Guest post by Shannon Scanlan

To grow your organization’s reach, you need a strong marketing strategy across multiple channels. While you might already use platforms such as email and your nonprofit’s website to connect with supporters, how regularly are you posting on social media?

With over 5 billion users around the world, social media is one of the most modern, innovative ways for nonprofits to increase touchpoints with donors, put projects and campaigns on their radar and maximize giving. Plus, you can leverage these platforms to appeal to wider audiences and expand your donor pool.

In this guide, we’ll discuss four impactful ways to strengthen your social media strategy:

  1. Reflect on your nonprofit’s audience. 
  2. Develop a comprehensive content calendar.
  3. Incorporate storytelling.
  4. Lead interactive peer-to-peer fundraisers.

As you get started, make sure that your nonprofit is equipped with fundraising software that has powerful social sharing capabilities and integrates with a CRM like Salesforce, so you can easily track engagement. This way, you can align your social media strategy with your fundraising plan to enhance your results.

learn how to improve your social media strategy

1. Reflect on your nonprofit’s audience

Every nonprofit’s audience has differing interests, preferences and habits. By producing content that specifically resonates with your community, you’ll be able to increase engagement and strengthen donor relations over time. Develop audience personas, or fictional profiles that represent key groups within your target audience, by assessing the following characteristics:

  • Demographics. Look at details such as age, gender, location and occupation to identify patterns among your supporters. For instance, you might notice that many of your volunteers are college students or recent graduates in your local area. Or, you might notice that many of your donors work in the healthcare industry.
  • Interests and hobbies. Take note of any interests your supporters express or hobbies that they mention on social media. If many of your audience members enjoy physical activity, for example, you could plan more active fundraising events, such as bike-a-thons and use eye-catching images of the outdoor location to inspire participation.
  • Communication preferences. Determine which marketing channels you traditionally experience the most engagement on. Let’s say many people have opted into receiving text communications from your nonprofit. This choice may indicate that they want to interact with your organization in a more short, conversational and casual manner.

Once you’ve gained a better understanding of your audience members, find out when they’re most active on social media and focus your efforts on the platforms where they’re most likely to see your posts.

According to Double the Donation’s digital marketing for nonprofits guide, Instagram, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok are all useful organic platforms to build your presence on. However, if most of your donors and volunteers belong to older generations, you might focus your activity on Facebook. If you’re hoping to connect with more members of Gen Z, you might instead post primarily on Instagram or TikTok.

Key elements of a content calendar that nonprofits should develop as part of their social media strategy, as mentioned below.

2. Develop a comprehensive content calendar

A social media content calendar organizes all of your nonprofit’s posting activities so you can produce more high-quality, consistent content for your supporters. In your content calendar, you should include these key details:

  • Content type, such as photo or video
  • A description of what you’ll post
  • The caption of the post
  • When you’ll post the content
  • Which platform you’ll post it on
  • Relevant hashtags or tags

Make sure your content calendar matches up with your overall fundraising calendar. For example, if you’re launching a Giving Tuesday campaign, you should start promoting the fundraiser in September so there’s enough time to get this giving opportunity on your audience’s radar.

Furthermore, if you’re embarking on other initiatives such as an advocacy campaign, you can leverage social media posts to strategically spread awareness of your mission. Look for a Salesforce advocacy platform that will readily integrate with social media so your supporters can conveniently and easily reach out to decision-makers through channels like X (formerly Twitter).

3. Incorporate storytelling

Storytelling is an effective way to create an emotional connection with your supporters, inspire giving and cut through the noise online. Elevate your social media posts by using these tips to tell compelling stories:

  • Choose a single “hero.” Put a name and a face to your cause by choosing a single protagonist for each story. For instance, you could share a beneficiary’s experience with your nonprofit, explaining how you were able to improve their life thanks to donors’ contributions. Doing so allows you to awaken empathy and convince more people to get involved.
  • Use high-impact images and videos. Catch the attention of your supporters by posting images and videos that illustrate the difference your nonprofit is making in its community or illuminate the gravity of an issue that you’re trying to address. You can cover anything from action shots of volunteers at work to video testimonials of people you’ve helped.
  • Include a call to action (CTA). Once you’ve inspired your audience members, make it easy for them to take the next steps to support your cause by including a clear CTA. For instance, you might write “Donate by midnight to get your gift matched!” with a link to your online donation page or say “Register for our next event!” with a link to your registration page.

If you don’t already have a collection of donor, volunteer, staff and beneficiary stories to post, send out a request to your community. Pick out some of the most uplifting quotes and obtain permission to share them across your platforms.

4. Lead interactive peer-to-peer fundraisers

Social media can empower your supporters to play a more active role in your nonprofit’s mission. With the right fundraising software, you can help them set up their own fundraising pages and raise money on your behalf. Then, they should be able to promote these pages on their personal social media accounts with just a click of a button.

To maximize your peer-to-peer fundraising results, seek out a solution that readily integrates with social media and offers donation processing with a top CRM. This way, you can leverage data intelligence to make smarter fundraising decisions and optimize your marketing and communication strategy as needed. 

Set your peer-to-peer fundraisers up for success by providing them with the resources they need to secure gifts for your nonprofit. Assemble a basic toolkit with branding guidelines, templates and graphics that they can adapt for their own social media posts. This will ensure that they can confidently represent your nonprofit when reaching out to their friends and family members for donations.

By harnessing the power of social media, you can level up your fundraising efforts and deepen your impact on the community. Take a data-driven marketing approach by tracking metrics such as your social media engagement, number of comments and impressions to evaluate your performance and make adjustments as needed. Adopting an improvement mindset allows you to continually augment your social media relationships and expand your reach year after year.

Shannon ScanlanShannon Scanlan has been helping nonprofits grow their digital and direct marketing programs and use technology to reach new audiences, raise more and improve efficiency for over 17 years, working for organizations such as the ACLU, The Clinton Foundation and The Metropolitan of Art among many others. 

She’s been working at Jackson River for the past 5 years, working with clients implement the Springboard platform, a digital-first online fundraising and engagement platforms that helps nonprofits catalyze support for their cause.