Social media makes it possible for users around the world to share news, information, and entertaining stories with thousands of their friends, relatives, and colleagues. This is great for any organization, but it’s especially valuable for nonprofit organizations.
You know how difficult it is to raise funds and attract volunteers with traditional marketing and fundraising campaigns. High costs make these campaigns even more challenging. With a robust social media strategy, nonprofit organizations can not only raise funds and attract volunteers, but also share heartwarming stories and raise awareness of the organization and its core mission.
On this page, you’ll learn why social media for nonprofit organizations is so popular, as well as some tips to meet your nonprofit organization’s social media goals.
Social media might seem like a waste of time when you have to raise funds for a growing number of clients and programs. In fact, social media can help you reach those goals faster than if you relied on traditional fundraising alone. Here’s why.
Facebook and YouTube each have more than 1 billion users. Google+ has 500 million. Twitter has 250 million. Even new sites like Vine and Snapchat have at least 30 million users. No fundraising mail campaign could match those numbers. Plus, people are increasingly using online channels to make donations. In 2013, online giving grew twice as fast as overall giving. That’s a promising statistic for people looking to fundraise online.
Some of the people using social media want to donate directly to your organization—others want a way to get involved with your cause. Social media for nonprofit organizations enables quick communication and collaboration with people who want to help out. You can use a range of sites to recruit volunteers for special events, everyday operations, or even your social media initiatives without spending a lot of money—which leads us to the next reason you should be using social media.
Social media costs far less than traditional marketing methods like direct mail and paid advertising, yet it can do far more to increase engagement and activism. This makes it valuable for nonprofits, which have to do a lot of work with little money. In addition, passionate followers can reach out to their networks and help you spread your message.
Nonprofits need to know how to tell a story that moves or inspires people to donate to their cause. Social media offers all kinds of ways to tell your story. YouTube provides a place to show videos of success stories or the ongoing need. Instagram and Pinterest can tell the same stories with photos. These ideas look less like fundraising and more like sharing good news—which, in turn, can go a long way towards increasing gifts.
As you can see, social media is an effective, low-cost way to introduce people to your organization, from the cause and clients to staff and volunteers. Before taking on such a large task, though, you should set some goals for your social media strategy and then choose the best content to meet those goals.
What makes social media such a great addition to your mix is its flexibility. Many nonprofits have started using it to reach several different goals, and you can do the same. Some of the most common goals include:
Even if a potential donor is aware of your organization, he or she may not know why it exists. Your social media strategy can shed light on the issues you’re trying to address. Of course, your website should provide some background on the topic, with blogs and other content sharing news and updates. However, your social media presence can supplement your site by providing you another place to share news articles and updates, and advertise upcoming events.
There are more than 1 million nonprofits operating today, and you’re competing with every single one of them for donations. Why should people give to your organization? What are you doing that other nonprofits aren’t? Social media can answer these questions, particularly if your organization is competing with larger organizations. If this is your goal, focus on content that highlights your niche audience or innovative programs and approaches.
After spending thousands of dollars on a fundraising campaign, there isn’t much left to recruit new volunteers and advocates. This is where social media becomes especially useful. By posting heartwarming success stories on Facebook, Twitter and other channels—along with a request for help—you might inspire people to take part in your next fundraising event or volunteer a few hours a week in the office.
The primary goal of social media isn’t necessarily to raise funds, but you can use it to do so if you do it wisely. Don’t hound your followers for donations, as that will only scare them away, but occasionally encourage them to donate to specific causes on occasion.
One nonprofit initiative that has seen huge success on social media is Giving Tuesday. It is a movement created in 2012 by the 92Y and the United Nations Foundation that encourages consumers to make charitable donations instead of participating in consumer “holidays” like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On Giving Tuesday in 2014, nonprofits generated more than $26 million in donations, and most of the promotion was done on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag “#GivingTuesday.” Their strategy of targeting a specific day for a specific purpose worked wonders in generating donations.
Social media has become a popular way for businesses to attract customers, generate revenues and establish branding. Although your nonprofit has slightly different goals, you can still use social media to advance your cause and generate awareness and donations in a cost-effective way.
If you want to start using social media to meet your nonprofit’s goals, we can help. Our team of social media professionals is more than happy to work with you and create a strategy to start generating donations, volunteers, and awareness for your cause.
Once you've created valuable content on your site, you have to help other people find it.
That means optimizing the content you've created with high-value keywords, HTML tags, and more.
First, ensure that the content you create includes the high-traffic keywords that we discussed in Point 1. That'll tell Google to show your page in search results for those keywords, even if you're not the #1 result right away.
Next, fill out the different HTML tags that Google looks at to determine relevance for each keyword.
These tags include:
The <title> tag is the name of your page that'll show up in Google search results. This tag needs to include the keyword you're targeting so both Google and users know what to expect from your page.
The <meta> tag lets you fill out the gray text underneath the title of your page. This doesn't have a direct impact on rankings, but it does help users understand what they'll learn from visiting your page.
Last, the <img alt> tag lets you add a concise description of each image you use on a page. Search engines can't "see" images like people do, so they rely on text information to understand what's on your page. By telling them directly with the <img alt> tag, you can increase your search rankings with minimal effort.
There are a ton of other SEO factors that impact how you'll rank, but these are the most important for nonprofits.
After your content is on your site and optimized, it's time to promote your content among other website owners.
For nonprofits, this is pretty easy. You just have to send other website owners a link to your content and ask them to share it with a link to your original page as credit.
Most bloggers and reputation-conscious companies will post your content in the spirit of raising awareness for your brand. And for every link you get, your SEO power increases.
That means outreaching content like infographics pays triple for your brand.
First, it gets you a new link to help you rank better in search engines.
Second, it drives traffic to your website from a new source.
Third, it builds awareness of your cause and organization.
These three benefits make outreach one of the most important SEO-related strategies that a nonprofit can use.
Almost every website in the world has an interest in promoting nonprofits and good causes. If you reach out to them, they'll help promote your organization in more ways than you could expect!
Marketing is always changing, and that includes SEO. That means it's essential that you keep up with the latest trends and strategies — even if that means inventing them yourself.
Repeat the above steps as often as you can to get as much high-quality information out into the world as possible about your cause. Try something new each time and see how you can improve your results.
Incorporate social media, adopt an email strategy — the sky is the limit when you want to promote your nonprofit with SEO.
At WebpageFX, we have a full team of Internet marketers who work with nonprofits every day.
We understand that nonprofits require special attention and non-traditional forms of marketing.
Our team also knows that nonprofits don't just want to make sales like a business does — you want to earn grants, attract donations, earn volunteers, or sometimes simply raise awareness of your cause.
(And that's just for starters.)
Our nonprofit specialists have worked toward all of those goals before and then some.
If you want to grow your nonprofit, WebpageFX has your solutions. Contact us today to create an SEO strategy for your nonprofit!
Find out how WebpageFX can create an effective Internet marketing strategy for your website. Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today for a free evaluation.