Non-Profits and Social Media – What Works, What Doesn’t?


I’ve volunteered at a few non-profit organizations in the past and one of the most consistent struggles they all face is getting more donation dollars in the door. Typically, there’s no shortage of work that can be done with those dollars once they get there, they just need to come in.

Social media can help in a big way. There are lots of examples of social media campaigns that have gone viral – take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for example. That was a fun way for people to get involved, donate some money, and most importantly, raise awareness. Although not every campaign will go viral, there are a few things you can do to effectively engage your audience.

First off, consistency is vital (see my earlier blog post). It’s very important to be posting content on a regular basis to build up momentum, expand your audience base and build trust.

Next, you need to keep them engaged. You do that by focusing on three things:

Raising awareness of your non-profits mandate. Tell people about the work you are doing and why it’s important. Also post articles, facts, figures etcetera that are related to the work you are doing. These might be human interest stories, examples of progress that has been made and/or evidence that there’s still work to be done.

Inspire people to volunteer, support and donate to your non-profit. Everyone likes the idea of helping out where they can but sometimes they don’t know where to start. Non-profits can bridge the gap by laying out how easy it is to volunteer time and donate funds. The key message would be to show that any little bit makes a difference. However, make sure you aren’t asking too much or else you risk turning off your audience.

The third item is the most important one – show them how their support is helping. People want to see what your non-profit is doing with their support. This can be achieved in many ways. You could post pictures of volunteers out in the community doing good work (or working within the non-profit offices). Blogs can be written about the experiences volunteers have when they give their time. Case studies can be shown of the impact donation dollars have made and why more donations are needed to keep the work moving forward.

The opportunities of effectively using social media are endless. You just need to have a team that has a clear vision of what they want to achieve and how they plan on achieving it.

If there’s anything we at Optify can do to help you, please let us know. We have an established track record of effective social media management and would love to work with you. We can always be reached through our website ( as well as email (