Social media is an integral part of our lives, and it’s impossible to ignore its impact on nonprofits. These organizations can leverage social media to build relationships, spread awareness about their cause, and increase donations.
Social media platforms provide an avenue for organizations to connect with their supporters and share their mission with the world. In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of social media for nonprofits, the unique challenges these kinds of organizations face, and how they can create an effective strategy.
We’ll also cover best practices for nonprofit social media management and content creation. And, of course, we’ll share how Jetpack Social can help fuel success.
Is social media important for nonprofits?
Social media is a vital tool for nonprofits to reach a wider audience and cultivate support. With over four billion social media users worldwide, it’s hard to ignore.
Social media platforms can help nonprofits build their brand, share their mission, and engage with their audience. Nonprofits that leverage social media effectively can increase their reach, raise more funds, and drive more action towards their cause.
Benefits of social media for nonprofits
There are many benefits of social media for nonprofits. Some of the most significant benefits include:
- Increased visibility. Social media allows nonprofits to reach a wider audience and increase their visibility. With the right content and strategy, nonprofits can gain more followers, improve engagement, and build awareness.
- More donations. By sharing compelling stories, statistics, and campaigns, nonprofits can inspire followers to support their cause.
- Improved engagement. Social media allows nonprofits to engage with their audience in a more personalized way. By responding to comments, sharing user-generated content, and thanking donors, nonprofits can foster a sense of community around their cause.
- Greater volunteerism. Nonprofits can share job and volunteer opportunities, and highlight the work of existing team members to inspire others to get involved.
Challenges of social media for nonprofits
While social media offers many benefits for nonprofits, there are also challenges to using it successfully. Some of the most common ones include:
- Limited resources. Many nonprofits have limited resources, including staff and budget. Social media can be time-consuming and requires a lot of effort to manage effectively.
- Limited reach. While social media platforms have a large user base, it can be challenging for nonprofits to reach their target audience. To be successful, nonprofits need to continually create compelling content that resonates with their followers.
- Negative feedback. Nonprofits need to be prepared to handle negative feedback and criticism on social media. It’s essential to respond professionally and handle issues quickly to avoid damaging their reputation.
What can a nonprofit social media strategy be used for?
The reach that social media provides makes it an essential tool for nonprofits to communicate with their audience and mobilize support. By having a clear and effective social media strategy, nonprofits can maximize their impact, reach new audiences, and build long-lasting relationships with supporters. In this section, we’ll explore the ways in which a nonprofit social media strategy can help further the mission.
1. Support fundraising efforts
Social media is a great tool for nonprofits to raise funds and support their cause. Without spending a ton of money, they can share their fundraising campaigns, calls to action, and success stories with a wide audience. They can also promote crowdfunding campaigns or donation-matching challenges to inspire their followers to donate more.
By leveraging the right platform, nonprofits can reach potential donors where they spend most of their time. Social media can also be used to engage with donors and supporters, thank them for their contributions, and build better relationships.
2. Promote events and advocacy campaigns
Social media provides an opportunity for nonprofits to promote their events and advocacy campaigns. They can share information about events, create buzz around their campaigns, and invite their followers to participate.
Nonprofits can also use social media to showcase past event highlights, share photos and videos from activities, and thank supporters for their attendance. By leveraging social media, nonprofits can increase event attendance and raise awareness about their advocacy campaigns.
3. Share milestones and success stories
Social media can be used to help keep supporters encouraged, engaged, and motivated. By sharing updates on the nonprofit’s impact or recent milestones surpassed, organizations can build long-lasting momentum.
From creating graphics that summarize accomplishments to showcasing success through video interviews with beneficiaries, volunteers, and partners, there are plenty of ways nonprofits can demonstrate the impact of their work.
4. Engage and cultivate relationships with donors
It’s not all about finding new supporters — social media can be used to bolster relationships with existing donors and volunteers as well. Nonprofits can thank their donors for their contributions, and share updates and individual stories about the impact their donations have had in the real world.
Organizations can use social media to provide behind-the-scenes glimpses of their work, showcase the people behind their organization, and offer exclusive opportunities for supporters.
By leveraging social media, nonprofits can build lasting relationships with their donors and increase the likelihood of future donations.
