Nonprofit Social Media Marketing: 17 Ways to Boost Donations

Raising funding for nonprofit organizations is essential to their operation and ability to carry out their mission and goals. Boosting donations is a consistent action item for employees in the organization, and this is often difficult for them to accomplish. Advances in technology and the emergence of social media has drastically transforming nonprofit marketing efforts.

How do you boost donations through nonprofit social media marketing? Through the use of social media platforms, you can work your way through the non-profit marketing funnel that takes a person from aware of the organization to a reoccurring donor. These tactics include:

  1. Using multiple social media platforms
  2. Maintaining clear and consistent messaging
  3. Creative Posting and Commenting to Grow Social Pages
  4. Advertise Your Social Pages on Website and Newsletters
  5. Influencer Marketing
  6. Provide Easy Links to Website
  7. Evoke Emotion Through Storytelling
  8. Convey How Small Gifts Make an Impact
  9. Include Meaningful or Trendy Promotional Items with Donation
  10. Thank Your Donors
  11. Showing Outcomes of Donations
  12. Ask Users to Share Their Stories
  13. Incentivize Sharing
  14. Use Social Media Calendar Events
  15. Try Contests
  16. Ask For Feedback
  17. Send Communication from the Top

I have mapped out the best tactics for boosting donations for nonprofits, specifically with social media marketing. In the age where everyone is connected to one another through social media, nonprofits taking advantage of that screen time and increasing their exposure can have great financial benefits for the organization.

Build Awareness For Your Cause

People need to understand the cause and mission that your nonprofit strives to accomplish in order to contribute financially. Using social media can be an effective way to get in front of more eyeballs and drive donations. Donations are the end goal, but this first step of the funnel is solely focused on getting your name and mission out there to more people.

I’ve pulled together some of the tactics you should use with social media and strategy in order to build awareness for the cause and goals of your nonprofit organization.

1. Use Multiple Social Media Platforms

The use of many social media sites will help you target demographics you hope to reach. Certain sites appeal to different age groups, genders, interests, and many specific skews. Nonprofit donations are most successful when they are targeted toward people that care about specific causes. Different groups may care about your organization more than others. 

Spending more time and energy on platforms that cater to your desired demographic will help to focus your marketing efforts more strategically and allow you to put resources into more successful awareness avenues. You will need to do an analysis of who you want to generate donations from.

Some of the best social media sites for nonprofit marketing efforts include:

  • Facebook: This platform appeals to users of all ages but skews slightly older. I like Facebook because it allows for direct donations through the platform’s software itself. Messenger is a helpful companion app to connect with users on a more personalized level.
  • YouTube: This is an excellent way to give an overview and tell a story about your organization. You can raise awareness with this visual platform to show potential donors what you do and give them more information, which will hopefully lead to a call to action.
  • Twitter: With easy links to take users to your organization’s website directly, Twitter can be a really useful platform to use for ease and convenience. Nonprofits benefit from the “Retweet” feature: allowing people to share your post easily to gain more exposure. This platform reaches younger adult audiences in larger numbers.
  • Instagram: This is one of the most popular applications because it allows you to be a storyteller. Telling the story of your organization is key in garnering support. This application is one of the most effective ways to gain awareness.
  • TikTok: The short mobile video site lets you put together 60-second videos to convey your message in a fun and engaging way for a younger demographic.
  • Snapchat: Catered more toward younger demographics, this is also an app that can be used for storytelling. It exposes people to the organization by associating it with a more lighthearted and fun app!
  • LinkedIn: Use this platform to engage business people across a variety of sectors. This can help create partnerships with other businesses or organizations that may be difficult on other platforms. Corporate sponsorships can be major sources of financial support, especially when value align.
  • WhatsApp: I would save this for later in the funnel beyond awareness as it creates a direct line of communication with donors. Use this to garner support once people know what the organization is about.
  • Pinterest: This is a platform for accumulating ideas and curating desired lifestyles. This can be a bit more difficult to translate into donations. You should use Pinterest to raise awareness if your organization offers experiences, raises money by selling merchandise, or emits an idea that makes people want to participate.

Keep it simple and start small. Lots of attention paid to a couple of social media platforms are more effective than a mediocre effort on all platforms. You can expand if you have the staff and resources to do so.

2. Clear and Consistent Messaging

Clarity is of the utmost importance in gaining support for your nonprofit. This consistent and clear message will allow people to gain a better understanding of what your organization does. When people are putting their dollars to something, they typically want to know where it is going and that it is being used for the intended purpose.

