10 Social Media Tips for Charities

Reblogged from the Donative blog

It’s impossible to ignore the impact social media has on our society. Given that pretty much the entire planet show up on at least one platform daily, charities cannot ignore the value of social media in reaching their audience, getting donors and volunteers and generating awareness of the cause.

Cultivating an impactful social media strategy however can be overwhelming and with so many platforms, it’s often hard to know where to start and how to go about it.

Here are some key things for charities to think about when it comes to ensuring that social media is used to its full advantage and gets results.

1. Pick a platform

If you are a charity short on manpower and don’t have an entire team dedicated to social media, don’t underestimate how time consuming the process can be. Whilst there are some amazing tools that can help you automate your posts (such as Buffer and Hootsuite) being consistent with your social media accounts and posting valuable content regularly is still a big task.

Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to be everywhere. Instead, dedicate yourself to a few platforms and consistently post quality material there.

Figure out which platforms your audience are most likely to hang out on in the largest numbers and focus your attentions there.

Adweek created a great infographic for 2015 that breaks down numbers of users on each platform along with ages.

2. Use captivating images

Not only are articles that include an image much more likely to be viewed but a picture itself can tell a thousand words so use images that help tell a story and attract an audience. Whilst text gets information across, images are what bring the campaigns to life and drive real emotional engagement with supporters and volunteers.

Share images of events, the work the charity is doing how beneficiaries have benefitted. Use images to take the audience on a journey so that it gets a real feel of what the charity stands for and what its achievements have been so far.

Images can also be used to simplify more complex. Macmillan for example uses Pinterest images to share infographics that share vital statistics and key pieces of information. Having this information contained within an image works well as it is sometimes hard to digest this information when placed in the body of an article.

3. Utilize the power of the hashtag.

Encourage a campaign to go viral by getting people to use and share a specific hashtag.


All these charity campaigns achieved huge success which was partly due to taking advantage of the humble hashtag.

A hashtag encourages people to get involved and to share their participation. It’s an easy way for someone to say, ‘I am on board’. Hashtags get issues trending and get people talking.

Create a call to action that asks people to post something to social media platform with the associated hashtag. Make the call to action something simple, as with the #nomakeupselfie, something that pretty much anyone can get involved with. Make it fun and quirky so people want to get involved.

Ensure that the hashtag isn’t too complicated but that it is memorable.

Creating and monitoring use of a hashtag allows the charity to then analyse how much attention a campaign is getting and who is jumping on board.

4. Create call to actions

Don’t expect your audience to automatically proceed to donate/volunteer after seeing your posts. It seems obvious but it can be easy to create emotive content that attracts and audience but then fail to let them know what you want them to do next.

Give a clear call to action by instructing them how they can help. Include clickable links where possible to direct them to the relevant websites.

Ask your audience to share your content or tag in a post someone they know who would relate with the cause. These are such simple things but often it’s easy to forget that people may not do these things automatically.

5. Engage in discussion

Social media isn’t about simply posting content and waiting for the results. A social media campaign isn’t a passive affair but is about engaging with your audience. Ask them questions, build discussion and cultivate their interest by launching thought provoking topics of conversation.

A picture posted on Instagram could be captioned with a question encouraging the audience to make comments whilst twitter chats are a good way to dive deep into a particular topic.

When coming up with topics for discussion, think about what issues are relevant to your charity and how your audience are affected by these issues.

6. Be relatable

A well-crafted social media campaign helps you to form a bond with your audience but in order for that audience to pay attention and trust you, your online presence needs to be relatable.

Use social media to humanize the charity by using a distinct voice and showing what happens behind the scenes. Respond to questions and ask questions back. Whilst you want to get your charities message across, always sticking to the guidelines can seem ‘robotic. What you post doesn’t always have to be ‘on topic’. Infiltrating your posts with other areas of conversation e.g. occasional tweet about the weather or cakes in the office, make the charity more relatable.

7. What are your audience already discussing and how can you add to that?

What discussions are your target audience already involved in online? What topics are trending and generating conversation? Get involved in these discussions. Be useful, be knowledgeable and your audience will take notice.

8. Use analytics

Every social media platform has free analytic tools so use these to figure out which posts are getting the most engagement and what people do/don’t respond to. Experiment by trying different types of posts at different times and across different platforms.

9. Look for interest indicators.

Look for likes, shares, retweets etc to see who your message is resonating with, then try and build on that relationship further (using direct messaging on twitter/Instagram is a good way to get in touch) Thank them for their support, provide them with more information and give them calls to action.

10. Reach out to influential people.

Finally, reach out to those on social media who already have a large following. Try and get them involved in some way — perhaps by doing a shout out on Instagram, retweeting one of your tweets or jumping on board with the hashtag. Getting in front of their large audience is probably one of the best ways to grow your own.

By Dani Watson
Founder, Believe & Be Awesome
A Business and Lifestyle Coaching Platform for Female Entrepreneurs