5. Recruit board members, volunteers, and staff
Social media can be a powerful tool for nonprofits to recruit board members, volunteers, and staff. They can post new job openings and volunteer opportunities, as well as showcase the work of current team members.
Nonprofits can also use social media to highlight the benefits of working for their organization, share testimonials from current and past staff, and provide a glimpse into the culture. By leveraging social media, nonprofits can attract the right talent and build a strong team to support their mission.
6. Drive website traffic
Driving more website traffic is often a top goal for nonprofits, and social media provides plenty of opportunities to help meet that objective. Organizations can share links to their website, blog posts, and other content to encourage followers to abandon scrolling and explore more about them.
Many social media platforms also allow nonprofits to create targeted, paid ad campaigns to collect new email subscribers, find leads for potential donors or volunteers, or simply drive site traffic on a pay-per-click basis.
7. Engage with media outlets and personalities
Social media can be used to engage with media outlets and build relationships with key reporters and contributors. Nonprofits can connect with journalists, bloggers, and other media influencers, share their story ideas and news releases, and establish themselves as an expert in their field.
Organizations can also use social media to respond to media requests, share relevant content, and thank outlets for their coverage.
The amplification of their message through the media relationships built on social media is an indirect benefit of using social platforms, but it’s one that can’t be ignored.
8. Build relationships with key stakeholders
Nonprofits need the support of many different key stakeholders, such as policymakers, community leaders, and influencers. Through social media, organizations can engage with these stakeholders, share relevant information, and build rapport.
Nonprofits can also use social media to demonstrate their impact and effectiveness, highlight accomplishments, and advocate for their cause.
9. Collaborate with other nonprofit organizations
Social media can be used to collaborate with complementary organizations and form partnerships to increase each other’s reach and impact, share resources, and support each other’s missions.
They can promote joint events, campaigns, and initiatives, and encourage their followers to get involved.
10. Foster a sense of community
Nonprofits can use social media to foster a sense of community around their cause and mission. By sharing their stories, accomplishments, and impact on social media, nonprofits can inspire followers and create a sense of belonging.
Nonprofits can also use social media to engage with their followers, respond to comments and messages, and recognize their support.
How to create a nonprofit social media strategy in ten steps
With so many social media opportunities available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you create a successful social media strategy for your nonprofit:
1. Define your organization’s social media goals
Before you start creating your nonprofit’s social media strategy, it’s crucial to define your goals. What do you hope to achieve through your efforts? Are you looking to raise awareness, build relationships, or promote your campaigns? Having clear goals in mind will help you stay focused and measure your success.
Once you’ve defined your goals, think about how social media fits into your overall strategy. Are there specific, existing campaigns or initiatives you want to promote through social media? Are there certain audiences you want to target?
2. Identify your strengths and unique value proposition
Next, take a step back and think about what sets your nonprofit apart. What are your strengths and unique value proposition? How can you use your strengths to achieve your social media goals? This will help you identify the messaging and content that will resonate with your target audience and make your organization stand out.
Think about the values and mission that drive your nonprofit. Use this to inform the messaging and content that you share on social media and make sure your online presence accurately reflects your organization.
3. Research what other organizations are doing
Once you clearly understand your strengths and unique value proposition, it’s time to research what other organizations in your sector are doing on social media. What strategies are they using? What seems to be working well for them? This research can provide valuable insights into best practices, as well as areas where you can differentiate yourself and stand out.
Take the time to review the social media profiles of other nonprofits in your sector, and make note of what you like and what you think could be improved.
Here’s what your research process could look like:
- Review the social media profiles of 5-10 other nonprofits.
- Take note of what they’re posting, how often they do so, the days of the week and times they post, and what seems to be resonating with their followers.
- Write down what you like about their strategy and what you think could be improved.
- Analyze their engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares, etc.) to see what kinds of content seems to work best.
- Consider how you can incorporate elements of their successful strategies into your own plan.
- Look for areas where you can differentiate yourself from what they’re doing.
4. Choose the right social media platforms
Next, it’s time to choose the right social media platforms for your nonprofit. Consider your goals, target audience, and resources when making your decision. Each platform has its unique features and audience, so choose the ones that make the most sense for your organization.
