Social Media Marketing for Your Nonprofit – 3 Best Practices

(Guest Post by Gerard Toni of Salsa Labs)

Social media has grown so much that it can no longer be ignored by organizations of any type. Nonprofits everywhere are creating Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts to help them connect with supporters.

When used correctly, social media can help create an omnichannel online approach for your nonprofit and help boost all of your online goals. An omnichannel approach creates a seamless online experience for your supporters in the switch between a variety of platforms and online actions.

Your goal should always be to support this omnichannel experience to guide your supporters in completing actions on behalf of your organization. Social media is an important step in creating this experience.

Therefore, when you are creating your social media marketing strategy for your nonprofit, be sure to include the following best practices:

Promote nonprofit advocacy targeted actions. Advertise your fundraising efforts.Market your nonprofit’s planned events.

Use your nonprofit tech solutions, from your CRM to your social media accounts, to build donor relationships by effectively marketing advocacy campaigns, fundraising efficiently, and expanding your networks. Let’s dive in to see how your social media accounts can help drive your marketing strategy!

1. Promote Nonprofit Advocacy Targeted Actions

Use your social media presence to better appeal to supporters who want to help, but may not be able to donate for one reason or another. Setting up advocacy campaigns helps your nonprofit appeal to those who can’t always give. It also varies the type of outreach you write and builds supporter relationships without having to constantly ask for money.

There are a couple main ways to encourage your donors to get involved in advocacy through social media. You can ask them to tweet their representative or alert them to new targeted actions.

Tweet a Representative

With the best online advocacy software, it’s easy to set up an advocacy campaign in which your supporters can tweet their local representative about your cause. When the representatives repeatedly see the same type of mission-based information on their Twitter account, it will be difficult for them to ignore your cause!

First, create a targeted action landing page so that your supporter can fill out their name and address. Next, automatically connect them to their state or federal representative and show them the targeted action message. Leave a space for the supporter to write a personal message too.Finally, encourage the supporter to hit “submit” to automatically send that message to the Twitter, Facebook, and/or email account of the representative.

Putting supporters directly in contact with their representatives helps your organization by encouraging action by powerful members of government on behalf of your cause. Plus, it helps your supporters contribute to your cause and engage with your organization without necessarily submitting another donation. It’s a win-win!

Alert to New Targeted Actions

Your nonprofit can also use social media to increase audience awareness of your other targeted actions for advocacy. For instance, send out social media posts to be published at the same time as your action alert emails.

Automated social media marketing software helps you increase your reach by spreading this awareness on multiple platforms at once.

When you compose these action alert messages, be sure to change the content for each social media account depending on what’s most effective for each particular platform. For example:

Your message on Twitter should be short and possibly include a hashtag. You should offer a link directly to your targeted action page. Your Facebook message may be longer than Twitter, but short enough that it’s easy for supporters to skim easily. When you write LinkedIn messages, you might take a slightly more formal or professional tone than with other social media platforms.

2. Advertise Your Fundraising Efforts

Incorporate the use of social media into your fundraising strategy to appeal to the widest audience possible. Just as social media extends the reach of your advocacy actions, it can also extend the reach of your fundraising efforts.

By doing this, you’re not only encouraging more people to donate to your nonprofit, but you’re also adding more constituents to your CRM. Instead of relying on outreach that only gets to current supporters, you’re also reaching new audiences. When they donate, their information is saved in your nonprofit’s fundraising CRM.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is perfectly built for social media. Peer-to-peer fundraising is an effective fundraising method in which your supporters build fundraising pages on behalf of your organization.

Encourage your supporters to link to their fundraising page on social media. When they do this, you’re spreading the reach of the fundraiser past your direct network. The network of your supporters will also reach out to learn more about the organization and donate, expanding your donor pool.

Help your donors design their peer-to-peer fundraising pages so that they:

Lead with a call-to-action.Make them accessible by link. Optimize the page for mobile.

With these tips, no matter how the donor finds the page, whether through Facebook on their cell phone or by reading through your organization’s blog, they’ll find it easy to give and support your nonprofit.


Crowdfunding empowers your nonprofit to collect small donations from a wide audience. Post about the campaign on social media to reach your own network, but also contact another group with a similar mission and ask to reach their network. Ask to see if you can guest blog with them or if they’ll give you a shout out to their network.

Remember that social media isn’t a one-sided conversation. Not only should you post about the crowdfunding campaign, but you should encourage your donors to post about it too.

Include an option on the “thank you” page after a donation that enables your donors to share their contribution to their respective networks. By incorporating these social media opportunities into your crowdfunding marketing strategy, your donors will help spread the word of your fundraising efforts on your behalf.

While it may be tempting to use the fundraising tools built directly into the Facebook platform, we’d recommend creating separate fundraising pages and linking them to Facebook instead.

This is because after a donor gives on your custom-built fundraising page, their information can be streamlined directly into your donor database. However, you don’t have access to this vital information when you fundraise directly through Facebook, making it impossible to build relationships with those donors down the line.

To read more about how your CRM can work with your fundraising efforts, check out Salsa’s Fundraising CRM guide.

3. Market Your Nonprofit’s Planned Events

Nonprofit events are a great opportunity to steward your donors to continually build relationships with them. Social media is a key component of the marketing strategy for your nonprofit’s different events.

You can use social media to kickstart the engagement process and get donors excited about your nonprofit’s event. You can also use it to improve engagement rates during the event!

Kickstart the Engagement Process

Start the engagement process early to get your supporters excited about your nonprofit’s event. By posting about the event on social media, you’ll inform your organization’s supporters about the upcoming event and even give them ideas about ways they could get involved!

You may use social media to tell them about attendance policy, volunteer opportunities, or early access to goods and services at the event to spark their initial interest.

For example, you might choose to engage future attendees by:

Creating an event page on Facebook with event details. Posting pictures of volunteers from previous events to Instagram and linking to the volunteer sign-up page.Selling tickets for an event raffle or starting bidding early for an event auction on Facebook or Twitter. OneCause’s article about fundraising tickets provides more information about how to fundraise in this method.

By allowing early access to important information and services, you can hype up your supporters for your event and ultimately improve their overall engagement levels.

Improve Engagement During the Event

Although many people consider attendees pulling out their phones to be a sign of boredom, there are ways that you can use mobile devices to help engage people at your next event.

You can use your social media accounts to keep your supporters engaged during your event by encouraging them to pull out their phones. You might choose to:

Create a Snapchat filter for the event and encourage people to post there.Create a unique hashtag for your event so people can post pictures using it.Livestream your event on Facebook so that people at home can get involved too.

It’s nearly impossible to fight the cell phone movement. Almost everyone has their mobile device in their pocket for the majority of the day. So, if you can’t fight it, do the next best thing: use the movement to your nonprofit’s advantage!

Like any good marketing strategy, it’s important to track your social media initiatives to see how well they’re working. Continue the activities that seem to be working well, but if something isn’t working, you’ll know where the strategy needs minor adjustments.

With these 3 best practices, you’re ready to kick your social media use into high gear!

(Gerard Tonti is the Senior Creative Developer at Salsa Labs, the premier fundraising software company for growth-focused nonprofits. Gerard’s marketing focus on content creation, conversion optimization and modern marketing technology helps him coach nonprofit development teams on digital fundraising best practices.)

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