How to Amplify Your Reach This National Nonprofit Day—and Why It’s Critical
National Nonprofit Day has special significance this year. Founded in 1894, the day was created to recognize the positive impact that nonprofits have on the world—an impact that has been thrown into even clearer focus as a result of recent events.
Over the past few months, countless nonprofits have provided vital support to individuals and communities affected by COVID-19, racial injustice, and economic hardship. Staff and volunteers have persevered with passion and determination, despite the additional challenges and pressures the pandemic has created.
Unfortunately, nonprofits have been especially hard-hit by COVID-19, with 73% reporting a drop in revenue. With in-person events paused and fundraising opportunities limited, it’s more critical than ever for nonprofits to build and nurture a strong online presence that helps them connect with new donors and volunteers.
Here are a few practical steps your nonprofit can take starting today to amplify your reach—and raise awareness about your impact.
1. For recruiting volunteers, think beyond your website
While some people aren’t able to make a financial contribution right now, many are interested in lending a hand in other ways. In the UK alone, one in five adults has volunteered in their community since March 23—not counting the many people who participated in the National Health Service’s own volunteer program. Of these volunteers, 78% said they planned to continue helping people in need after lockdown restriction lifted.
For nonprofits, the takeaway is clear: people are ready and willing to help—both for this present moment and, potentially, for the long term. But enlisting them is only possible if they’re aware of your work.
To that end, if you only post opportunities on your own website and social media accounts, you risk shutting out a large number of prospective volunteers—as the only people likely to see these ads are those already familiar with and following your organization. By utilizing platforms like LinkedIn and VolunteerMatch, where people actively browse for opportunities to apply their skills and talents, you make it easier for them to discover the great work you do—and get involved.
2. Eliminate blind spots in your social media presence
Worldwide, 75% of NGOs agree that social media is effective for both fundraising and recruiting volunteers. Despite this, many haven’t posted to some of their accounts for months or even years.
Ideally, it’s good to have a unified, up-to-date social media presence across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, as this increases the likelihood that your content will be seen—and shared—by people outside of your existing network. One way to manage this efficiently is to use a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer that allows you to schedule content to post on multiple platforms simultaneously. Most scheduling tools offer both a free and premium version, so depending on your needs, they may offer a quick, affordable way to keep your social profiles buzzing with activity.
Alternatively, you could focus on growing your follower count on just a couple of platforms, developing a tailored strategy for each account. If you go this route, think carefully about the kind of content you’re most likely to post regularly and which platforms are best suited to your needs. For example, if you plan to post a lot of written testimonials and stories, a highly visual platform like Instagram or one with tight character count limitations like Twitter may not be ideal. In this case, you might opt for using LinkedIn or Facebook instead. You should also consider which platforms have been most effective for you in the past, and which of your accounts have the most followers already.
Whatever platforms you choose, try to avoid having inactive accounts, as someone stumbling upon them may assume that your nonprofit is no longer operational. For the accounts you do plan to use frequently, take some time to ensure they’re complete, adding any missing profile pictures, banner images, descriptions of your nonprofit’s mission, and links to your website. On LinkedIn, you also have the opportunity to include information about what it’s like to work or volunteer for your organization, along with pictures and videos that shine a light on your culture and impact. These details can make your page stand out, enticing people to learn more about what you do.
3. Wherever you go online, invite others to follow
It’s simple math: the more people who follow your nonprofit online, the greater chance there is that your content and updates will be widely shared. So, if you have recently created an account on a new social platform, be sure to alert all of your existing followers—and invite them to join you there as well. You can also boost traffic to your social media pages by adding helpful links on your website, and in every newsletter that you send.
Another way to increase your online visibility is to encourage people to add their volunteering experience with your nonprofit under the “Experience” section of their LinkedIn profile. This is mutually beneficial, making their profiles more impressive to recruiters and potential employers—all while getting more eyes on your organization.
Consider sending out an email containing step-by-step instructions about how to add this experience to their profile, and some language that volunteers can simply copy and paste. Some may decide to personalize it to highlight their specific contributions—but by doing some of the groundwork, there’s a higher probability that people will complete the task right away, rather than waiting and forgetting.
4. Highlight the good you’re doing in the world
During this trying moment, people need stories that lift their spirits and inspire hope. As a nonprofit, you’re uniquely positioned to provide these stories, even if you’re not currently able to get out into the field.
Look for photos, videos, and testimonials that demonstrate the work you do and the lives you’ve changed. Share these pieces of your story weekly on “Throwback Thursday”—or whenever it feels right. Where possible, tag staff, volunteers, and partner organizations in relevant posts to boost the chances that they’ll engage with the content and share it with their own followers.
You can also encourage staff and volunteers to share their favorite memories of working with your nonprofit. This is a great way to foster positivity and help them feel connected to your organization, even if you’re apart. Consider creating a unique, dedicated hashtag that they can tag their memories with, as this will make it easier for you to find and reshare their posts.
As your reach grows, your impact will, too
National Nonprofit Day isn’t just an opportunity to reflect on the great work you’ve done. It’s an opportunity to look ahead with optimism and to encourage more people to join you along the way. The greater your engagement and reach, the more good you can do in the world—now, and in the future.
If you need help extending your reach or navigating this uncertain time, LinkedIn for Nonprofits is here to support you. Let us know what you need and we’ll be in touch.