Identify where your target audience is spending their time online, and make sure you have a presence on the platforms that are most relevant. It’s usually best to start small and focus on a few platforms at first. You can always expand later as you grow your following.
Here’s how to determine which social media platforms to use:
- Research your target audience to determine where they’re spending their time online.
- Consider platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
- Make sure you fully understand each platform’s unique features and audience.
- Choose the platforms that are most relevant to your goals and target audience.
- Determine what kind of content works best on each platform. For example, images are a great fit for Pinterest and Instagram.
- Keep in mind that your target audience and the platforms they use may change over time, so be prepared to adjust your strategy as needed.
WooCommerce has a great guide to help you choose the right social media platforms. While it focuses on ecommerce stores, there’s a lot of great information for nonprofits, too!
5. Develop brand guidelines for content creation and curation
With your social media platforms in place, it’s time to develop brand guidelines for content creation and curation. These guidelines should outline the tone, style, and messaging that should be used across all of your social media profiles. This will help ensure consistency and coherence in your messaging and make it easier for your team to create and curate content.
Focus on the image you want to project through your social media presence, and make sure your brand guidelines reflect this. Ensure that all content created for your social media channels aligns with your brand guidelines, and consider hiring a professional to help with content creation, if necessary.
Here are some tips related to developing social media brand guidelines for a nonprofit:
- Define the tone and voice you want to use on social media.
- Determine the style of content that will best represent your brand.
- Decide on the messaging you want to convey through your social media channels.
- Make sure your brand guidelines are clear, concise, and easily accessible to your team.
- Make sure all team members involved in social media management are trained on the brand guidelines and understand how to apply them in their work.
- Regularly review and update your brand guidelines as needed to ensure they remain relevant and effective.
- Create or highlight real-world examples of posts that you want to emulate. Do the same for posts whose content, tone, or imagery goes against what you want for your organization. Make notes on why these examples are good or bad.
6. Choose the right automation tools to increase efficiency
There are a variety of automation tools available that can help increase efficiency and save time. Tools such as Jetpack Social can help you automate your social media posting and streamline your efforts by auto-sharing your website content on social media and scheduling posts in advance.
When choosing tools, consider taking the following steps:
- Research and compare different automation tools to determine which ones are the best fit for your organization.
- Consider factors such as ease of use, cost, and the specific features offered by each tool.
- Make sure your top choice integrates with your existing tools and systems.
- Take advantage of free trials or demos to test out the tool before making a decision.
- Consider how the automation tool will impact your team’s workflow and whether it will save enough time to warrant any expenses.
- Make sure the automation tool you choose offers analytics and reporting capabilities so you can track your social media performance.
- Take advantage of the support and resources offered by the tool to ensure you’re making the most of its features.
7. Create a content calendar
Once you have your brand guidelines and automation tools in place, it’s time to build a content calendar. This calendar should outline the content you plan to post on each of your social media platforms and when those posts should be distributed. This will help ensure that you’re consistently sharing engaging and relevant content. It will also make it easier to plan and schedule posts in advance.
Having a content calendar in place can help you stay organized and avoid last-minute scrambling to create posts.
To create a content calendar for your nonprofit:
- Start by mapping out important events, campaigns, and milestones for your organization.
- Plan content around these events in advance to make sure you are capitalizing on opportunities to engage with your audience and that your social media efforts are purposefully contributing to your goals.
- Consider the different types of content you want to create and when each type of content is best shared.
- Make sure you include a mix of promotional, educational, and engaging content in your calendar.
- Use your brand guidelines to inform the tone, style, and messaging of your content.
- Use analytics and insights from past posts to inform the content you include in your calendar.
- Make sure you’re scheduling posts at optimal times for each platform.
- Consider using a shared calendar or project management tool to keep your content calendar organized and accessible to your team.
8. Leverage social media influencers and advocates
Social media influencers and advocates can help spread your message and reach a wider audience. Partner with individuals who are passionate about your cause, have a large following on social media, and whose reputation will reflect positively on your organization.
To successfully partner with influencers and advocates, consider the following:
- Research potential influencers and advocate partners by looking at their social media presence, following, and engagement levels. A smaller audience that’s heavily engaged is often better than a large group of followers who never pay attention.
