Social Media for Nonprofits –
Top Tricks and Tips

by Sue Ann Muller, Social Media Manager at Social Mission

There’s a lot of digital noise in the non profit space so it’s vital that your organisation has a credible social media presence. Here are some tips and tricks to help you cut through the noise and stand out and stand for something!

Develop a social media strategy

1. Define your social media objectives. Some broad objectives could be to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Build an engaged community
  • Provide customer service

2. Where are you now? Where do you want to go? If you already have established social media channels, conduct an audit so that you have benchmarks to measure. Look at the extensive and free analytics provided by Facebook via Insights or Twitter Analytics. How many followers do you have, what is your reach and engagement like? Who are your current followers? How old are they? What time are they online? Are they male or female? Where are they from?

3. Based on your analytics and what you know about your supporters create one or more avatars of your ideal customers and make them as detailed as possible. When you post talk to that person!

4. Define the tone and voice for your social media and share with any employees responsible for creating content for social media. More on this at

5. Create a brand profile for your social channels so that the look and feel is consistent with the rest of your branding. Look at colours, logos, type faces etc

6. Choose social media channels based on your ideal customer/s and the resources you have available. Better to do one or two social media channels well rather than spread your organisation’s limited resources across too many platforms and do many channels badly. Currently Facebook is the bare minimum and has the most followers worldwide. Also, consider an Instagram business account, a Twitter account, Pinterest and a company LinkedIn page based on your target market

7. When you have selected your social channels ensure that:

  • all of your profiles on each channel are filled in. e.g. opening hours, website links, phone numbers
  • your profile pictures and banners are correctly sized
  • where possible each channel should have the same name

8. Once you have set up your social channels add social buttons and a call to action to follow your social channels on all your communications.

Create and curate shareable content that gains attention

Create a sharable editorial calendar. Trello has a template for an editorial calendar which can be adapted for the needs of your organisation and shared with team members
Referring to your analytics decide how often and the best times to post on each channel based on when your ideal customers are online

Content curation :

Source and share relevant content from sources such as:

– Buzzsumo
– Create a Feedly account
– Create google alerts relevant to your space
– Follow similar accounts to yours and share articles that are relevant to your audience

Content creation

Story telling is key. Don’t broadcast. Engage! Gary Vaynerchuk uses the boxing analogy to describe your social media approach: jab, jab, jab, right hook. You need to provide interesting content (the jabs) before you hit your followers with the “ask” i.e. the right hook.
“…the definition of great content is not the content that makes the most sales, but the content that people most want to share with others.”

Content can include:

– Setting up a blog on your website and publishing regular posts. Read 10 Reasons why non profits should blog at
– Quotes
– Infographics
– Short videos
– Links to articles of interest
– Personal stories
– Behind the scenes

Always have a call to action at the end of your posts to stimulate engagement:

– share this
– learn more
– watch this
– what do you think
– sign this petition
– donate now

Moderate and respond to any comments, ask leading questions and have a conversation. It is vital that you acknowledge positive or negative comments as soon as you can.

Research hashtags relevant to your organisation and consider creating one unique to your cause and use them on Instagram and Twitter to expand your reach

Free tools to help make your social media images sing

Great images are essential to help make your social media attract attention and give your organisation credibility. Use some of these free sites to source good quality, copyright free images.

– Unsplash
– Pixabay
– Canva

Sizing and editing Images:

Images need to be sized according to each platform’s requirements and sadly they are all different! If you think you have a post that’s going to go viral it’s worth discretely popping on your organisation’s logo or watermark onto the image too. Luckily you don’t need to be a Photoshop pro to create great images that shine.

– Pic Monkey has easy to use, online, free photo editing tool
– Canva! Canva for Work can well be worth the annual fee. The magic resize tool is a great time saver that allows you to resize your social images to suit each platform. The subscription also includes more free images. Canva offers its premium version free to registered nonprofits.


– Ripl is an app for your phone which allows you to create slideshows. Subscription is free but you need to subscribe to remove the Ripl logo from your posts.
– Camtasia is also highly recommended by the pros although it is pricey. You can trial it for free first at


You can schedule posts in Facebook but not in Twitter and Instagram. The free version of
Hootsuite allows scheduling on three social platforms which means you can post content when your followers are online and most likely to see the post

Keep up to date with some free or low cost social media training

Follow all or some of these social media guru’s blogs or social pages for free training and up to date information

– Social Media Examiner
– Neil Patel
– Gary Vaynerchuk
– Peg Fitzpatrick
– Nonprofit Tech for Good

Online free/low cost social media training:

Facebook blueprint
Udemy social media courses
Hubspot Academy

Track, test and measure your social efforts

Create some benchmarks to test and revisit your results on a monthly basis. Which posts got the most engagement? Which posts didn’t fly? Tweak your content accordingly and continue to test and analyse.

Stay up to date! Social media trends and the platforms themselves change quickly so what worked a year ago may not be as relevant today.

Free tools to track your social media success

Use bitly to shorten and track the performance of your URL links on the various social platforms at
Facebook: Use Facebook analytics to measure the success of your posts
Twitter: Twitter analytics
Instagram: Instagram analytics (must have a business accounts to access this feature)

Have you found this helpful? Do you have any other tips or tricks to help non-profits with their social media?

By | 2019-01-25T04:36:03+00:00 January 17th, 2018|