social media how toAre you looking for ways to use social media to advance your cause?

Non-profits have many of the same opportunities in social media as for-profit businesses—it’s just a matter of altering the strategy.

Non-profits can focus their social efforts to drive awareness, share their story, cultivate donor relationships and open up two-way communication with advocates in ways never before possible.

Here are ten tips that virtually any non-profit can easily take advantage of at little or no cost. These tactics can supplement many marketing efforts already in place and in some cases expand those efforts exponentially by reaching an entirely new audience with a creative and unique approach.

#1: Evangelize your organization’s mission with an interactive presentation

Sliderocket is a groundbreaking tool that lets you create stunning presentations in a collaborative environment to complement your social campaigns.

Tell your story and illustrate your mission by adding interactive engagement tools such as poll questions, viewer comments and integrated Twitter feeds.

You can then gauge the reach of your content by using “per-slide” analytics on number of views, clicks, tweets and Facebook likes. Sliderocket offers a non-profit discount through


Sliderocket makes your presentations interactive and social.

#2: Get organized with a social CRM tool

Social customer relationship management is the easiest way to manage your social following and monitor conversations.

SproutSocial is a useful tool that keeps all of your contacts across all social networks in one easy-to-manage platform. The professional account is only $9.00 per month and they give a 50% discount to non-profits.


SproutSocial keeps all of your social activity under one roof.

Another option is Nimble, which allows you to manage all of your social profiles including email contacts. In addition, you can collaborate with other members of your organization for complete cross-functional customer engagement.

#3: Leverage the power of video to advance your cause

YouTube offers certified non-profits the opportunity to gain increased exposure through their Non-Profit Program.

Once you are accepted into the network, your organization receives special non-profit benefits such as premium branding capabilities, increased uploading capacity, an optional Google Checkout “Donate” button, a listing on the Non-profit channels and the Non-profit videos pages and the ability to add a Call-to-action overlay on your videos to drive campaigns.


Take advantage of additional features for non-profits from YouTube.

#4: Get to know your donors, volunteers, partners and clients/beneficiaries on a deeper level

If you want to know more about your non-profit’s social following, ask them.

Launch an online survey or poll directly into your social channels or embed it in your blog.

Doing so will help monitor overall satisfaction, gauge interest in events and fundraisers, understand donors’ reasons for contributing and determine areas/issues of interest to constituents.

Ask not what your following can do for you, ask what you can do for your following. Zoomerang offers a non-profit discount on their pro account.


Online surveys provide fast and easy feedback.

#5: Get to know the new kid on the block

Google+. Although business pages do not yet exist, it’s a good idea to jump in and become familiar with the platform. The Hangouts feature could be an invaluable tool to connect, and the Circles feature can organize your donors, etc., into manageable groups.


The Circles and Hangout features hold great potential for non-profits.

#6: Turn Facebook into a fundraising hub

Facebook Causes is a tool that allows non-profits to develop campaigns on Facebook and can be a successful way to attract new donors, raise money and share information about volunteering opportunities. Causes have built free, customizable fundraising pages that integrate with Facebook.

tides center

Small actions on Facebook can really add up with Causes.

#7: Power to the Tweeple: Take your petition to Twitter is a friendly and intuitive way to launch an online petition. Simply identify a target (a Twitter handle), type what you want them to do or stop doing, then every time anyone retweets the message, they’ve signed the petition.


The easiest way to launch a petition within Twitter.

#8: Connect with other non-profits on a Tweetchat

#NpTalk is a weekly one-hour Tweetchat hosted by Nicole Harrison with the purpose of connecting and empowering people looking for ways to advance non-profit missions with new technologies.

It’s open to everyone who has an interest in non-profits and you are sure to leave inspired with some very useful ideas and tips.

np talk

Join your peers in a weekly online discussion on the latest non-profit trends.

#9: Create a LinkedIn company page

LinkedIn Company Page is free and it will create an official presence for your organization on LinkedIn. In addition, make sure to complete your personal LinkedIn profile to 100% and encourage your staff to do the same.

Stay up to date on top news within the non-profit space by utilizing LinkedIn Today, which aggregates the top articles shared on LinkedIn and Twitter by people in your network.

red cross

Secure your non-profit's presence on the world's largest professional network.

#10: Keep it transparent

There’s nothing that donors and supporters like more than seeing exactly where and how their donations are being used.

Adding names, faces and compelling captions to photo-sharing sites such as Flickr or Shutterfly demonstrates the impact of supporters’ contributions and can reassure them that their contributions are being put to good use.


Shutterfly and Flickr make it easy to store and share your non-profit's photos.

These are just a few tips to get you started.

What have you been using to promote your non-profit or cause? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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  • The company I work for is developing a social gift store for Non-Profits Facebook pages. This way people can give gifts through Facebook and then share with everyone in their network that they made a donation and where their friends can do the same. 
    If anyone is interested in this and you would like to tell me how this would help your non profit please let us know. We are taking suggestions during the development stage to help make this a great product for many organizations. We are ready to help change the world, one Facebook page at a time 😉

  • Hi Erica, 

    Interesting idea, sounds like you have an idea that could really catch on. 