- Reach out to individuals who align with your mission and values and see if they would be interested in partnering with you.
- Create a clear agreement outlining the terms of the partnership, including the type of content you want them to create, the compensation you can offer, and the expected outcomes from the partnership.
- Provide influencers and advocate partners with the resources and information they need to create effective content.
- Make sure you’re tracking the impact of your influencer and advocate partnerships and adjusting your approach as needed.
- Consider offering incentives to your influencer and advocate partners, such as exclusive access to events or early access to new campaigns.
- Foster ongoing relationships with influencer and advocate partners to ensure that the partnership continues to be mutually beneficial.
9. Integrate social media into your broader strategy
Social media should be integrated into your broader communications and fundraising strategy. Make sure your efforts support your overall goals and objectives. For example, you can use social media to promote your fundraising campaigns, thank donors, and share updates on your progress.
Things to keep in mind when integrating social media into your broader strategy:
- Make sure your social media profiles are connected to your website, email, and other communication channels so that you can drive traffic and conversions from social media to other parts of your organization.
- Develop a cross-promotion strategy that takes advantage of the strengths of each channel. For example, you can promote your social media channels through email and vice versa.
- Use social media to build relationships with donors and supporters by responding to comments and messages, publicly recognizing their contributions, and sharing updates on the impact of their donations.
- Use social media to promote fundraising campaigns and events by creating compelling visuals and videos that highlight the impact of the campaign and the reasons why people should donate.
- Keep your supporters informed and engaged with regular updates on your progress by sharing success stories, impact updates, and other content that highlights the impact of their contributions.
10. Analyze and adjust your social media strategy
Finally, regularly analyze the success of your social media efforts and make adjustments. Continuously iterate and improve your strategy to ensure that you’re making the most of your social media presence. Use analytics tools to measure the reach and engagement of your posts and identify areas for improvement. This will help you make informed decisions about how to adjust your strategy and achieve your goals more effectively.
It’s important to remember that social media is constantly evolving, and your strategy should be flexible and adaptable. Be open to trying new tactics, experimenting with different types of content, and adjusting your approach as needed. By continuously refining your strategy, you can ensure that your social media efforts are making the biggest impact possible for your nonprofit.
Best practices for nonprofit social media management and content creation
Social media is a powerful tool for nonprofits to engage with their audience, build relationships, and increase their impact. Here are 12 best practices for nonprofit social media management and content creation:
1. Optimize your content for each platform
To maximize the impact of your social media efforts, you should optimize your content for each platform. Consider the unique features and audience of each one and adjust your content accordingly. For example, on Instagram, visual content like images and videos tend to perform well, while on others, short, concise updates are often the most effective.
Take the time to understand what generally works best for each platform, and experiment with different types of content to see what resonates with your specific audience.
2. Experiment with different types of content
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Experimenting with different types of content can help you find what works best for your audience and make the most of your social media presence. Try incorporating images, videos, live streams, and other types of content into your strategy to see what gets the most traction.
Think about the different ways you can tell your nonprofit’s story, and consider how each type of content can help you achieve your goals. For example, visual content like images and videos can help create emotional connections with your audience, while live streams can help you engage with your followers in real time.
3. Use storytelling to create emotional connections
Storytelling is a powerful tool for creating emotional connections with your audience. Share stories that demonstrate the impact of your work and inspire others to get involved. Think about the different ways you can bring your nonprofit’s stories to life, and how you can use storytelling to engage and inspire your audience.
Humanize your nonprofit and make a personal connection with your audience. Share stories about the people you serve, the impact of your work, and the challenges you face. Make sure your stories are relatable, inspiring, and memorable.
4. Incorporate user-generated content from supporters and advocates
Incorporating user-generated content from supporters and advocates can help build a sense of community and create a more authentic and engaging presence on social media. Encourage your followers to share their own stories and experiences related to your nonprofit’s cause, and feature this content on your social media channels.
Consider using contests, challenges, and campaigns to encourage your supporters to share their own stories and experiences.
5. Create social media content that’s accessible to all
It’s essential to ensure that your social media content is accessible to all, including individuals with disabilities. Use alternative text for images and closed captioning for videos to ensure that everyone can access and enjoy your content.
