4 creative ways to improve your nonprofit social media presence

If you’re a nonprofit, aren’t you supposed to not ask for money? In an ideal world, that might be true, but the reality is that nonprofits are constantly tackling the subject of fundraising hoping they don’t sound like car salespeople.

Not to mention that rounding up volunteers is sometimes like trying to herd cats. Everyone is busy, rushing through their 9-to-5 lives, but with a little creativity and the power of social media, you can make fundraising and recruiting volunteers more enjoyable for all.

Here are four ways to improve your nonprofit social media presence

1. Twitter Conversations and Live Feeds

For people who use their mobile devices regularly, about 39 percent of them follow Twitter’s news recommendations. What does that mean for your non-profit?  

Just as you’d host a panel, you can host a Twitter conversation or live feed with donors, business people, volunteers, celebrities and from where you’re helping. For example, entrepreneur and philanthropist Bethenny Frankel shares updates from San Juan where her organization works with Feeding America to raise money after the hurricane:

In San Juan. Nuts here w/ military destroyed bldgs & desperate people. Offloaded meds to ped. hospital & 25k gift cards to @feedingamerica.”

Sharing simple updates about how donations impact the people, with a link to donate, helps drum up attention. Give your donors exact information from the ground.

2. Use Facebook for Storytelling

Feature the story of a volunteer or someone your nonprofit has strongly impacted on Facebook. Social storytelling is powerful, engaging all of the senses. With Facebook, you can sponsor a post to boost its signal. Tell the story with photos in a status or link to your organization’s blog.

Humans of New York is a powerful storytelling example that features the dynamic and touching stories of New Yorkers. It began as a photography project to take photos of 10,000 New Yorkers from all walks of life. On Sept. 27, one young female New Yorker shares how she was encouraged to apply for DACA and become a lawyer:

“I was on a leadership team in 5th grade. At the end of the year, we were supposed to take a trip to Washington DC. We held fundraisers and everything. But when it was time to go, I didn’t have the identification papers to buy a plane ticket. So our teacher Ms. Rivera decided that we’d take a bus. Just so I could go too. That trip changed my life. It made me want to be a lawyer…”

3. Pin It on Pinterest

Pinterest allows anyone to build boards around various topics and interests. You can build boards around events, volunteer opportunities, quotes or items for sale to raise money.

For example, at your next event, you might create a photo op with a picture frame designed just for your brand, using costumes and fun props within the frame. Visitors could take a photo with their friends or a member of your organization and share it on Pinterest or Instagram.


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You can also share news about awards and grants on Pinterest to pin a big milestone. For example, the Houston Chronicle pinned an article about Outspoken Bean, founder of the Space City Slam series, whose poetry workshops seek to inspire and motivate students. You can gather such news articles and repin them to a specific board to share their impact.nonprofit-social-media-strategy

4. Partnering With Social Media, Like Vine and Instagram  

Even the social media giants take notice of campaigns for good. For example, the nonprofit Truth created a visual campaign called “Big Tobacco Be Like” to take down delusions about social smoking and capitalizing on the viral meme #BeLike. Truth’s campaign resulted in a 55 percent increase of young people agreeing that even smoking on the odd social occasion supports the negativity of Big Tobacco—a realization that has resulted in decreased smoking rates among teens.

The nonprofit then partnered with Vine and Instagram to create a vignette series that contrasted smoker social perceptions against the reality of Big Tobacco, with the hashtag #BigTobaccoBeLike. The ads were also featured on national television targeting preteens and young adults. Featured later on YouTube, the ads got one million views in 24 hours.

Nonprofits shouldn’t shy away from the power of social media sharing. Think of it less as advertising and focus more on the word “sharing.”

After all, they say “sharing is caring,” and the results are in: People care about the social topics they find online. They are inspired by the need and impact of nonprofits and individuals on the world. Tell your nonprofit’s story, and the people will come.

Writing for more than five years, Kayla Matthews has contributed to publications like NonProfit PRO, The Nonprofit Hub and Volunteer Match. To read more posts by Kayla, check out her blog,