform is different. The best way to use your presence on any social media platform is to study how your audience uses each site and then develop tailored strategies to deliver optimized content.

Set  goals for each of your social media accounts. 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.

For example, on LinkedIn, where 87% of surveyed members donate to nonprofits and 75% are interested in starting to volunteer or volunteering more, your nonprofit might create goals around fundraising or volunteer recruitment. LinkedIn can be an excellent platform for forming long-term connections with individuals who want regular opportunities to volunteer and support key, timely initiatives. Therefore, both gaining followers and improving recurring follower engagement are important goals for a nonprofit social media strategy on LinkedIn.

2. Create cohesive and engaging content that demonstrates impact
Give your followers a compelling reason to comment on and share your social media content whenever possible. You can achieve this by developing content around recent news, particularly exciting facts and figures about your mission and impact, or human-centric stories connected to your cause.

Whatever you post, try to brand all social media content as consistently as possible. That way, when people come across one of your posts, they should immediately know who posted it and want to learn more about your nonprofit.

One effective way to help ensure your content stays cohesive and engaging at the same time is to focus on the impact of your nonprofit’s ongoing actions. On LinkedIn, you might express your appreciation for specific volunteers who are making a difference or showcase an initiative made possible by your donors. By connecting all of your content back to how it directly contributes toward achieving your goals, you’ll help your followers understand its clear relevance and encourage them to envision themselves as part of the team.

3. Interact with your nonprofit’s followers on social media consistently
A crucial component of using social media as a nonprofit is creating opportunities 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 organization and its mission, and to build or strengthen relationships.

Be sure to tag any relevant profiles in your posts, such as the volunteers pictured or the organizations that collaborated with you. You can also create unique hashtags for your organization to make it easy to find and share content that others are posting about your nonprofit.

For example, searching for a hashtag that you created for your latest campaign might help you 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.

You can also take your interactions with social media followers a step further by hosting live events from your account. Using the LinkedIn platform, your organization could host a LinkedIn Live volunteer info session event to brief prospective volunteers about new opportunities and give them a chance to connect themselves via the event’s live chat. According to Classy’s Fundraising Event Experience report, 91% of event attendees are likely to take further action with a nonprofit after a positive event experience. 

4. Track progress and refine your nonprofit social media strategy continuously
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

Most platforms, including LinkedIn, have comprehensive analytics available for organizations, making your progress easy to track and report. Some platforms also have built-in fundraising tools, giving you a clear view of how many donations your campaigns brought in through that platform.

Try connecting your social media goals back to key KPIs you track across all organization branding initiatives. By figuring out how your social media presence directly contributes to each KPI, you can define exactly how to measure and maximize the direct impact of your nonprofit social media strategy on each platform.

To learn more about how to make the most of your nonprofit’s presence on LinkedIn, check out LinkedIn Marketing Solutions for nonprofits.

This blog post was originally published on February 16, 2021. It was updated on October 30, 2023, with new information.