How Charities Should Use Social Media To Further Their Cause


Social media offers the perfect platform for charities and non-profit organizations to mobilize their supporters, increase donations, share information, and engage actively with a global audience. As the popularity of social media continues to grow, numerous charities have started to incorporate social media platforms into their promotional strategies. However, while several charities have fully embraced social media, some of them are still reluctant to take the plunge. This might be due to several different reasons, from lacking the resources and time to not really believing the advantages of using social media to further the cause.

There are several advantages of incorporating social media channels to your marketing mix, and a report by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Waggener Edstrom Worldwide proves it.

For example, take a look at success that Mater Prize Home has had 5 years ago, when they were likely the first in the industry to implement an online marketing strategy. Today, they are likely the best known lottery charity organization in Australia.

To begin with, 41% of non-profit organizations accredit their success online to developing a detailed social media strategy.

Second, 47% of Americans hear about various causes via online channels.

Lastly, health, wellness, animals and children are the most talked about and shared causes on social media.

If you are to go by these statistics, then social is definitely the place to be for charities.

Turn Awareness into Action

If properly executed, multimedia and good storytelling on through social online channels can compel offline engagement.

Contrary to the popular “slacktivism*” myth, surveys show that social media can indeed be used to motivate masses of people to contribute to various causes beyond simple clicks, “likes” and “retweets”.

55% of the survey respondents who have engaged with a cause on social media have been motivated to take further action. Out of the 55%; 68% donated money, 53% volunteered, 52% donated food or personal items and 43% participated in or attended an event.

*Slacktivism myth is the one that suggests people “like” and “retweet” and otherwise interact with causes just to show their friends how cool they are, and after that they forget even the name and type of cause they’ve “liked”.

So what exactly inspired them to take further action? 56% of the respondents indicated that they read a compelling story on social media that inadvertently made them want to contribute more. 41% said they were inspired by online videos and 40% were motivated by photos. 39% saw family members and friends taking further action and decided to do the same. The remaining 45% who are yet to take additional action are not limited by any specific beliefs of perceptions of impact or effectiveness, but by a lack of supplementary resources to offer. Most of the people who didn’t help a cause lacked money to support it, while a slightly less percentage of people said that they simple didn’t have enough time on their hands.

Facebook Causes

Currently, Facebook has over a billion active users per month, and this number is growing. Nonprofits should take advantage of this growing number of Facebook users by setting up a cause and putting the interaction and activity in the hands of the followers.

Not only do Facebook causes and gifts enable charities to co-ordinate petitions, collect donations and actively interact with their followers; but it also allows followers to take farther action by actively engaging in recruiting more followers and getting donations for the cause.

The aspect of Facebook causes guarantees that followers will not only display their support for a charity, but also become key participants within a community.

Integrated YouTube Campaigns

Visual elements such as photography and video play a major role in charity campaigns, mostly because they tend to provide vital insight and snapshot into a cause that cannot be delivered by any other form of media.

An effective YouTube campaign enables charities to reach a global audience, while at the same time making it easier for their followers to share the video across other social media networks, thus resulting in a lot more visibility. On top of that, charities can as set-up a YouTube channel where they can manage and customize a page on which all their videos are hosted.

Get Help To Expand Your Reach

Youtube For Non-profits

YouTube channels have added sharing features that are inclusive of links to donation pages via video annotations, buttons and call-to-action overlays embedded within the videos, all possible through Youtube’s non-profit program.

Google Grants Program

Since it was started, Google has managed to grow beyond a search engine to a provider of several web services. It has released several tools that both webmasters and “common” users can utilize.

One of their lesser-known programs is the Google Grants programs. Despite the programs’ specific criteria, many non-profits enjoy free AdWords advertising credits, although their campaign that run through this program are subject to some limitations. If you are eligible for the program and you have familiarized yourself with Adwords, then this is definitely a good way to give your charity an online boost.

Mark is a freelance social media manager among other things. He enjoys working with charities and loves spending time with his family.

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