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5 Tips to Creating a Social Media Strategy for your Non-profit

Unless you intend on living beneath a rock, there’s no avoiding social media in today’s digital age.

But before you start posting, tagging and sharing content, let us ask you this:

What is the purpose of social media for non-profits?

To clarify, it’s NOT to raise money. Rather, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn should be used to connect with your community, speak with them directly and spread your cause to others. If you do this well, donations will follow.

After all, we know for a fact that social media works – 55% of people who engage with causes via social media are inspired to take further action, like:

  • Donating money (68%)
  • Volunteering (53%)
  • Donating items (52%)
  • Attending an event (43%)

But how do you know which platforms work for your cause?  

How do you create a social media presence that cuts through the noise and appeals to your audience?

Let’s take a look at some easy steps to create a strong, effective social media strategy that will get the results you want.


1. Identify your audience 

If you think your audience is the general public, you’re probably speaking to nobody.

Instead, it’s worth asking: who is our ideal supporter? You can get this information from your donor database and then target your communications for deeper, more authentic engagement.

Once your social media is up and running, there are a range of analytical tools to help you track both engagement and demographic, all of which will allow you to tailor your content even further. More on this a bit later.


2. Choose your medium

Now you know your target audience, it’s time to find out which social platforms they use most. Again, a donor survey is a great way to find out. It stops you guessing. Facebook or Twitter? Instagram or YouTube? LinkedIn or Pinterest?

For example, if your non-profit is all about music, your donors might enjoy watching videos on YouTube. But if you work for a wildlife organisation, supporters might like sharing adorable photos through Instagram.

There’s no point trying to create a presence on all platforms if your donors are only active on one or two. So focus your efforts where it matters, and you’ll have a greater chance of reaching your audience.


3. Create a content strategy 

People engage well with content that educates, inspires and entertains.

How do you decide what photos, videos and captions to share?  

A good place to start are your past posts (if you have any). What posts did supporters engage with the most? Which posts had the most comments, likes and shares? You could even create a post that asks for your donors’ opinions – the types of stories they would like to see from your organisation, how they like to be spoken to and how often.

Following this, content can rotate through several topics. For example, supporter/volunteer spotlights, case studies, how-to guides, research updates, practical tips to make life easier or information about certain support services.


How do you present this content?

Photos, images, infographics, short videos, story highlights and quotes.

A quick Google search will give you a bunch free tools for all your social media needs, from creating beautiful quotes to grading photos, choosing filters and themes and even planning your layout weeks in advance.


How often should you post?

That depends on your organisation.

Some have the content to post every day, others just once a week. Either way, the key is to be consistent. For example, every Monday you might share a success story. Every Wednesday might be a helpful tip for donors trying to be better environmentalists, or animal lovers, or parents. Friday might be an inspirational quote relating to your work.

A social media content calendar that marks important holidays, events, functions and milestones will help you plan and schedule posts, so you’re never caught out and scrambling to catch up.


4. Put the ‘social’ in social media

Social media is a place to connect with supporters and build communities. So keep this top of mind when creating your content.

Don’t use it to just broadcast your achievements and success. Instead, content should be donor-centric. Focus on engagement. On what your donors want and love. And when they comment, respond with some light-hearted banter.

This goes for negative feedback, too. It’s far better to respond in a timely manner with sincerity and openness than to delete the comment or ignore it altogether. Your supporters will appreciate the transparency, and your non-profit will seem less ‘organisation’ and more ‘human’.


5. Measure engagement

There’s no point doing a thorough social media strategy if you don’t bother to track your efforts and measure results. How else will you know what’s working?

Each platform has their own free analytical tools, so take advantage of them and use the information to adjust your strategy. Include more of what donors engage with, and less of what they don’t.

If your goal is to drive website traffic (to donate or sign a petition, for example), you could try Google Analytics to track how many supporters are being referred.

Just remember that building a loyal social media community and pulling in donations won’t happen with just one or two posts. It will take time, planning and consistent communication. But if you know your audience, focus on the right mediums, come up with an authentic donor-centric content strategy and keep measuring engagement, you’ll reap the rewards in the long-term.