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ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Lights, Camera, Nonprofit Social Media Engagement!

One of the primary gauges we use for digital communications is post reach and engagement, including number of views and amount of individuals who have interacted with a “like” or comment. As a nonprofit, your message is most likely tailored toward a specific cause, whether it’s through news, links, or photos.

Your ultimate breadwinner for social media engagement is photos. People LOVE photos and that’s the way it has always been. Do you remember being younger and loving books packed full of photos? The same rule applies with social media! Always tell/share your story with a photo, the more original the better.

If you have a news update or link, take or find a photo that fits with your nonprofit’s mission and enhances the update. This increases the likelihood of people reading your post. Also, get creative and show the “behind the scenes” of your organization. People respond well to seeing staff and activities going on at an organization and it increases transparency. As a smaller organization, we regularly showcase employees who are celebrating birthdays and anniversaries on social media which, in turn, increases employee appreciation.

ICAN recently completed a $5.6 million capital campaign and throughout the process we posted construction update photos. The community consistently responded with positive feedback because the photos allowed them to feel part of the construction process in some sense.With ICAN’s primary social media channel, Facebook, results show that our fans were engaged at least 55% more when we associated an original photo to a post.

There are, of course, social media channels that solely rely on photos, such as Instagram and Pinterest. A rule of thumb to follow is to avoid repetition by taking multiple photos from different angles to post on each social media channel. Repeating photos only deters people from following you on multiple social media channels; offer something new and unique to each one.

A photo should not be taken just for the social media engagement benefit, but to also showcase your organization’s mission and cause. Keeping the photo subject and mission aligned will produce results!

Isaac Kiehl is the Communication Coordinator at ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth, a Chandler-based nonprofit youth program, manages and all social media channels. Isaac also composes all copy and design of print communications for the organization. He graduated from Arizona State University in 2011 with a BIS concentrated in Technical Communications and Film & Media Studies. Isaac also posts news, videos, photos and more at


ASU Lodestar Center Blog