How to Make a Big Impact on Social Media as a Small Nonprofit
In March of 2020, Facebook revealed that it has 2.6 billion monthly active users. YouTube has 2 million, and Instagram has 1.8 billion. Social media platforms are a great place to connect with people who are passionate about the cause your nonprofit is working for. If you post interesting and interactive content and engage regularly on the platform, you can attract donors and supporters who will help your organization spread the word about the work you’re doing. And you don’t have to have a large following to make a big impact. In this post, we share how to make the most of social media as a small nonprofit.
Your content acts like a mix of birdseed that you put into a feeder in your garden. Instead of attracting birds, of course, this content attracts people who share an interest in who you’re serving, the issue you’re working to improve, or the types of projects you tackle as an organization.
Creating content is simpler if you focus on a few different types of content when you’re getting started. Consider the following in your social media plan:
- “Meet the Staff” features
- Impact stories
- Project updates
- Supporter features
- Campaign/appeal announcements
- Quote graphics
- Video messages from your leadership, staff, or community members
When deciding what types of content to create, think about the strengths of your staff members. Do you have someone who is good at designing graphics? Someone who’s savvy with a smartphone camera? Someone who knows how to create interactive content on the different social platforms? By focusing on your strengths, you’ll get traction much more quickly. And you can always branch out and learn new skills after your social media plan is up and running.
Use this checklist of tips to get more from your social media efforts. Focusing in on a few priorities will boost your results.
Engaging with Donors and Supporters
The real magic of social media is the opportunity to expand your reach beyond your current donors. To make this happen, you’ll need to be intentional about engaging with them. Here are three ways to expand your reach through engagement.
Ask your supporters to share your content with their friends, family, and colleagues — Don’t wait for supporters to find your posts on social media and share them! You can ask donors to help spread your content in your monthly newsletter and other communications. This action is a small step that most supporters will be happy to take for you.
Engage with those who comment on your posts — When someone comments on your post, be sure to respond. If someone shares a post, thank them. Besides generating goodwill, engagement will maximize the exposure your post receives on your supporters’ pages.
Invite supporters to share their stories — Ask your supporters to do a short Q&A that you can feature in a social post. This will let supporters know how much you appreciate them, and it will also lead to more exposure as your supporters share the features with their networks.
A Plan of Action
Social media can seem like an unwieldy project. If you create a plan and system for managing your activities, you can streamline the process, making it much more approachable. Create a written plan that includes:
- Who will be responsible for leading your social media effort, and who will assist
- Which social platforms you want to focus on (start with no more than two)
- The types of content you want to focus on
- A schedule for what types of content you plan to post when (i.e. video messages on Tuesdays, “Meet the Staff” on Thursdays, graphics on Saturdays, project updates and impact stories as they are available, etc.)
- A calendar that can hold the actual text and images you plan to post — Hootsuite is an online tool that serves this purpose well, and it will allow you to create posts in advance and schedule them to post on various platforms at different times
- The schedule you plan to follow for responding to comments on your social media pages
Social media is a perfect opportunity for small nonprofits because you can get started without a financial investment. Later, as you become more comfortable with your social media activities, you may want to begin promoting posts and advertising on various platforms. Many platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, allow you to target ads very specifically for very little cost. But even if you never go beyond the free tools that the platforms offer, you can spread awareness and expand your reach far beyond your current supporters.
Download Raising More with Less: 3 Strategies to Make Your Virtual Fundraising Sustainable for more ideas on how to stretch your fundraising investment further.