How Can You Harness the Power of Social Media for Your Cause?

Brea Reimer-Baum


Ah… the world of social media. Can’t live with it, definitely can’t live without it. In a world where supporters are on their phones on a near-constant basis, nonprofit groups need to stay current on social media trends to retain and gain support. Here are a few useful tips I learned along the way.

Sourcing Content

If you do not have enough in-house content to keep your social media accounts as busy as you’d like, consider these sources:

1. Google Alerts can be a great source for news fodder. My previous organization often used it to find relevant articles to post on social media. Set up keywords, and Google will send articles with those same words directly to your inbox.

  • Google Alerts can also be a nightmare. You will receive one email (at least) per day per Alert you have set up. This means, if you have ten different keywords or phrases set up in Google Alerts, and you take a three-day weekend, you will come back Monday to at least thirty emails from Google.

2. You may also receive inspiration from non-Google emails, such as other organizations’ newsletters or e-blasts with event info.

3. You may even receive an outreach email asking you to share a piece of news or an event with your network. The best are those with sample text for you to simply copy and paste!

Scheduling Content

Schedule social media pieces as needed. Scheduling saves you the time and attention of signing into your social media accounts repeatedly.

1. I recommend using a scheduling platforms, such as Hootsuite or Grum (great Instagram scheduler that permits work from a desktop rather than a phone, as is Instagram’s usual M.O.). Facebook’s scheduling tool for organizational pages was a great way to see how the post would look before going live. Usually, I would go through all of my Google Alerts on Fridays and schedule out through next Friday.

  • Grum offered a free account to our nonprofit organization. If you are in the same field, consider asking for the same deal!

Pro-Tip: Don’t post the same material across all your social media accounts. It gets tiring, and not every piece is meant to be shared in each social way (text, short text, photo, etc.)

2. Use Bitly to shorten URLs for Twitter and Instagram. If you use Hootsuite, you can also shorten links there.

3. Tag organizations by using their handles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). This increases the number of eyes that see your post. If you’re advertising something (such as event), consider tagging partner organizations or planning committee organizations.

4. When using Twitter, it can be difficult at times to stick to 140 characters.

  • Use emojis in place of words, when appropriate.
  • Use threads to string multiple Tweets together.
  • If you have someone who can create simple, yet bold graphics, consider using one to cut down on character count. For example, I would create one for an upcoming webinar with the headshots of the speakers, along with the title and date of the webinar. Then, in the actual Tweet, I would post a tagline or a question to spark interest, then post the link for registration.

Advertising on Facebook

If you’re advertising an upcoming event, here are some learned techniques:

1. Keep your text short.

2. Put the most important text first, in case a reader doesn’t scroll and in case the remainder is cut off (as in the case of Facebook at times.)

3. Like with Twitter, consider using graphics to create a more visually stimulating representation of your information. A word of caution with Facebook adverts though: be wary of how much text is in your graphic. Paid Facebook ads must be approved, and those with too much text are denied.

4. If you are using paid Facebook ads, watch the automatic settings Facebook chooses for you, including your target audience and amount you wish to spend.

Checking social media notifications

Check your social media accounts often but not every minute. You will go mad trying to give attention to every notification and direct message. If you have a smaller following, this may be every few days. If you have a larger following, you may need to check your accounts every day. If you have a huge following, it may be time to hire a social media guru!

A word of caution here—with nonprofits and grantmaking initiatives come all sorts of asks for funding, even if they don’t match your mission. Be wary of direct follower postings as they may include personal information for you to contact with funding opportunities. Such postings should be dealt with swiftly and professionally and usually include the deletion of the original post.

This post originally appeared on Brea Reimer-Baum’s website, The Unexpected Journey of a Youth Philanthropist, to view the original post please click here.

Picture of About Brea Reimer-Baum

About Brea Reimer-Baum

Brea Reimer-Baum is a former Graduate Assistant to Youth Philanthropy Connect. She began her adventure into philanthropy in high school when she joined a youth grantmaking organization, which complemented her love of volunteering. She earned her Purdue B.A. in biology from IUPUI and is currently in her final year of Master’s work at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. You can read more about her journey here.