Social Media for Nonprofits: All You Need to Know

Social media is essential for your nonprofit if you aim to expand your reach, engage with supporters, and raise awareness about your cause. 

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow you to share your impact, solicit donations, recruit volunteers, and advocate for change.

But which platform is best for your NGO? And should you focus on just one?

This article will walk you through the 10 steps of using social media for nonprofits effectively.

Which social media is best for nonprofits?

The best social media channels for your nonprofit depend on your target audience.

Let's explore a few options.

  • TikTok: If your target demographic is under 30, you’ll most likely find them on TikTok. Another benefit to the platform is its algorithm, which can help you get discovered naturally. 
  • Instagram: For nonprofits with visually appealing content, such as those focused on arts, crafts, or environmental conservation, consider Instagram
  • Facebook: Due to its popularity across different demographics and robust features for creating sponsored posts, events, and fundraising campaigns, Facebook is still a popular choice for NGOs.
  • LinkedIn: If you're targeting professionals or businesses, consider marketing on LinkedIn. With over a billion users, it is an excellent platform for networking, fundraising, and recruiting volunteers. 
  • YouTube: If you have the resources to create long-form video content, YouTube is a great platform to consider. It boasts 2.5 billion users, and with YouTube Shorts, you can reach a more extensive audience.

Choosing the right social platform for your charity will allow you to communicate your mission, generate leads, and drive action towards your goals. 

Social media for NGOs in 10 steps:

Set clear and specific goals

Start by setting concrete social media goals that align with your business plan. Whether boosting brand recognition, increasing traffic to your website, or creating a community of supporters, having clear objectives will guide your social media strategy.

For example, if your goal is to promote events, tracking event registrations will help you gauge success.

Draft your social media policy

Prepare a comprehensive social media policy to empower your team to navigate social media responsibly. It also ensures your social media content is consistently on-brand.

Include guidelines for content creation, posting frequency, engagement with followers, and crisis management procedures. Also, specify your requirements for adherence to social media privacy standards. As an NGO, you will have access to sensitive information about donors and volunteers. To protect it, you need protocols for handling private messages, confidential client information, and sensitive organizational data.

Choose your social platforms

When selecting social media platforms for your NGO, consider the unique characteristics of each platform and how they align with your organization's goals and target audience. By strategically choosing the platforms that resonate most with your audience, you can maximize your impact and engagement on social media.

Conduct thorough research to understand where your audience is most active and engaged. 

For example, if your NGO's target demographic consists primarily of young adults interested in visual content, you’ll look into platforms like Instagram or TikTok. 

Plan your social media marketing calendar

Develop a detailed social media calendar outlining what you plan to post – the topic and the format of every content piece. This approach will help you keep your content timely, relevant, and consistent.

First, outline key themes, events, and campaigns happening throughout the year. For instance, if your NGO is hosting a fundraising gala in June, plan content leading up to the event. Also, mark on your calendar any awareness days or holidays related to your cause – say World Environment Day for an environmental organization.

Next, plan the rest of your posts to share impactful stories, client testimonials, and updates on projects to keep your audience informed and inspired.

Create interactive and shareable content

To keep your audience engaged and grow your following, you need to create interactive and shareable content. 

You can create visually appealing infographics explaining the impact of your programs. Or, you can leverage user-generated content to build more trust with your audience. 

Quizzes and polls are a great way to interact with your audience, as they encourage people to share their opinions and engage with your content. For example, you can create Facebook quizzes to spark friendly competition among your audience.

Speak with your audience

In addition to crafting engaging content, prioritize engagement with your audience to nurture meaningful interactions. You can use social media as a customer service channel by responding to inquiries, comments, and messages.

To make interaction easier for your team and provide timely replies, consider implementing dedicated support hours and preparing templated responses to frequent questions. You can also integrate a social media chatbot.

Another idea is to host live Q&A sessions where followers can directly engage with your team, other donors, or volunteers. Transparency is a key element of building trust with your community.

Partner with relevant people

By partnering up with individuals who have a significant following and credibility in your niche, you can expand your reach and inspire meaningful action among your dedicated fan base.

You can team up with influencers, experts, or activists who resonate with your NGO's mission and values. Invite them to participate in campaigns, events, or fundraising initiatives, leveraging their authority to increase engagement and support for your cause. 

To keep out of scandals, consider the ethics of influencer marketing and thoroughly check any online persona you decide to partner with. 

Consider using social media ads

Launch social media ads to increase your reach, especially around the launch of new projects or events. 

Meta’s Ads Manager is a comprehensive tool for creating and monitoring ads on Facebook or Instagram. It allows you to target specific audiences based on their sex, age, location, etc., launch a variety of ad formats, and track results to adjust your strategy for the highest ROI.

Explore different Facebook ad formats to amplify your NGO's reach and impact. Video ads are great for capturing attention and conveying your message authentically, while carousel ads work well for brand storytelling or tutorials.

Take a look at these Facebook Lead Ads examples to inspire your campaigns. 

Track your results and adjust

Tracking your results will help you understand which posts resonate with your audience and which strategies are driving the most significant impact. Social media analytics tools allow you to measure key performance, such as engagement rates, reach, and conversions, across multiple platforms. 

For example, with social media analytics, you may discover that video content generates higher engagement than static images. You can then prioritize video creation and make better use of your resources.

Combine social media with other channels

Integrate social media seamlessly with your NGO's broader communication strategy.

Your NGO website

Your website is the hub of everything you about your nonprofit organization – your values, the projects you’re working on, your contact details and social media links, etc. 

While your website and social media are separate channels, integrating them can help you tell your story and build trust more effectively. Add a link to your website on your social bios. Also, embed your social media content on your website to encourage visitors to follow you on social platforms.

Also, add video testimonials to key pages on your website to build trust with your visitors. For example, a testimonial from an ex-volunteer or a person who’s been positively impacted by your charity’s work sends a strong trust signal for others to join your cause.

Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most preferred marketing channels because it’s versatile, has a high ROI, and you can deliver emails at scale. It’s also an owned channel as compared to social media where your success depends on a third-party algorithm. Combine your social and email marketing efforts for optimal results.

Encourage your social media followers to subscribe to your email list to receive newsletters, updates, and exclusive content, such as a digital brochure outlining key information about your organization and the projects you’re working on.

You can also capitalize on outbound email marketing efforts. Let’s say you’re looking for companies to sponsor an upcoming charity event. Find relevant contact persons on LinkedIn, get their emails with LinkedIn scraping tools, and start an email outreach sequence. 

Final thoughts

Did you know that UNICEF and the American Red Cross have over 35 million followers on TikTok alone? Social media gives a unique opportunity to connect to build a supportive community while reaching new audiences. 

Follow the 10 steps we’ve outlined to master social media for nonprofits.