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The 7-Step Social Media Guide for Nonprofit

By June 1, 2017July 20th, 2022No Comments

Sometimes when I read blog posts about social media marketing, I am puzzled at how complicated some make it seem. Social media doesn’t have to be complicated. If it is, you’re doing it wrong. Today, I’d like to explore some tips and tricks for stepping up your nonprofit’s social media game. Enjoy. 


  1. Pick the right social media platform(s)

  2. Cross-promote your social media profiles

  3. Help people find you

  4. Get your audience involved

  5. Make your cause sharable

  6. Create an avatar to promote your cause

  7. Use hashtags



1) Pick the right social media platform(s)

It’s tempting to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to be on all channels. If you have the time, by all means go for it. If you are like most nonprofits, however, your resources are limited, so pick your battles wisely. For most nonprofits, these are the top five to consider:

  • facebook: for stories (e.g. linking to your blog), volunteer recruitment, and donor recognition
  • twitter: for news, sharing events and stories, asking questions, volunteer recruitment and donor recognition
  • instagram: for behind-the-scenes insights, visual representation of your activities, introducing your team, share a great story in a visual context, and donor recognition
  • Youtube: for behind-the-scenes video, introducing your cause via video, creating emotional stories, and donor recognition
  • LinkedIn: for sharing your stories, recruiting volunteers, and connecting with likeminded organizations

To get started, pick one or two from the list and expand from there. It’s easier to build one or two channels at a time, than starting off with all 5 and having no time to grow either of them.

Don’t fall into the trap of considering social media solely as fundraising tool. It is more than that. Social media allows you to share your cause, your success stories, and your mission with those who are interested in what you do. It allows you to build a network of potential and current supporters, who will in return share your stories with their friends. Building that network should be the centre of your attention. Fundraising comes second.

2) Cross-promote your social media profiles 

Promoting your social media profiles on your blog and in your email newsletters is a great way to get started. But don’t forget that many of your followers also use more than one social media platform. Don’t shy away from asking your Facebook followers to also follow you on twitter and instagram, subscribe to your YouTube channel or connect with you on LinkedIn, and vice versa.

3) Help people find you

Posting great stories on your blog and your website is a great start, but one of the most important tasks is to help people find them. You can use a tool like HootSuite to share a link to your blog posts on your social media profiles for free.

The same is true for your social media profiles. Include your them in all of your correspondence. Email signatures, brochures, handouts at events, thank you letters to donors, a letter attached to the swag you’re sending to a supporter, PowerPoint presentations, and more. Every time you pass on your email address, remember to also send along your social media profiles.

4) Get your audience involved

Social media is a two-way communication channel. Instead of using it to talking “to” your audience, involve them. Share your biggest challenges and aspirations with them and ask them for help. Wanting to help those in need is in our nature. Don’t shay away from reaching out to your support network.

5) Make your cause sharable

Happiness is the only thing that doubles when it is shared. The same is true for nonprofit stories. We come across so many negative news every day, that success stories from nonprofits are an even greater pleasure to read and a true inspiration. If you have a great story to share with the world, don’t hold back. Don’t wait for people to find it tugged away on your website. Share it with the world and give your supporters the means to pass it on. This includes social media sharing buttons on your blog, a little “please share” encouragement on your Facebook post, or asking for a retweet on twitter. They do work.

Also, don’t forget to “tag” volunteers and supporters in your Facebook posts, because this will appear on their feed and hence reach their friends at the same time. Especially when you thank them for a job well done or a for their help throughout the year.

Earlier this month, I’ve also shared some ideas about how to create a likeable Facebook page and setting yourself up for Facebook success. If you’ve decided to give Facebook a try, you may want to have a look.

6) Create an avatar to promote your cause

We’ve all seen them before: Overlays for one’s Facebook and twitter feed to support a specific cause. Why not create your own? Services like Twibbon help you get on board. 

7) Use hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to reach others, who are not currently following you. Below is a list of hashtags other nonprofits are using frequently, to get you started, but you’re not limited to those. If you want to do some hashtag research, I’d recommend using  and Rite.Tag.