Social Media Best Practices For Nonprofits: The Full Scoop

Social media is an excellent place for businesses and brands to expand their visibility in the marketplace. And for nonprofits, social media is one of the best ways to directly connect with potential investors and volunteers. But what are the social media best practices for nonprofits to follow? In this post we’ll examine 11 strategies you can begin using today on your nonprofits social profile.

1. Be Clear With Purpose

You wouldn't start a nonprofit organization without a specific purpose. The same rules apply to your social media marketing. You want to be clear about the purpose of your social media campaigns. Decide in advance whether or not your goal is to bring awareness to a specific cause, raise funding or something else. When you do this, you can always look at your campaigns through the lens of purpose which will help you determine the words, images and hashtags to put in the post.

2. Define Content Goals

Once your purpose is defined, it's time to define the goals. The goals give you a list of action items to take in order to fulfill the purpose. The goals might be to get a specific amount of followers on a weekly basis or raise a certain amount of money at the end of each month. Find strategic, actionable and realistic goals that you and your marketing team can meet on a consistent basis.

Also consider the industry you’re in when creating benchmarks. For example, a page about feeding hungry children can’t be compared to a page about puppies. The page about puppies will get dozens or even hundreds more likes's puppies…

So when you’re evaluating your social media teams performance, keep this in mind and, if comparing your pages growth to other pages, make sure it's in the same industry.

3. Identify Your Target Audience

One of the bigger mistakes people make in marketing involves casting the net too wide. While it would be nice to attract everybody to your organization, it's not realistic. It’s better to create one or more customer avatars and then target those people specifically. This will ensure your marketing message is both powerful and a match to the market.

If you're looking for funding for your organization, you want to target people who have a certain amount of money. In this case, you would use Facebook ads. Facebook advertising allows you to get background data on groups of people including the salary range of your target audience.

4. Consider Collaborations & Partnerships

It's an excellent idea to consider collaborations and partnerships with various public figures. And there’s many influencers and celebrities who are willing to partner with nonprofit organizations to bring visibility to various causes. Granted, it may cost money because you’re using their platform to further your mission. However, it can be a really worthwhile investment.

A great example would be a nonprofit organization that works with children needing adoption. They would need to think of celebrities advocating adoption and who are known for their work. Reach out to these people to find out if they'd be willing to partner with you and your nonprofit. After all, this would be an authentic collaboration because the public knows that this person is an advocate of adoption. Always seek out collaborations with public figures that make sense. Otherwise, the partnership can easily fall flat.

5. Decide Content Type

It's wise to be thoughtful regarding the type of content you'd like to share. On social media, you can share so many forms of content. Videos, infographics and blog posts are just a few of the different types you can share. Take a look at the information you’re sharing, and consider which would be the most effective way to deliver it.

If your nonprofit specialized in providing care for women and infant children, you could share videos that directly speak to the needs they have.

This pulls at the heartstrings of mothers because they understand the sacrifices a mother makes. You can also share content that helps new mothers in their journey by covering relatable topics like breastfeeding and sleep-training either in video or blog format. This is a great way to offer value upfront which will build a following of people that want to give back to your nonprofit.

6. Determine Posting Frequency

Consider how often you'd like to share posts on social media. If you can’t post 2-3 times a day on Instagram, don't set that goal. Consistency is key. If you decide that you can produce one YouTube video a week, stick with that goal. When your followers realize that you're consistent, they're more likely to engage and buy into your offer.

7. Create a Content Calendar

Your content calendar should have everything scheduled ahead of time so you simply click “publish” and move on with your day. So many brands are producing content that it's imperative to make sure your brand stands out.

When you're creating your content calendar, think about topics that are currently trending (Buzzsumo is a great tool for this). It's also best to make sure that your content is relatable to your audience. This is the time for brainstorming where you can come up with ideas, titles, captions and more. Spend an hour a week planning your content, start slow and publish more as you build a team.

8. Create a Production Schedule

Once you have the content calendar, you also want to create a content production schedule. Set aside one day of the week to focus solely on creating content to push out in the following days and weeks ahead. By creating content in batches you’re able to avoid the infinite task switching of making daily social posts. This task switching is a pain and starts to feel more like a burden than an important metric for your business. We use Buffer to schedule our posts ahead of time.

If you are creating content that requires a certain amount of high-quality photography, it's a good idea to schedule the production process in the early morning hours so you have the best natural lighting. Otherwise, you can purchase lighting and use tools like light boxes to capture pictures of products to share on your social media posts.

9. Consider The Need For Permission & Disclosure

When you're sharing pictures of people on the internet, you want to get their permission and full disclosure to do so. This especially is true in the case of young children. Parental consent is paramount. You don't want to run the risk of exposing someone or getting in trouble when it’s easy to avoid.

10. Take Note of What's Working

As a rule of thumb, it's essential to take note of the strategies that work well. The best way to do this is through measuring your analytics. There’s many social media tools you can use to track data, learn more about engagement and decide what people tend to gravitate to towards most. The numbers won't lie. Be intentional about measuring the data so that you'll know which content works the best and how to move forward with your content strategies.

11. Pivot and Try New Strategies

Take note of failures and try new tactics. If something isn't working and the numbers are lower than usual, pivot and try a different strategy. This might involve changing the type of content you share, time of day, or the style of graphic. Always work on tweaking strategies to figure out what works the best. Small, incremental improvements can become huge in the future.


It's important to remember that when it pertains to social media best practices for nonprofits, each organization will have a different approach. Understand that there is a learning curve. What worked for one company might not work for another. Be flexible and learn more about the process. It's also a good idea to specifically assign this job to one person or a few people. And if you use the 11 steps from this post, you'll be able to expand your impact and gain more support for your nonprofit.