Also, make sure your social media content is easily understandable, regardless of the language or culture of your audience. Use clear and concise language, and avoid jargon and technical terms whenever possible.
6. Use visual and video content to tell your nonprofit’s story
Visual and video content are a powerful way to tell your nonprofit’s story and create emotional connections with your audience. By incorporating images, videos, and other types of visual content into your social media strategy, you can bring your story to life and engage your followers in new and exciting ways.
Consider using a variety of types of visual content, including photos and videos of your staff and volunteers in action, graphics and infographics to explain complex concepts, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your work. You can also showcase the impact of your work, share inspiring stories from your supporters, and connect with your audience on a deeper level.
When creating visual content, focus on high-quality images and videos that clearly communicate your message. Use compelling captions, hashtags, and other creative elements to make your visual content stand out on social media.
7. Leverage tools to automate social media posting
Automating your social media posting can save you time and increase efficiency, allowing you to focus on creating and curating the most engaging content. There are a variety of tools available, including Jetpack Social, that can streamline your efforts.
When choosing a tool for automating your social media posting, consider your goals, target audience, and resources. Make sure the tool you choose is easy to use and integrates seamlessly with your existing systems and processes.
Once you have a tool in place, consider how you can put it to work to automate your social media — including scheduling posts in advance, creating and publishing content at optimal times, and tracking your performance and engagement metrics.
By leveraging tools to automate your social media posting, you can increase your efficiency, save time, and make the most of your social media presence.
8. Develop a social media ambassador program
Developing a social media ambassador program is a great way to engage your supporters and encourage them to share your message with their own followers. People who are both passionate about your cause and have a large following on social media are incredibly valuable assets for your nonprofit.
To develop a social media ambassador program, consider how you can involve your supporters and advocates in your existing efforts, and think about what types of recognition and rewards you can offer. You can also provide ambassadors with training and resources to help them effectively share your message.
By working with the right people, you can make a bigger impact through your social media. And by recognizing and rewarding their contributions, you can create a sense of loyalty and teamwork that can further help your efforts thrive.
9. Recognize and thank supporters, donors, and partners
Regularly recognizing and thanking your supporters, donors, and partners on social media is a powerful way to build a sense of community and strengthen your relationships with key stakeholders. Whether you’re thanking a donor for their contribution, recognizing a volunteer for their service, or acknowledging someone for their support, this is an important part of building a strong and engaged community.
When recognizing and thanking your supporters, focus on personalizing your messages and making them feel valued. Use images and other types of visual content to increase the impact of your messages, and consider offering exclusive opportunities or rewards to those who are recognized.
10. Highlight the work of your staff and volunteers
Your staff and volunteers are the backbone of your nonprofit, and highlighting their work on social media can help create a more personal and engaging presence. By showcasing their work, you can create a more human and relatable presence on social media and connect with your followers on a deeper level.
Plus, it can invigorate and encourage your team, so they remain productive and motivated in their day-to-day work.
Here are some ways to highlight the work of your staff and volunteers:
- Share updates on what they’re doing. Whether it’s about specific projects or initiatives, or just a general overview of what they’re working on, talking about the work of your staff and volunteers can help followers get a better understanding of the impact of your nonprofit.
- Highlight the impact of their efforts. Consider how you can showcase the impact of the work of your staff and volunteers. This could be in the form of stories from people whose lives have been positively impacted by your nonprofit’s work, or data and statistics that demonstrate the progress made by their efforts.
- Share behind-the-scenes content. People love to get a behind-the-scenes look at organizations, and your staff and volunteers are a great way to give followers a sneak peek into your nonprofit. Consider sharing photos and videos of your team in action, or hosting a Q&A session with your staff or volunteers on social media.
- Recognize and reward their efforts. Donors aren’t the only ones who deserve recognition. Regularly recognizing and thanking your staff and volunteers on social media can help build morale and encourage them to continue their great work. Consider how you can reward their efforts, whether it’s through shoutouts on social media, special events, or other forms of recognition.
11. Respond to comments and messages promptly and professionally
Responding to comments and messages is an essential part of social media management. By focusing on quick, respectful responses, you can build stronger relationships with followers and create a more engaging presence on social media.