    Thanks for chiming in, 


  • Guest

    I have a question specifically about how organizations
    promoting “rape prevention” can leverage Facebook. It seems like it may
    be difficult to get “fans” because people don’t necessarily want to
    “like” a rape prevention page. Any ideas on how an organization like
    this could get fans and interact with them would be much appreciated!

  • To begin with I would work on the terminology used and try to build a community around a more positive, broader message. I think a good example is the Red Campaign. ( They took what may be perceived as a sensitive topic and turned it into a global phenomenon with creative messaging and influential sponsors. Join a non-profit group on Linkedin and share some ideas with others who have been successful in building a social presence around sensitive topics. Hope that helps!

  • No Problem! 
    I am always looking for new ways to help facilitate what non profits are trying to accomplish. 

  • Competing for donors is in some ways more fiercely competitive than some for-profit industries (e.g. Coke and Pepsi, Breakfast Cereals), so it seems like a lot of social-media branding strategies would work just as well in that sphere. 

    One of the more common pieces of social media branding advice I have heard is to be community driven. For for-profits, this often translates into some sort of assistance or alliance with some local charities.

    How might social media activities from a non-profit perspective link into this “community tendency” and be used to form alliances with potential for-profit entities?

    Also, some non-profits are pretty good at branding already. Is a pink ribbon widget (like the Twitter “t”)somebody can put on their blog or website so people are directed to a non-profit page to donate, or get more involved, already exist?

    One comment for Guest – some people will be fans just because they support the cause, and will thus not be concerned about stigma issues, so the advice in the blog can be used for that segment. However, the valid concern for identity protection for others creates some unique challenges, but I have to believe that somewhere in the big-wide-web-world there is a solution. Some of the on-line game technology is not very “ID transparent”, isn’t it? Or maybe the process of registering comments as “Guest” can be used in a different setting? Since I am a finance guy and not a tech guy I do not know the answers to these, but merely suggest them to spur the conversation. Thanks.

  • Hi David, 

    Well said! You make some very good points about branding and the similarities between non and for profits. I agree completely that they can both find tremendous opportunity in social, based on their willingness to experiment, creative campaigning and the rewarding of their community.  

    Thanks for the comment!


  • Hi Jason. Thanks for this great post. I’m a heavy user and big fan of SproutSocial. So very happy with your number 2. Especially cause most people are aware of HootSuite, but don’t know the power of SproutSocial. It’s so great to hear they offer non-profits a 50% discount. Thanks again.

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  • Hi Juan, 

    Thanks for the comment! I am a huge fan of Sprout Social and I think they are going to be a game -changer in the next few months when social managers find out how incredibly insightful Sprout can be. I think it’s an amazing value for the price, and for non-profits it is essential at that price. 

    Thanks again,


  • Hi Jason, thanks so much for posting this. Some great stuff here! 

    I work in communications for a church and there is a group of us who work in the same role in different churches from different countries who use twitter chat as a tool to share stories and give tips to each other. I also blog about my experiences to share what I know and have learnt in the role.Many churches don’t have the money to use even purchase at discount rates so free tools are all the rage. A post on free tools for non profits would be great. Thanks for posting!

  • Social media can make the Profits and non-profits to boomed but it depends on how you do it and how you convince people to like you as an organization. You will be the one responsible for your success.

  • please for your kindliness i request you to help me to get someone that can boost my small barbershop business i do to enable me life somehow please. God bless you and nice time.

  • 19MYLewis06

    Hi JasonYou offered non-profits some good advice and insights into various some forms of technology to consider in support of their programs. As an executive with experience in both corporations and non-profit (the largest non profit and some of the most iconic brands), most non-profits are just now starting to really grapple with the idea of how to strategically leverage and integrate social media as an integral part of an overarching strategy – donor, advocacy and volunteering.  Social media should be applied across all three, not solely for donor efforts.  Utilizing social media to other forms of engagement such as advocacy allows non-profits to tapped into the those who may not be able to give but want to advocate (voice) on behalf of a cause or devote time (volunteer) to a specific cause.  First and foremost organizations need to define their objective (s) which for most non profits will always include some aspect of fundraising.  However, it is equally important to use social media to ignite conversations and drive interest in programs and causes that ultimately leads to other forms of call to action such as advocating or volunteering.  Like brand loyalty, individuals interest in non-profits evolve  and their entry point for  participating in causes vary, so it is important to create compelling messages that resonate with and motivate individuals to take some form of call to action (donate, advocate or volunteer).  You want to be able to move each individual along the lifecycle of the brand.  I may not be able to donate money today but able to devote my time for a cause or charity.Once non-profits understand this process and has clearly defined their audience, knows where their audience lives/play within social media, and what type of social media platforms are most effective in reaching their audiences then they will be in a better position to executive the most effective go-to market strategies for their organization. Also, one of the challenges that non-profits and corporations face is the ability to develop a content strategy (original, aggregate or syndicated) that is aligned to their mission and or specific programs.  A well thought out content strategy will most definitely help non-profits and corporations to drive continuous engagement (relevant conversations) and ongoing dialogue with their audiences. I constantly tell executives (corporations or non-profits) that branding involves the total integration of disciplines, communications channels and platforms where appropriate for your brand and business. However, before you get there, you must do your research – understand your brand and business.  Many non-profit are operating on limited budgets and resources so having the basics in place are critical to ensure an efficient use of time and resources to effectively generate the greatest ROC (Return on Conversation) and ROI. Again, you provided some really good information for non-profits who have the resources, understands their audiences and who are committed to leveraging social media as a strategic initiative and not merely as a tactic.  Implementing an effective social media strategy requires time, resources, commitment and flexibility. 

