Build a social network following for your nonprofit


Nonprofit leaders play a critical role in enacting social change, often through building communities, networking resources, and maneuvering platforms. As your nonprofit’s marketing manager, it’s your responsibility to develop a clear plan to drive growth, especially through social media engagement.

With a thriving community, your nonprofit will be able to raise awareness of your causes/projects, thereby increasing donations to the organization.

Here we will cover 5 steps you will need to gain more followers online.

Step 1: write the plan

The first step in any initiative is to plan it. This process should include an overview that articulates the overall goal of the initiative and the objectives needed to achieve that goal.

In this case, we seek to grow the association’s community through social media and web content. You will need to research the potential communities that would join your cause and the most effective recruiting methods. Brainstorm a list of ideas you have for this, and organize those notes into a more cohesive list of goals for achieving your goal.

Your social media content plan could be organized this way:
  • Market study and analysis

  • Budget for content creation

  • Collect contact details of potential donors and partners

  • Send messages and conduct online outreach to find donors and partners you’d like to work with

  • Create social media content (map posts, captions, and a timeline)

  • Engage with the community through likes, comments, and direct messages

As you develop the plan, be sure to do quite a bit of research in each of these areas. The more detailed the plan, the better prepared you will be to take action.

Step 2: Find donors, volunteers and subscribers

Finding and interacting with people should be a priority. If the project requires donors to fund social media growth, you will need to create an outreach strategy that will collect donations.

Develop a budget for how to pay for things like market research, content creation, digital media creation, branding, or social media management. While organizers can do this themselves, others choose to outsource professionals for this type of work. For example, you can hire freelancers to research the content you need to create to reach your desired audience. Or hire a social media manager to create, publish and schedule all your social content.

You will need to research the target audience and use marketing analytics software to understand trends in your community. Do your members have any particular interests or hobbies? Ask people about how they got involved with the nonprofit. Also take a look at popular nonprofits and how they recruit members. Where do nonprofits seek outreach? This information will give you a good idea of ​​promising growth areas.

Look for profiles that express an interest in activism, charitable giving, or topics related to your organization’s cause on social media. For example, you can enter keywords like “environmentalism” or “green lifestyle” to find like-minded people for an environmental nonprofit. Interacting with these profiles will mean that social media algorithms will “group” you into this category and suggest your account to users who follow similar accounts.

Step 3: Develop a marketing approach

Marketing is not just a tool for companies and influencers. Non-profit organizations use this power for their causes.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge[1] is a prime example, with ALS Association organizers using viral media marketing to raise awareness for the cause. This approach required creativity and an understanding of YouTube’s algorithmic models to gain virality.

A decent marketing approach should include aspects such as how to properly present the nonprofit organization and how to effectively communicate its needs. Many organizers decide to take a multimedia approach, creating profiles on hugely popular platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and GoFundMe.

It’s common for nonprofits to post photos and updates to engage the public in a positive way, informing donors and followers of the progress being made for the nonprofit’s beneficiaries. It’s a great way to recruit new people to the cause, demonstrating the kind of change a donation could create.

Step 4: Upgrade to modern technology and platforms

Being on the cutting edge of technology means a lot in today’s landscape, which is why you should learn how to navigate and manage various social media. Although these platforms are generally easy to learn, there may be some aspects that you are unfamiliar with.

If you’re not sure how to post a video or live stream, here are some tips:

Step 5: Focus on the message

Whether you’re posting on social media to attract followers or writing a newsletter to recruit donors for a fundraiser, writing a clear message is a crucial aspect of growth. Part of that will be knowing the audience you are writing to; if you are addressing business partners or non-profit funders, a professional tone will be required when explaining a message’s goals or needs.

If you’re looking to create engaging social media content, this will be a creative process that takes on a more personal or informal tone. On a blog website, you can write deep dives that detail your nonprofit’s plans.

You also need to think about what you need to communicate to subscribers. Nonprofit communication often includes these elements:

  • Information about the cause and how your organization is working to achieve its goals.

  • Details on how community members can participate in fundraisers and events.

  • Updates on progress.

  • Instructions for donating to the cause.

As you grow your audience, be sure to articulate the association’s needs and how the community can help meet those needs.

Build your audience to build your community

Being a nonprofit owner and having such a presence in your community is an important and extremely rewarding role. So following the tips we talked about will help you build a following and help as many people as possible. To recap, here are the main points:

  • Make a plan
  • Find volunteers, donors and subscribers
  • Develop a marketing approach
  • Upgrade to modern technologies and platforms
  • Focus on messages


  1. Ice Bucket Challenge dramatically accelerated the fight against ALSALS Association

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