Here are tips to help you respond to comments and messages:
- Train your team. Make sure your team is trained to handle comments and messages in a professional and consistent manner. This could involve creating a set of guidelines or providing training on how to handle difficult or sensitive situations. Newer members of your team should defer tricky responses to senior staff until they’ve gained full confidence.
- Set a response time. Ensure that all comments are responded to in a timely fashion. Consider setting a target response time, such as within 24 hours, to ensure that you’re meeting the expectations of your followers.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for comments and messages to come to you — be proactive and reach out to your followers on social media. This could be in the form of asking for feedback, hosting Q&A sessions, or simply checking in with your followers to see how they’re doing.
- Respond professionally. When responding to comments and messages, make sure you’re doing so in a professional and consistent manner. This could involve using a specific tone or style in your responses or making sure that your team is trained on how to handle difficult or sensitive situations.
12. Highlight the work of other nonprofits and organizations
Collaboration and community-building are key components of any successful nonprofit strategy, and social media is a powerful tool for achieving these goals. By highlighting the work of complementary nonprofits and organizations, you can demonstrate your commitment to the common good and help build relationships with other organizations. This can lead to increased opportunities for partnerships and joint initiatives, which can help you achieve shared goals and make a bigger impact.
To get started, consider the following tips:
- Identify other organizations that are making a difference. This can include nonprofits with similar missions, as well as organizations that are addressing related issues in your community.
- Follow these organizations on social media and engage with their content. Share their posts, comment on their updates, and participate in their initiatives.
- Collaborate on social media to achieve shared goals. Share each other’s campaigns, promote each other’s initiatives, and work together on joint projects.
- Highlight the work of other organizations in your posts and updates. This can include showcasing their initiatives, sharing their success stories, and recognizing their contributions to the community you’re serving.
- Consider hosting joint events or initiatives with other organizations. Work together on social media campaigns, live events, or fundraising initiatives.
Frequently asked questions about social media for nonprofits
Do nonprofits need social media?
Yes, social media is essential for nonprofits. It provides a platform for organizations to reach a wider audience, engage with supporters, promote their cause, and raise awareness about their work. Social media also offers an opportunity for nonprofits to build relationships with their stakeholders, share their impact, and develop a greater sense of community.
What should a nonprofit post on social media?
A nonprofit should post content that aligns with its goals and objectives, and is relevant and engaging to its target audience. Some examples of the types of content that nonprofits can post on social media include:
- Updates on their work and impact
- Stories and testimonials from beneficiaries and supporters
- Behind-the-scenes videos that highlight the work of staff and volunteers
- Calls to action and fundraising campaigns
- Success stories and achievements
- Behind-the-scenes content that provides a glimpse into the day-to-day work of the nonprofit
- Inspiring quotes and messages
- Relevant news and articles related to their cause
- Images and videos that showcase their work
How often should a nonprofit post on social media?
The frequency of posting will depend on a variety of factors, including your goals, target audience, and resources. On average, it’s recommended that nonprofits post one to two times per day on each of their social media platforms. However, it’s essential to find the right balance between frequency and quality and not to compromise on the quality of your content for the sake of posting more frequently.
When are the best times for nonprofits to post on social media?
The best times to post on social media will vary depending on your target audience and the platform you’re using.
On Facebook, the morning usually works best. On platforms like Instagram, users tend to be more active throughout the daytime hours.
Consider using a social media management tool, like Jetpack Social, to schedule your posts in advance and optimize for the best times.
Jetpack Social: Fueling your nonprofit’s social media success
With Jetpack Social, nonprofits can schedule and share their content across multiple social media platforms, auto-share their website content, and manage their social media presence from one convenient dashboard.
If your nonprofit has a website on WordPress, then Jetpack Social is the perfect solution to help you achieve your social media goals. By leveraging the power of Jetpack Social, you can focus on what you do best — making a difference — while leaving your social media management in the capable hands of Jetpack.
To learn more about Jetpack Social and start fueling your nonprofit’s social media success today, visit the following page: https://jetpack.com/social/
Explore the benefits of Jetpack
Learn how Jetpack can help you protect, speed up, and grow your WordPress site.
Get up to 50% off your first year.Compare plans