Social Media for Nonprofits: How to Make an Impact with Little Budget
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGY
Are you struggling to make your cause known and garner more support for your nonprofit through social media?
A lack of funding, time or resources could contribute to dwindling success—not to mention the poor organic reach that many social media platforms are dishing out to Pages and profiles of all sizes.
For the majority of social media platforms, it’s pay-to-play. It’s tricky to reach the audience you’re building if you’re not handing over the little cash you’ve got to advertise.
But how can you prevent feeling disheartened if your nonprofit’s social media presence isn’t doing as well as you’d hoped? And is it really possible to receive donations, garner support and recruit volunteers through social media organically?
The answer is simple: Yes.
In this guide, I’m sharing exactly how you can make a big impact with little budget as a nonprofit on social media. From using interactive content to measuring the results you’re getting, I’ve got you covered!
Why should nonprofits focus on social media?
Firstly, let’s have a quick chat about why you’re marketing your organization anyway.Social media is perfect for either of those goals.
Why? Because for each goal to be met, you’ll need another person to get involved. Over by 2019 (up from 2.46 billion in 2017), meaning there’s no shortage of opportunities to find people who can support your cause through platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
To put it simply: Using social media correctly gives you the chance to promote your nonprofit and find people to help with your mission.
And, in an industry that doesn’t always have much to offer in return for someone’s donation or offer to volunteer, the short-form content you’re sharing on social media means your audience don’t have to do too much to get involved.
If your audience are giving a donation and don’t get anything back physically,it’s wise to make it as easy as possible for them to get involved.
We all like ease and convenience, right?
What you’ll need to start promoting your non-profit organization on social media
Just like any new marketing campaign, you’ll need to know what you’re working towards in order to promote your cause effectively. That includes:
Setting clear goals on what you want to achieve: Are you more focused on receiving donations, raising awareness, or recruiting volunteers?
The audience you’re targeting: What type of content do they enjoy, and which platforms are your audience using regularly?
Which social platforms you’ll be using: Are you majorly limited by resources? It might be wise to focus on the platform most of your target audience is using, then branch out once you’re seeing results.
A strategy to put that into place: Do you know how much time you have to invest? Create a weekly (or monthly) schedule that allows you to post consistently without burning yourself out.
Save your answers to these in a document you can refer back to. That way, it’ll be easy to reference when you’re researching new ideas to make an impact—or when your boss questions why you’re focusing on social media,anyway.
Seven ways nonprofits can make an impact on social media with little budget
If that’s you, and you’re looking to find a way to supercharge the results you’re getting through organic posting, use these tips to make a big impact with the little time and budget you’re working with:
1. Post interactive content to encourage engagement
Interactive content is a type of content that requires your audience to do something other than passively watching or reading.
If you’re able to sprinkle this type of content throughout the social media calendar for your nonprofit, there’s no reason why you couldn’t boost engagement rates—and meet your goals sooner.
Putting this type of content on your to-do list doesn’t mean you’ll have to spend hours creating a unique post. You could:
Run Twitter polls
Host a Q&A session through Instagram Stories
Post a Facebook survey
Ask your audience to share their story through a normal status update
UK-based charity Save the Children use this concept in their Twitter feed. Asking their followers to respond to their survey with an emoji, it does a fantastic job at getting their existing audience engaged:
No matter which type of interactive content you’re using to promote your nonprofit through social media, you’ll gain valuable insights into your current follower base.
That data is invaluable for creating better-targeted content, in the future.
2. Include hash tags to increase your reach
Remember how earlier, I mentioned how the majority of social media platforms are becoming pay-to-play?
I’ve got a little workaround: Using hashtags in your content.
Branding your nonprofit’s social media content with a hashtag can increase your organic reach because it allows the content to be found in native search.
All of the big platforms—including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn—have their own search features, and with millions of users visiting the site each day, why wouldn’t you want to position your charity in front of them?
If you’re able to:
Create your own hashtag and build a strong following by getting involved
OR jump onto a popular hashtag and make it your own
Notice how this post isn’t published from the charity’s page directly? Instead, it’s posted by a supporter—making hashtags a fantastic way to encourage your loyal community to help spread the word about your cause.
But, on the brand-side, you’ll need to create a strong hashtag before your audience begin using it.
The British Red Cross have a fantastic example of how to do this across multiple platforms uses the #PowerofKindness hashtag:
Now, when anyone is involved with the charity, they’re more likely to add the branded hashtag to their own post—building the strength of your hashtag, the chances of being found in native social search, and positioning yourself in front of their audience.
