Nonprofits and Social Media

A simple Google search of “nonprofit social media” will turn up millions of sources about how today’s large and small nonprofit organizations are utilizing social media to manage and grow these important organizations. There are also a multitude of resources for nonprofits to learn how to strategically use the online world to enrich the experience for customers, supporters, and fellow members of these groups.

An in-depth article from lists four of these strategies as they apply to different organizations:

“1. Use trending hashtags to spread your message.

2. Meet users on their own turf, and make it easier for them to engage.

3. Call your users to action in prominent places.

4. Strategize and execute a movement that produces grassroots results.”

These strategies can be viewed through many different nonprofit organizations and they can become larger movements that are memorable and in some cases, iconic. For example, an organization can use popular hashtags to reach a much larger audience, and if the content is crafted in a way that is unique and noteworthy, it is more likely to be shared and interacted with, which then pushes the content into a more broad audience.

Social media in general though should be one of the first places a smaller nonprofit organization goes to build an audience and promote a cause, especially with limited funds. In research from Syrdal and Briggs, engagement with nonprofit organizations’ social media was studies to determine whether or not these profiles promoted brand attachment, content authenticity, and engagement with social media content. You guessed it: social media use positively affects users enjoyment dimension, inspiration and self esteem dimension, and perceived organizational image. It’s big.


I danced with a local, nonprofit Ukrainian dance organization for over ten years, and the size of the group has grown exponentially with minimal social media involvement. I can’t help but wonder how much more success could be offered to this group if they would just start a Twitter or an Instagram and post content that would intrigue newcomers or encourage possible booking opportunities.

Neil Patel for Inc writes “the difference between traditional marketing and nonprofit marketing isn’t in the tactics, but rather in the ultimate goal. Traditional marketing aims to increase sales and revenue. Nonprofit marketing aims to inspire and motivate.” I think that if more nonprofits like my dance company knew this and studied some simple online strategies, online media is a great way to promote nonprofits.

– Shaleigh


Neil Patel, Top 4 Examples of Effective Social Media Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations

Syrdal & Briggs, Developing a Positive Organizational Image: The Role of Engagement with Social Media Content.


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