There's no shortage of advice in the blogosphere on how and where to spend your time on social media. How organizations are actually spending their time online, however, is a different story.
Unlike most marketing campaigns you see looking to get you using a product or service, non-profit social marketing is all about getting you to take action for a cause.
Often, non-profit organizations are tight on resources and don’t always have the ability to produce large, high-visibility campaigns. That’s where social media can help. Let’s dive into the social media platforms that non-profit orgs can leverage today.
How Non-Profits Leverage Social Media
There are three major ways that non-profit organizations can use social media to get the word out on causes that matter.
The first is through social challenges.
Think back to 2014 when the ice bucket challenge went viral. This challenge involved taking a bucket full of ice water and pouring it onto yourself, posting it on social media, donating to the cause, then nominating friends and family to follow suit.
This challenge, designed to raise awareness of ALS or Lou Gherig’s diseases, spread like wildfire through social media and helped the ALS association increase its annual funding by 187%.
Social challenges are fantastic for two reasons: They usually involve doing something funny which increases their viral potential and they invite people to join in.
Another marketing tactic non-profit organizations use is user-generated content.
Social proof is used in marketing all the time to foster trust between a brand and its target audience. Brands often do this by sharing customer reviews.
Non-profit orgs can also use social proof to drive action.
In 2021, Habitat for Humanity included drawings done by children of Habitat homeowners sharing messages of hope, strength, and resilience.
For non-profits, the best stories come directly from the beneficiaries themselves. Everything from a video to a handwritten message can be used to show how impactful the work is.
When it comes to non-profit marketing, TikTok is a great platform to raise awareness. It’s particularly helpful for reaching a younger audience, like Gen Z and Millennials.
According to TikTok, users made close to 75,000 donations on the platform in 2021 for causes ranging from fighting hunger to humanitarian relief efforts.
The social platform arms non-profit organizations with features that help them generate interest in their causes and fundraise.
For instance, in April 2020, TikTok introduced donation stickers that could be added to videos, live streams, and profiles.
They work with a third-party platform called Tiltify to process donations securely. As such, non-profit organizations that want to use this functionality must go through an approval process by Tiltify.
In addition, TikTok has also financially contributed to these organizations, recently donating $7 million to #GivingTuesday initiatives and matching donations when users use branded hashtags.
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Similar to TikTok, the social media platforms under Meta – notably Instagram and Facebook – also offer non-profit friendly features that facilitate donations and promote awareness.
To access these features, organizations must be eligible and sign up for charitable giving tools on Facebook.
Once that’s done, they’ll have access to a series of tools, such as:
- Donation buttons that they can add to their profile and share during live streams.
- Page fundraisers
- Volunteering sign-up forms
- Profile support buttons
You can find a list of tools by Meta here.
In addition to providing these tools, Meta has also contributed to many campaigns. Last year, on Giving Tuesday, the company matched up to $8 million in donations made to fundraisers on Facebook.
To celebrate Instagram’s 11th anniversary, the social platform also matched fundraisers up to $50,000 from seven top creators on the platform through Giving Tuesday.
While TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook currently offer the most advanced features for non-profits, organizations can still leverage other social platforms like Twitter and Clubhouse to drive awareness and action. However, if you’re a new org looking to gain some traction, these are great places to start.