How to Really Use Social Media as a Non-Profit

In today’s digital age, social media stands out as a beacon of connectivity, engagement, and community building. For non-profit organisations, it is an invaluable tool in their marketing and communications arsenal, offering a platform to amplify their message, engage with supporters, and drive their mission forward.

The power of social media lies in its ability to convey stories, mobilise communities, and foster a sense of belonging and shared purpose.

Here's how non-profits can harness this power effectively.


Understanding the Value of Social Media

Social media for non-profits is more than just a broadcasting channel: it's a dynamic space for interaction, learning, and growth. It enables organisations to share their successes and stories with a global audience, engage in two-way communication with followers, and build relationships that translate into support and action. Through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, non-profits can reach potential donors, volunteers, and advocates who are essential to their cause.


Crafting a Compelling Social Media Strategy

To truly harness the potential of social media, a well-thought-out strategy is essential. Here are key tips for creating a robust social media presence that resonates with your audience and amplifies your impact.


  1. Define Your Goals and Audience: Start by identifying what you want to achieve with your social media efforts. Are you looking to increase donations, boost volunteer recruitment, or raise awareness about your cause? Understanding your goals will shape your content and engagement strategies. Equally, knowing your audience – their interests, behaviours, and which platforms they frequent – is crucial for tailoring your messages.
  2. Tell Your Story: Stories are the heart and soul of non-profit organisations. Use social media to tell compelling narratives about the people you help, the projects you're working on, and the impact of your work. Authentic stories can evoke strong emotional responses and drive engagement and support.
  3. Leverage Visual Content: Visuals – whether photos, infographics, or videos – are incredibly powerful on social media. They can convey your message quickly and emotively, often more effectively than text alone. Use high-quality, authentic visuals to tell your story and highlight your work.
  4. Engage, Don’t Just Broadcast: Social media is a two-way street. It’s important to engage with your audience by responding to comments, participating in relevant conversations, and encouraging user-generated content. This engagement builds community and fosters a deeper connection with your cause.
  5. Use Hashtags Wisely: Hashtags can increase the visibility of your posts and help you reach a wider audience. Use relevant, popular hashtags related to your cause, but also create unique hashtags for specific campaigns or events to track engagement and build momentum.
  6. Schedule Content Strategically: Consistency is key in keeping your audience engaged. Use social media management tools to schedule posts at times when your audience is most active. However, be prepared to post spontaneously in response to relevant news or events that align with your mission.
  7. Monitor and Measure: Use analytics tools provided by social media platforms to track the performance of your posts and campaigns. Monitoring engagement, reach, and conversion rates will help you understand what works and where there’s room for improvement.
  8. Be Authentic and Transparent: Authenticity builds trust. Be transparent about your non-profit’s goals, achievements, and needs. Sharing your challenges as well as your successes can humanise your organisation and galvanise support.
  9. Educate and Inform: Use your platforms to educate your audience about your cause. Share relevant research, news, and insights to position your organisation as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source.
  10. Collaborate and Cross-Promote: Collaborate with other non-profits, influencers, and brands that share your values to expand your reach. Cross-promotion can introduce your organisation to new audiences and amplify your message.


Navigating Challenges

While social media offers immense opportunities, it also presents challenges such as managing negative feedback, navigating algorithm changes, and ensuring privacy and security. Addressing these challenges head-on with a clear policy for engagement and crisis management is essential.


For non-profits, social media is not just a tool for communication: it’s a means to inspire, engage, and mobilise a community around a cause.

By crafting a thoughtful strategy that prioritises storytelling, engagement, and authenticity, non-profits can leverage social media to achieve their goals and drive meaningful change.

Remember, the key to success on social media lies in creating genuine connections with your audience, reflecting the passion and purpose of your real-world work in an online space.

Raphael Shinners
About the author
Raphael Shinners
Social media is probably the most essential tool there is for non-profits in the 21st century. But do you know how to use it properly?

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