Tips for Creating an Effective Nonprofit Campaign on Social Media

Guest post by Mary Kleim

No matter what your thoughts are about social media, you cannot deny the fact that some people who use it are full of compassion. They are always ready to help those in need, and nonprofit organizations can leverage that fact to make an impact.

Sometimes, people’s attitudes about social media can be discouraging. You’ll always come across trolls and insensitive users who are ready to harass others. Nevertheless, you should always look at the bright side: there will always be someone who cares, and that’s all it takes for you to take action.

Nonprofit social media campaigns are not always successful. Sometimes they go by unnoticed. It’s not about the cause, since all noble causes are worthy of a fight. It is, however, all about the way organizations and individuals promote these causes. You’ll need a system that will lead you to success. Read on to see how you can develop a successful nonprofit marketing campaign on social through these helpful tips and practical examples.

Inspire Action for Raising Awareness

When you’re organizing an engaging charity campaign and you’re using social media tools to raise awareness, you need to inspire people to spread the news by directing users to take some sort of action. The first example that comes to mind is Movember. The campaign launched in 2003 with the purpose of raising funds for men’s health and increasing awareness for prostate cancer. It turned into a viral global movement, where large populations of men around the world sport mustaches during November.

Movember Campaign Tracks its Progress since 2003Over the last 11 years, the campaign raised $715 million for men’s health.There was a 43% drop in global donations over the last year, but Movember is still an active movement that raises millions of philanthropic dollars each year. There is one main factor that lead to the success of this campaign: mustaches. Men are encouraged to show their support by growing a mustache and showcasing their progress on social media. They invite their friends to donate money, collectively contributing toward the success of the campaign. Without this little detail, many people across the world would still be unaware of prostate cancer and other issues related to men’s health.

Here’s the lesson: when you’re starting a nonprofit social media campaign, make sure to direct your audience to some type of action. Don’t just ask for money; inspire people to spread the news. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Some may hardly recall what that was about (raising awareness about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), but we do remember lots of people dumping buckets of ice water on their heads. That’s the kind of action you should aim for. Why? Your goal should be concrete — in this case, raising money. If you get enough traction, the funds will start coming in.So you want to take the ALS ice bucket challenge?

Clarify the Objective

Whatever the goal of your campaign, make it as clear as possible. People are glad to donate money when they know they are contributing to a cause they care about. Make that cause clear and explain why they should care about it. In addition, you should set the specific philanthropic goal you want to reach. When people are able to monitor the progress of the campaign, they’ll want to help you reach your objective. If, for example, you’re raising money for someone’s surgery, you need to specify how much the procedure will cost and how much time you have to raise that money.

When you emphasize the urgency and gravity of the situation, the social media community will react quickly. The campaign will (hopefully) get tons of shares and activity across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

Relate the Campaign to Pop Culture

Let’s face it: there are too many similar campaigns out there. You want to help animals? People are already being torn apart by thousands of requests similar to yours. Unfortunately, there is a competitive aspect to fundraising. There aren’t enough resources for everyone, so you have to try new and innovative methods in order to get the attention you need. The reality is you have to make your campaign attractive enough in order to raise awareness.

Here’s a great example — do you remember the famous blue and black dress? Or was it white and gold? It took the social media world by storm. The Salvation Army in South Africa used that to their advantage by raising awareness of domestic abuse. The campaign became a worldwide success. The woman featured in the below image was photographed in a white and gold dress, and she had obvious bruises on her face and body. The following text accompanied the graphic: “Why is it so hard to see black and blue? One in six women are victims of abuse. That’s no illusion.”

The Salvation Army in South Africa took a random meme and turned into a very powerful message.
The Salvation Army in South Africa took a random meme and turned into a very powerful message.

There Is Always Room for Humor

Nonprofit campaigns can be about serious issues. Some make people sad and emotional, so their human side triggers their reaction. That doesn’t mean you should always play the ‘emotional card’. Yes, you should emphasize the gravity of the issue, but you can do that through innovative ways.

Water Is Life — an organization that provides clean drinking water, hygiene education programs, and sanitation to people in desperate need, is an example of how a mix of funny and sad can be a winning combination. The team borrowed the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems, which people use to express their frustration with trivial things — like forgetting to charge their phone or neighbors blocking their WiFi. In a video that went viral, these statements were told by people facing much more serious problems — like the lack of clean water for drinking and hygiene.

Water Is Life borrowed the hashtag #FirstWorldProblemsPeople started using the popular hashtag to raise awareness of the issue, which lead to the campaign’s success.

Social media platforms have great power, if you know how to leverage them to your advantage. Thousands of nonprofits have revealed innovative ways to use these networks to bring focus to the causes they stand for. With the right strategy, you can do the same thing: make a difference for a cause you believe in.

Author Bio: Mary Kleim is a social media marketer and writer from Assignment Masters. She is passionate about fundraising and she’s always ready to share insights that help people fight for a cause they believe in.