    I recently posted a blog “Why Branding Is Important For Nonprofits” at 


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  • Great read, Jason.  I feel like I come across and read so many articles about growing a general for-profit business via social media, but so little about how non-profits can use it.  Very refreshing, thanks! –Caitlin

  • Good tutorial. I like how you describe LinkedIn creating page ))
    Good work! Thnx!

  • predsicker

    Hey Paul – perhaps you’ll find this article useful:
    It gives you excellent tips on how you can raise money for your business/cause from strangers. Hope it helps 🙂

  • predsicker

    Hi there ‘Guest’,

    That’s an excellent question!!

    I once volunteered for a non-profit working against domestic violence and sexual abuse. You’ll be surprised how many people support these types of causes when the right content is provided to them. We didn’t have any problems getting a lot of Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

    Most of our content was educational – we posted interesting statistics on the rate of d/violence and s/abuse in our county. People would respond with utter disbelief because they had no idea these things were happening right in their back yard (so to speak).

    We also ‘piggy-backed’ on celebrities or public figures who were talking about our cause – this always attracted a lot of feedback. And then we also had fun on our page and by asking simple (but focused) questions on our Facebook page e.g. ‘Are you in a relationship? (Yes or No); ‘How important is it for you to meet your significant other’s family?’ and so on…

    One last thing, when you give people snippets of interesting information on your Facebook page, it will be that much easier to attract their attention when you have an event going on. Don’t just hit them up with your cause 24/7. Change things up a little so that they can see that you’re interesting to talk to. And if you can get one or two people to tell their own stories in a video – that is gold!!

    All the best. I hope this helps somewhat 🙂

  • Hi Erica!  What your company is trying to accomplish sounds great!  I just started working at nonprofit who is working on making the transition from governemtn funding to private funding.  Big job ahead of me since they currently have very little private support.  A Facebook gift option would be a great addition to reach out to potential new donors for us!  Looking forward to seeing to rolled out!

  • Wow, that’s quite a comment! Thanks for the details on strategy. I agree with you that it is so very important to start with strategy before jumping in with tools. Checking out your blog as well. 

    Thanks for the nice insights! 


  • Hi Caitlin, 
    Glad to hear you found it useful! Thanks for the comment!


  • It’s so essential for all organizations to have a presence on Linkedin these days! Thanks for the comment!

    All the best,

  • Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the comment. I love a good tweetchat as well! Sounds like you have a solid strategy in place for sharing and networking. All of the tools mentioned above have a free version except for Sprout and they offer a free 30 day trial and a great non-profit discount after. 
    What’s your blog by the way? Would like to check it out. 
    All the best,

  • Dave

    Hi Jason, insightful post. You’ve mentioned a couple of non-profits like Any chance you can share a list of non-profit sites that you believe have the best holistic social presence (website, social integration)?

    Cheers, Dave

  • Guest

    Thank you for your response.  This is great and helpful information!

  • Emma Ballard

    Cool website, interesting article too cheers!

  • 19MYLewis06

    Hi Jason,

    No problem. Your discussion was great so I wanted to contribute and add value to the topic.


  • Brennan Deitsch

    This is so true. I really like the new petition feature that is integrated into Twitter! I use to be a social media manager for a non-profit and I wished I had these tips then. Having said that, was a great site for non-profits. Facebook is problably the best tool to use though.

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  • This is an impressive collection of ways to promote non-profits. I can already think of some organizations I could tell these things to. Thanks, Jason.

  • Neetal

    Great post! I have added it to the resources listed here: 10 Social Media Tools for Social Innovation

  • Hi Jason. It is really very interesting to read. Some important points are raised regarding social media. I like this post.

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  • Iris

    Good post! The advises are really clear. I think charities definitely should use social media after reading this blog. Since they are a non-profit and do not have a lot money to spend, this is a good way to promote themselves.

  • Sandrajewellministriesinc

    Where can I get some marketing assistance for my not for profit: provide free food & clothing, counseling, weekly tv show provides motivational tips,low cost  transportation, conduct group & individual bible study.  Need workers to sort clothes, receive clients, file paperwork. People promise to help and don’t; not many people using the services.  Churches won’t refer for fear of losing members – thin I want to start a church whereas I am an outreach ministry only.   I saw ten tips but are over-whelming to me. 

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