Social Media for Nonprofits: Your Guide to Getting Started the Right Way

Social Media for Nonprofits: Getting Started the Right Way Running a nonprofit is tough – between general business operations and amplifying your mission, there never seems to be enough time in the day. Your organization needs to be efficient in their use of time and marketing efforts. You need a way to maximize your brand awareness that doesn’t require an enormous amount of resources. That’s where social media comes in – whether you’re already using Facebook or are curious about how Instagram can help your nonprofit grow, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll learn how to set up social media strategies for nonprofits, as well as some social media best practices for nonprofits. Finally, you’ll learn how to use social media to boost awareness of your organization’s mission.

Social Media for Nonprofits: Your Guide to Getting Started the Right Way by @JuliaEMcCoy for @CoSchedule

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Organize Every Post for Your Nonprofit With This Social Media Calendar Template

Do you have a lot of content to share, but not much budget to spare? Then download this easy-to-use social media calendar template to plan and organize all your posts in advance, so you won't be left wondering what to share, and when:

Your Guide to Social Media for Nonprofits: Table of Contents

Why Social Media for Nonprofits is Important to Your Business

How to Use Social Media for Nonprofits to Boost Awareness

Why Social Media for Nonprofits is Important to Your Business

Before diving into the strategies and best practices for nonprofits, it’s important to understand why social media is important to nonprofits. Consider these social media statistics:
  • Over 50% of social media users will research products and services through various social media platforms.
  • When it comes to social media engagement, 83% of Twitter users who received company responses to their Tweets had more positive feelings about the brand and were more inclined to do work with them in the future.
  • Nearly 40% of consumers find purchase inspiration through different social media platforms.
Depending on the goals of your nonprofit (which you’ll learn more about later), you can see the benefits of using social media for nonprofits. Brand awareness is a key reason to use social media, and sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn provide the perfect platform for your nonprofit to get noticed.

Social Media Strategies for Nonprofits

Before you start optimizing social media strategies for nonprofits, it’s prudent that you have a plan in place to make the best use of your social media marketing efforts.

1. Establish Your Company’s Goals

Hopefully, you’ve already spent some time on this and know the general goals for your nonprofit. However, you need to have these nailed down to make the most of your social media strategy. Here are some questions to ask as you craft your goals:
  • Why do people care about the issue you’re trying to address?
  • What do you do differently that sets you apart from other nonprofits?
  • Who is most likely to be moved by your goals?
These questions will help you figure out the message you want to send to your audience – it will also guide the course of your business, so take extra time to establish your nonprofit’s goals.

2. Understand Your Audience

Knowing who you serve, what they care about, and what actions you want them to take is a critical part of social media success. Think about how your audience demographics stack up:
  • What is the general age range for your audience?
  • Do you serve a local audience, or do you have a broad reach?
  • Why does your audience care about your nonprofit specifically?
Demographics are helpful in figuring out which social media platforms you want to focus on – they aren’t one-size-fits-all, unfortunately.

target audience social media 3. Assemble Your Social Media Toolkit

Using social media tools is one of the best ways to make your social media strategy more efficient. Most tools can be set up easily and once they’re set up, they save you an enormous amount of time. Some popular tools that can boost your social media strategy are:
  • Canva – For nonprofits that don’t have a designer on staff, Canva offers a low-cost option for creating your own infographic, logos, banners, and more.
  • Venngage Another free to low-cost option exclusively for creating infographics is Venngage.
  • CoSchedule’s Growth PlanIf you’re looking for a comprehensive marketing package that includes social media management, consider CoSchedule’s growth plan.
Social media has a lot to offer nonprofits, but you need to have compelling graphics and – preferably – an automated social media strategy.

4. Select Your Channels

Once you’ve figured out who your target audience is, you can start focusing on which social media channels will work best for your nonprofit. Here are the most popular social media channels for nonprofit marketing:
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
Age is one of the primary factors in which social media platforms your nonprofit should choose. Keep this infographic in mind when selecting the best social media channels for your nonprofit: Demographic data on users of different social media platforms Source:

5. Set Your Social Media Goals You already have goals in place for your organization, but what about the goals you set for your social media strategy? Consider these potential marketing goals:
  • Boost donations to your nonprofit
  • Drive traffic to your nonprofit’s website
  • Bring awareness to a seasonal cause or promotion
  • Increase your social media presence
When you start a new social media campaign, consider the impact you want the campaign to have and who you are trying to reach. This will be crucial to measuring your results down the road.

