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ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Five ways nonprofits can leverage social media for greater impact

social media

In today's digital age, social media has emerged as a powerful tool that transcends geographical boundaries and connects people from all walks of life. For nonprofits, harnessing the potential of social media can amplify their impact and propel their missions forward. 

Here are five effective strategies that nonprofits can employ to leverage social media for greater reach, engagement, and ultimately, impact.

Storytelling and impactful content: stirring emotions for lasting impact

At the heart of every nonprofit's mission are stories of change and transformation. Social media provides a dynamic platform to share these stories through a variety of formats, including videos, images, and written posts. 

For instance, Earth Hour is a successful interactive content campaign that was developed by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The annual Earth Hour campaign urges people to switch off their lights for one hour and, among other things, encourages supporters by using the hashtag #EarthHour. According to Forbes, in 2020, 90 countries and territories took part in the event and it generated over 4.7 billion global social media impressions.

Nonprofits can craft narratives that showcase the real-world impact of their work, making it relatable and emotionally compelling for their audience. By weaving together personal anecdotes, statistics, and visuals, nonprofits can captivate their followers and inspire them to take action, whether it's donating, volunteering, or advocating for the cause.

Save The Children, is another nonprofit that wielded the power of storytelling through social media to bring in the element of empathy and compassion to their audience. The mission of the nonprofit is to make children's lives better all throughout the world, mainly focusing on kids who live in combat areas. 

In a video made by Save the Children, a Western child was depicted in a scenario that a child living in a war zone would experience. This helped viewers understand and empathize with these kids, resulting in numerous donations and video shares.

Influencer partnerships: expanding reach through collaboration

In one of our news stories about harnessing the power of influencers, we talked about how Influencers wield considerable influence over their followers and can significantly extend the reach of a nonprofit's message.

In the last few years, influencer marketing has emerged as a social media strategy used by brands to reach a younger population. This has opened a world of possibilities to nonprofit organizations that seek to reach wider audiences. 

Influencers have an established bond with their online community based on trust. Therefore, this type of collaboration can help nonprofits start gaining immediate attention from an already engaged audience.

The benefit is even greater when the organization collaborates with influencers who share the same values and see the mission in the same light as they do. By tapping into an influencer's established audience, nonprofits can swiftly raise awareness and inspire action. 

Promoting fundraising through social media: mobilizing support

Fundraising is the lifeblood of many nonprofits, and social media offers a dynamic platform to rally support. Nonprofits can create compelling fundraising campaigns and share them across various social media channels. Social media acts like a promotional tool for various online fundraising campaigns. 

Integrating secure donation links and leveraging platforms with fundraising features can streamline the giving process, making it convenient for supporters to contribute and make a tangible difference. Moreover, nonprofits can promote on-site fundraising events and collaborations to their audience and gain traction. 

The ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge" is the best illustration of a nonprofit organization accomplishing this. In 2014, The ALS Association developed a clever method for describing what it's like to have ALS and made it simple for people to contribute films of themselves participating in the campaign. With only this one challenge, the organization quickly raised almost 115 million dollars.

Searching for volunteers through social media: building a community of change-makers

Volunteers are the backbone of nonprofit organizations, and social media provides an avenue to recruit passionate individuals. Nonprofits can use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to post volunteer opportunities, engaging with their audience to foster a sense of purpose and community. 

53% of social media users who interact with a nonprofit organization volunteer, according to Nonprofits Source. Every individual who likes, shares, or follows your nonprofit has the potential to become one of your most valued volunteers in the future.

Sharing volunteer stories and testimonials can showcase the value of volunteering, motivating more people to get involved. Additionally, harnessing the power of hashtags and local groups can connect nonprofits with potential volunteers in their target areas.

Reaching out to the audience for feedback: enhancing impact through insights

Social media is a two-way street, offering nonprofits a direct line of communication with their audience. By actively seeking feedback, nonprofits can gain valuable insights into their programs and initiatives. Surveys, polls, and open-ended questions can elicit constructive feedback that informs strategic decisions. 

Responding promptly to comments and messages not only strengthens relationships but also demonstrates an organization's commitment to continuous improvement, fostering a sense of ownership among supporters.

In an interconnected world driven by digital communication, social media stands as a potent tool for nonprofits to amplify their impact and create meaningful change. Through influencer partnerships, fundraising campaigns, volunteer recruitment, feedback engagement, and impactful storytelling, nonprofits can harness the full potential of social media to extend their reach, deepen their connections, and drive their missions forward. By embracing these strategies, nonprofits can carve a path toward greater visibility, engagement, and ultimately, a more significant and lasting impact on the communities they serve.

Image by Lillian Finley

Learn more with our Nonprofit Marketing and Strategic Communications Certificate

The Nonprofit Marketing and Strategic Communications Certificate is a program for individuals who wish to gain additional knowledge and skills in marketing, communication, public relations and social media within the nonprofit sector. Course content is sharply focused to  include the most relevant topics needed to lead and manage marketing and communication strategies for nonprofit organizations and offers the individual a deeply engaging and robust experience.

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ASU Lodestar Center Blog