How the Hashtag has Transformed Nonprofits

When you do a Google search of your favorite nonprofit their Facebook page is one of the top hits from the search. Here are some numbers to consider: 98 percent of nonprofits use Facebook and 75 percent use Twitter. Almost 50 percent believe that having a presence on social media is crucial to their success.

But which social media site brings the most success to nonprofits? Many people would say Facebook. Almost all of the nonprofits in the world use Facebook. The question is: how affective is Facebook at creating social change? It is important to remember that the goal for nonprofits is to raise donations and the number of volunteers.

Nonprofits generally use Facebook as a secondary website. They put information pertaining to what they have been up to, or testimonies of the people they have helped. Some nonprofits utilize Facebook as a means of fundraising. Many times those fundraisers fail. Nonprofits use Facebook as a way to spread awareness of who they are and what they do. It’s hard to create social change on Facebook.

The hashtag has revolutionized how nonprofits use social media. While only 75 percent of nonprofits use Twitter, using a hashtag has made creating social change an amazing success.

So what makes using a hashtag on Twitter more innovative than sharing a video or photo on Facebook? Consider these four reasons:

  1. Unity: using a hashtag helps people feel unified. Whether you are sharing a tragedy or celebration, a simple hashtags allows people to gather around the cause.
  2. Statements: hashtags can spread globally and rapidly. Using a hashtag allows people to share their story internationally.
  3. Participation: hashtags are searchable and allow people to zero in on a specific cause. Using a hashtag allows people to share their opinion and strengthening the reach of the hashtag.
  4. Media: the hashtag gives people instant access to photos and videos of the cause.

In 2014 there were multiple break out campaigns that found success through hashtags. For example, the Ice Bucket Challenge sparked a social change revolution. Many people would post videos of themselves dumping ice cold water onto their heads and then post it on social media. Using the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge and the viral explosion ALS was able to raise over $115 million dollars. Thanks to a simple hashtag a social change exploded and millions of people chipped in to help.

Not only do hashtags help generate donations, but they also help spark national conversations about difficult issues. The hashtag #YesAllWomen helped generation conversations about feminism and the many difficulties that women are still facing today. Women and men’s group chipped into the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag.

A trending hashtag can do a lot of a nonprofit. It can do anything from raise millions of dollars, to sparking a nation wide conversation. While Facebook is crucial to all nonprofits, Twitter is a game changer. The hashtag has revolutionized how people engage and interact with nonprofits.

Other sources:

http://blogs.constantcontact.com/nonprofits-use-facebook /http://blog.actionsprout.com/nonprofits-hashtags-year-2014/ http://manoverboard.com/top-5-reasons-why-non-profits-should-use-social-media/ http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/nonprofits-social-media-marketing-data http://www.socialbrite.org/2011/10/03/24-best-practices-for-nonprofits-using-twitter/