Identify the social media goal that matters most to the growth of your business

Social Media Best Practices for Nonprofits Social media is an incredible tool for nonprofits, but using it effectively can be a challenge. You’ll be able to create engaging and productive campaigns with these social media best practices.

1. Create Your Basic Content Strategy

If you haven’t already considered this, the first thing you want to do before you start putting together social media campaigns is to create your brand’s voice and tone. Do you want to sound professional and composed? Would you rather sound warm and open? Your voice and tone set the stage for how you’ll create your content strategy. You’ll also want to consider the types of content you want to share across different social media platforms:
  • Links to content you created or outside sources
  • GIFs, photos, or graphics that have been created for your post
  • Videos that talk about your mission and goals
Every platform operates differently so there may be some trial and error as you figure out which types of content work best for which platforms.

2. Set a Basic Posting Schedule

Rather than haphazardly posting to your social media channels as time permits, you need to set up a posting schedule for the best campaign results. Think about each platform individually – social media best practices vary across platforms. Posting too infrequently means you’ll miss opportunities for exposure. Some social media best practices for nonprofits figuring out their posting schedule are:
  • How often you post: Studies suggest that posting once daily on Facebook is best but posting 15 times daily on Twitter has the most impact. Instagram and Pinterest vary, as well.
  • What time you post: This varies widely, but B2C businesses that post on Instagram have the most success at 8 AM, 1 PM, and 9 PM.
  • What day you post: Depending on the social media channels you’re using Wednesday may be the best day. For other channels, it may be Friday.
More networks = more engagement   Source: CoSchedule One thing to keep in mind is that this may vary for your nonprofit – make sure you’re tracking your social media campaign results to maximize your efficiency.

3. Plan and Organize Posts on a Calendar

Once you’ve spent some time figuring out your posting schedule, you’ll have the best results if you plan and organize your posts on a calendar. A web-based calendar is the best, but feel free to make notes on a desk calendar if it helps. Planning everything on a calendar helps ensure that you don’t miss any opportunities. There are a couple of ways to manage your social media calendar:
  • Calendar templates: If you’re going to manage your social media strategy yourself, you’ll need to use calendar post templates to schedule your social media posts. This can be a little time consuming, so keep that in mind.
  • Social media apps: For a more efficient social media management strategy, consider using CoSchedule’s marketing suite. Their Growth Plan offers a comprehensive suite of tools for $250/month – that includes their social media management tools.  
Without taking the time to plan your social media posts, you’ll likely end up dropping the ball. Consider this – do you really want to spend time posting to Twitter 15 times a day?

4. Measure Results

The last of the, if not the most important, social media best practices for nonprofits is to measure your social media campaign results. If you don’t measure your results, you won’t know if your campaigns are performing. A non-performing campaign is a waste of your time and money, so don’t skip this step. Here are some important things to measure about your social media campaigns:
  • How many people viewed your post and how many engaged with it?
  • Did your post drive traffic to your website or a landing page?
  • What are the demographics of the people who engaged with your post?
These questions can help you figure out exactly how to target your next social media campaign. While it takes a little bit of time to do this, it’s absolutely worth the effort.

How to Use Social Media for Nonprofits to Boost Awareness

While it can seem a little overwhelming at first, social media for nonprofits is an excellent tool for promoting your brand and bringing awareness to your organization’s mission and goals. This is what you need to know about using social media for nonprofits to boost brand awareness:
  • Choose social media platforms that are frequented by your audience – this will ensure you’re reaching the right people.
  • Use social media management tools to save time – you have other marketing efforts to focus on, so don’t spend all of your time managing various social media channels.
  • Measure your results to create better campaigns – don’t keep doing the same thing if it isn’t working for your organization.
With a little bit of research into your audience and some time spent on developing a social media schedule, you can craft a social media campaign that will help you reach your goals.
About the Author

Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and author. She builds great marketing that will last and stand the tests of time. Her expertise is in how to earn audience trust and grow a brand that lasts through powerful inbound content marketing. Julia started her career as a freelance writer and quickly realized the demand for high-quality content in the digital marketing industry. With a passion for helping businesses succeed through effective content strategies, she created Express Writers in 2011. Express Writers was a resounding success and Julia sold the company in 2021 for seven figures. Julia currently works at Content at Scale as the VP of marketing. Content at Scale is a revolutionary company that helps people navigate the new world of artificial intelligence in SEO-focused content marketing without losing quality. Julia is a frequent speaker and author on the topic of content marketing. She is also the author of multiple best-selling books. She has been featured in several industry publications and is a regular contributor to the Content Marketing Institute. Julia is also the host of the "Write Podcast," a show that features interviews with successful writers and content creators.