Social media is widely adopted and used by all types of people, brands, and businesses around the globe.
Pew Research reports 79 percent of adults use a single social media platform, while 52 percent use two or more platforms regularly.
This is where many people spend their time on the Internet.
This presents a unique opportunity for charities and non-profits.
One of the critical pieces to any non-profit’s fundraising campaign is raising awareness for your cause.
If people aren’t aware, nothing happens.
It’s safe to say that raising awareness is the backbone of any fundraiser, and now with non-profit social media, it’s easier than ever to promote an online fundraising campaign.
Non-Profit Social Media
The first step in using non-profit social media to raise awareness for your campaign is to establish a presence.
You don’t have to be active on every single social platform, although it is wise to go ahead and reserve your name wherever you can, even if you don’t plan on participating just yet.
Start by posting content that’s relevant to your organization, and useful to the people you want to target.
For example, a charity dedicated to water safety might share water safety tips, practical ways people can stay safer in and around water, and other similar, useful information.
Share information about your organization, what you stand for, and the changes that you are making.
Post success stories, and ways your organization has already helped your community.
Building a following online now will make raising awareness for a future campaign much easier.
Content: The Key to Success
Being successful with non-profit social media isn’t about how often you post, it’s about what you post.
In short, good content is critical to raising awareness for your organization.
How can you ensure your content works in your best interests?
Tell a Story
The old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” rings truer today than ever before.
Images and videos that can tell a story about your cause or campaign are excellent ways to build awareness easily. This type of content is also much easier for others to share and repost, which means even more people are exposed to your cause.
Developing this type of content doesn’t have to be complicated nor expensive.
A relevant image with a short message can be quite effective.
This is true for organizations and non-profits, both big and small.
For example, let’s say you want to raise awareness about a school fundraiser to build a new school gym. You might share some pictures of the current gym, its state, and how you are working to improve it.
You may share images of the kids who attend classes every day and a message about how you’re helping to raise money to improve their education.
Large charity organizations have used these tactics successfully to raise awareness for many different causes—from promoting vaccinations to weather safety.
The Salty Benefits of Links
While visual content is often very successful, a link to a website or blog that has more information gives people the option to learn more about your cause and your organization.
There’s only so much you can say in a single post, even if you have great visual content.
Linking to your organization’s website or even better, sending them directly to your fundraising website gives people the option to learn more about your fundraiser.
Furthermore, if you have a secure site where donations can be collected online, it gives people the chance to immediately support your cause by immediately making an online donation, registering to participate, volunteer, or sponsor.
Your fundraising website is also a great place to track progress in real-time showing a fundraising thermometer, highlighting top performers, and sharing encouraging comments to help you reach your goal.
Just remember, links are much like salt to a dinner. A few sprinkled here and there is appreciated by your dinner guests, and helps to enhance the entire meal. However, if you overdo it, you’ll ruin the dinner for everyone.
In short, don’t spam people with links—use them sparingly.
Hashtags: Your New Best Friend
Hashtags are incredibly useful little tools that could become every charity’s best friend.
Many people subscribe to hashtags as a way of keeping up with a specific topic, and you can use them to get your message in front of people who care about that topic.
If you’re sharing information about clean drinking water, for example, you might use a hashtag such as #CharityWater.
People subscribed to that tag will then see your message, even though they may not be following you specifically.
You can also create a hashtag that’s used just for a specific campaign or fundraising event.
This allows you to monitor your campaign more effectively across multiple social platforms, and it also gives donors and participants a way to connect and talk with each other.
It is important to remember the three cardinal “Rs” of hashtags: Research, Relevance, and Respect.
Always research your hashtag before using it.
Seemingly innocent tags can sometimes mean something else, or your campaign hashtag may not be as unique as you think.
Research only takes a few minutes, and can save you a lifetime of headaches.
Secondly, never tag your post with a hashtag unless it’s relevant to the post.
Sure, #Grammy2015 might be trending with millions of people following it, but if you tag your post about electricity conservation with it, you’ll only serve to annoy people.
Lastly, remember to respect other people’s unique hashtags.
If someone already has used it, don’t recycle it.
Many organizations have used non-profit social media to drive awareness of their cause with great results.
One of the best things about using non-profit social media is it allows you to extend your reach.
It was only a few years ago that fundraisers were initiated within communities and donations were raised from family, friends, and local businesses.
But with non-profit social media, you have the ability to reach out to potential supporters from across the globe.
So, whether your non-profit is large or small, by using some of these non-profit social media tactics, your nonprofit can similarly raise awareness, and in-turn create a more successful fundraising campaign.