The search results for each of these hashtags is charity-based, so you might have competition to stand out. But don’t let that put you off.
Testing a handful of non-branded hashtags can help you to discover which terms are resonating with your audience (and being searched-for).
You’ll also get a grip of how they work on each platform, which will put you in good stead for when you come to create a branded hashtag campaign.
3. Use visuals to drive website traffic
That’s a major bonus for nonprofits—especially if you’re looking to raise brand awareness and drive more traffic to the content hosted on your website.
So, use this concept when crafting the content you’re going to post. You could
accompany external URLs with:
Photos from a recent event
The Audubon Society use high-quality images when sharing links to their content on Twitter:
I’ll bet that striking image is much less likely to slip through the constant feed of content in your own feed, right?
4. Check in daily and respond to questions
You’re likely to see an increase in the number of private messages you’re receiving after you’re put these tips into practice. People might be getting in touch to ask how they can get involved, but you might not realize the timing of your response is just as important as what you respond with.
That means you’ll need to act fast (and check your notifications daily) to impress these people before they lose interest—and discourage others from doing the same.
Let’s take the Facebook Page for American charity, Food For The Poor, for example. You’ll see their average response rate as soon as you click “Message”:
I’m instantly told I should expect a reply within a day, which is awesome.
However, should this show “typically replies within a few weeks”, it’s discouraging. I’m much less likely to hit send because I could be waiting a long time to reply.
“What’s the point in messaging them to send a donation if they’re not going to reply?” is a question you never want your audience to say.
The only way to improve your typical response rate on Facebook is to respond to private messages in a timely manner.
Check in daily and respond to messages as soon as you can.
Granted, it might add more to your social media to-do list, but you don’t want potential donors to fall at the first hurdle. There’s not much point in promoting your charity through social media with the aim to garner more monetary support if you’re unable to carry them through a conversation, right?
5. Make it easy for followers to donate
When you’re looking for people to make a donation after finding you through social media, it’s likely they’ll need to click-through to your website.
That’s where the “Donation” call-to-action comes in.
On Facebook, nonprofits can select their Page’s call-to-action as “Donate”.Then, when someone visits your profile with the intention to give a donation, there’s a clear way for them to do so (without rummaging around the content you’ve recently posted for a link).
Giving your audience a clear, easy and simple way to get involved with your cause (that’s also free to implement!) could be the nudge they need to make a donation—and help you meet the goals you’ve set for your nonprofit’s social media campaign.
You can also keep an eye on the different features social media networks are developing for nonprofits and charity organizations. For example, which allows creators raise brand awareness and directly receive donations with the help of video marketing!
6. Schedule social media content in advance
Since you’re struggling for time, you could benefit from using a social content scheduling tool to post content automatically, in advance.
This could help you batch your tasks, and spend a few hours each week crafting content—rather than two hours per day, or leaving it to the last minute.
I asked Kaleigh Moore , previously a social media and PR manager for a nonprofit, to explain how social media scheduling helped her to spread the word about the charity she worked for.
She explained how this activity can tie-into the foundations of a strong strategy:
Kaleigh also mentioned how this approach to social media helped her to post content consistently—something that 42% of nonprofit content marketers struggle with:
7. Measure the effectiveness of your strategy
Over half of marketers in nonprofits they’re creating. That leads to one huge problem: uncertainty on whether you’re on-track to meet the goals you set earlier.
How can you make a huge impact without knowing whether the content you’re producing is working?
That’s why all social media marketers should make it a priority to analyze whether the tactics we’ve outlined here are working. Different charities have different audiences—what works for one nonprofit might not work for another.
…and combine these native insights with those from your Sendible report, which provides additional information on how your scheduled content is performing.
However, if you’re unable to accurately map the number of donations you’ve received or volunteers you’ve recruited over a few months.
You’re able to get around this problem by using UTM links in your content.These small bits of code are added onto the end of any standard URL and allow you to track exactly where your on-site actions are coming from.
Bookmark this handy tool and reference it whenever you’re creating a new link.
Then, you’ve got the chance to dive deeper with your Google Analytics report, and discover the common behavior flow of people clicking each type of link.
Final thought on social media for nonprofits
Has this article done its job and persuaded you to make a few small tweaks to your nonprofit’s social media strategy?
Great! Now you’re on the road to more awareness of your charity, volunteer opportunities and donations.
I can’t wait to start engaging with your content when it creeps up in my personal feeds.