3 Essential Ways Small Nonprofits Can Leverage Social Media

March 22, 2023

As a professional at a small nonprofit, you understand the importance of building a robust marketing strategy and clear understanding of your market landscape. With a strong social media presence, your nonprofit can effectively grow its audience and build emotional connections with supporters through high-quality images and videos. Your nonprofit may already be generating content across multiple social media platforms, but are you also leveraging social media to advance your fundraising strategy?  

Innovations in social media provide a unique opportunity for nonprofits to spread the word about their mission and raise donations to support their important causes. If you’re only using social media to create content, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to empower supporters to fundraise for your organization and attract new donors. 

To make the most out of your social media accounts and successfully incorporate social giving into your fundraising strategy, use these essential tips:

  • Tap into social giving tools
  • Recruit fundraising ambassadors
  • Encourage DIY fundraising

With social media’s inherent accessibility, ease of use, and familiarity among users, it’s well-worth your time to embrace social media-based fundraising tactics. The right combination of content and fundraising strategies will put you in great shape to push your nonprofit past the fundraising finish line. Let’s begin.

Tap Into Social Giving Tools

Social media giving is on the rise because of its convenience for both donors and nonprofits. In fact, the OneCause 2022 Giving Experience Study found that one third of donors heard about their last giving opportunity on social media. On your donors’ side, followers simply have to click a button on your Facebook, Instagram, or other social page and are immediately brought to your donation page. For your nonprofit, many social media platforms offer built-in fundraising tools that make running a campaign easier than ever before. 

For example, let’s take a closer look at Facebook. This platform has a unique socially-conscious focus to its fundraising tools that seeks to democratize the nonprofit supporter experience and streamline the management of campaigns. For instance, your organization can host a peer-to-peer fundraiser on its Facebook page or ask its supporters to generate their own birthday fundraisers and encourage their friends and family members to give. 

Facebook offers the following innovative features that can help your nonprofit skyrocket its fundraising potential:

  • Facebook Challenges. A Facebook Challenge encourages supporters to give to your cause while also completing an exciting activity, such as hitting a certain number of steps, journaling every day, or even volunteering at your organization for a certain number of hours. These time-bound campaigns rally supporters around your cause and make a traditional fundraiser much more engaging. 
  • Nonprofit Manager Tool. All of Facebook’s intuitive features can be found in one place with the Nonprofit Manager Tool, easing your nonprofit’s administrative burden and simplifying the management of your fundraising campaigns. With this tool, you can share communications with your supporters and receive real-time insights into how your campaigns are performing. Plus, when supporters create fundraisers on your behalf, you can automate thank-you messages so they feel immediately appreciated for their efforts. 
  • Secure payout methods. Facebook offers two options to help your organization receive all funds raised: Meta Pay and Network for Good. Meta Pay will directly deposit your funds raised on a recurring basis, while Network for Good delivers donations through a donor advised fund. This flexibility in payout methods allows your organization to choose the option that’s best for your goals and needs. 

Along with Facebook, Instagram and TikTok have also advanced to optimize the social fundraising experience. For example, Instagram allows both organizations and their supporters to create fundraisers from an Instagram post and link to the donation pages in their bio. Similarly, TikTok allows users to add Donation Stickers right on their TikTok videos that direct supporters to a nonprofit’s mobile-friendly donation page. 

While your organization can extend its fundraising efforts to all of these platforms, it’s important to consider where your target audience is most likely to see your content and donate on your behalf. Reflect on your audience’s demographics and determine where it makes the most sense to invest time and energy into running your social fundraisers.

Recruit Fundraising Ambassadors

To help your fundraisers gain momentum and reach as many people as possible, your small nonprofit can tap into ambassador fundraising. Ambassadors are people with a large following, such as nonprofit influencers, that can easily amplify your efforts to get the word out about your fundraiser. By leading their own peer-to-peer campaigns, ambassadors can help your organization quickly drive revenue and expand your donor base. 

Your ambassador fundraising campaigns can work as a standalone social fundraiser or can even supplement your charity auctions, galas, walk-a-thons, and other events to maximize donations. To add ambassador fundraising into your social giving strategies, use these key tips:

  • Look for well-connected supporters. Board members, donors, volunteers, and sponsor connections with large networks can all be good ambassadors that would be eager to advocate on your behalf. Reach out to prospective ambassadors ahead of time and ask them if they’d be interested in supporting your fundraising efforts. 
  • Set goals. Develop SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals for your ambassador campaigns so your ambassadors know exactly what they’re working towards. Clearly outline how long these campaigns will take place, how much your organization hopes to raise through them, and how you’ll show appreciation throughout your campaign to keep motivations high. 
  • Create training materials. Equip your ambassadors with everything they need to lead their fundraising campaigns successfully. Your organization might choose to host a training program or develop educational resources where ambassadors can learn more about how to use social giving tools. Make sure to regularly check-in with your ambassadors so you can provide support where needed.

After your campaign is over, make sure you demonstrate how much you value your ambassadors’ time. According to Fundraising Letters, your organization should send ambassadors heartfelt thank-you notes that are personalized to the recipient and explain how their fundraising efforts made a difference. You can also use this opportunity to inform supporters of upcoming fundraisers where they can offer their help again.

Encourage DIY Fundraising

DIY fundraising, or do-it-yourself fundraising, uniquely empowers all of your supporters to take over the fundraising reins and advocate for your organization at any time. This special type of peer-to-peer fundraiser gives supporters the creative freedom to come up with their own event or campaign on social media and generate excitement for your cause among their personal networks. 

The OneCause guide to DIY fundraising outlines the following engaging ideas you can share with supporters:

  • Occasion fundraiser. On birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions, encourage supporters to create fundraising campaigns and collect funds for your cause in lieu of asking for personal gifts. 
  • Challenge. Alongside their fundraising campaign, supporters can develop a fun and rewarding challenge, such as walking a certain number of miles in a week or dancing in public. Ask your supporters to create an engaging hashtag that’s memorable and relevant to the given campaign so they can easily spread the word about their DIY fundraiser. 
  • 24-hour giving day. Because of their tight deadline, giving days encourage supporters to act quickly on your nonprofit’s behalf and help your organization reach its goal. Ask your supporters to lead DIY fundraisers on Giving Tuesday or other days relevant to your organization’s cause, such as national affinity days like International Women’s Day. 
  • Event-based fundraiser. Supporters can pair their DIY fundraiser with an engaging in-person or online fundraising event, like a workout class, car wash, or themed walk-a-thon. This brings people together in a fun way and can help build a greater sense of community among your nonprofit’s supporters.

Provide support throughout your supporters’ DIY campaigns so they can hit their fundraising goals. For example, your organization can help promote their campaigns by reposting them on your own social media channels or sharing the donation links in your email newsletter. 

Final Thoughts

Social giving can help you expand your donor base, form stronger donor relationships, and drive revenue to support your cause. By taking advantage of built-in social fundraising tools offered by Facebook and other platforms, your organization and its supporters can run fundraising campaigns with ease. Make sure to market your campaigns widely with trending hashtags and high-quality content so more people can discover your nonprofit and give.