You can create a clear and consistent message by:

  • Making sure that all involved in social media efforts are working together
  • Ensure each post is aligned with the mission statement and goals of the organization
  • Match the message you convey to the desired demographic or audience
  • Using infographics, explainer videos, and blog content to inform audiences

Maintaining a consistent message applies to everything you do related to social media. If your brand is consistent, it is an organization that potential donors are more likely to trust and have deeper knowledge about what it does and how that helps others. You must also keep in mind that strategy will need to change slightly between platforms for different audiences.

3. Creative Posting and Commenting to Grow Social Pages

Taking advantage of social media means that you should not only be posting your content but actively strategizing and engaging with users on social media in order to increase your exposure and organization awareness. You can do this in a variety of ways, all with the goal of building follower bases and converting these into donors.

Try these strategies for getting the most out of social media to build awareness for your cause:

  • Respond to Fans: Engaging with your fans by commenting on posts and replying to comments can build the relationship between your cause and social media users.
  • Follow Similar Accounts: Following other organizations that support your cause or align in values is a good way to create social media allies and be found more easily by users through their accounts.
  • Post Often: With lots of other content on these sites to distract users, you will want to post often so that they can see your page’s cause. This should be meaningful and well-thought-out content so that users will want to keep following you.
  • Use Polls: With different features on social media that allow users to vote or actively engage with your account, this works to increase your awareness and evokes the feeling that your users’ opinions matter.
  • Paid Social: To increase the eyeballs looking at your content across different demographics, you can pay to boost this visibility.
  • Humor: Being approachable and humorous in your posts and comments can drive popularity for your organization. Make sure the humor is still relatable to your cause for clarity.
  • Tagging: You can use hashtags in your posts for specific events, causes, or messaging, which can encourage others to use it when they post. Users can also tag their posts for the chance to be featured on your page!

The ways you can engage with users on social media will have a large impact on their following and engagement habits on social media.  

4. Advertise Your Social Pages on Website and Newsletters

Not only can you build your social media following from the apps themselves, but you can also attract followers from your other communication avenues. Keep links to your social media pages on your website so that visitors can easily check out your social pages. You can also include these links on newsletters and emails that you send out to past and future donors.

You can advertise one social page on another in case the users want to keep up with what you are doing throughout multiple channels. This is also a great opportunity to grow your email subscribers by providing links to where they can sign up!

5. Influencer Marketing

Along with partnerships created between established organizations, getting celebrities or those with large social media followings to promote your organization can be a successful strategy to increase awareness and build your followers. You may have to allocate some marketing dollars for this, but oftentimes they will do it for a reduced cost or free for a nonprofit organization.

These people usually cater to a specific audience or niche, so you will need to find one that aligns with your values and organization mission. Followers are likely to act if the influencer notes that this organization is important or matters to them. Influencers with 1k to 500k usually have the most engaged followers, and this can best convert into action for your cause.

Use influencer marketing to:

  • Bring attention to your overall cause
  • Promote a specific event or donation effort
  • Build your follower base on social media

Engage Prospects to Act

Those who feel more connected to your organization are more likely to donate. After raising awareness by being a present force on their timelines, you will want to work towards the next step in the non-profit marketing funnel: action. Your message should convert users from viewing your posts to visiting your website and donating.

6. Provide Easy Links to Website

Make sure your social media sites link back to your website so that your messaging can translate into action. This link should be in your bios when people first visit your social media page and also attached to specific posts. After telling a story about your organization, encourage people to donate with a link at the end of the post.

Try to include links to relevant articles on your website in these posts as well. Asking someone to donate in every post can be a little off-putting to some audiences, so getting them to your website in other ways can accomplish the same end result in a more welcoming way.

Using hyperlinks over relevant words in the post also keeps the content cleaner looking rather than an entire web address in the post. This call to action will boost the engagement of the users.

7. Evoke Emotion Through Storytelling

Social media is a great place to tell the stories of individuals, groups, and communities that your organization benefits. Appealing to potential donors’ emotions is a great way to encourage people to act and therefore donate. Giving to a nonprofit organization is done for a variety of reasons, and many of them are personal.

Here are some reasons that people choose to donate:

  • A personal connection to the cause or know someone at the organization
  • Inspired by personal narratives
  • Want to make a difference in the world
  • Engage in their local community
  • Act of leadership

If you can inspire people to act through thought-provoking posts or inspiring stories, your engagement will increase, and users will feel a greater inclination to act.

Give A Small First Time Gift

Giving a small first-time gift can play out from both the perspective of the organization and the donor. Starting small can lead to a greater impact on future donations and engagement.

8. Convey How Small Gifts Make an Impact

You can encourage donors to make a small first-time gift and show them how that small monetary value can actually have an impact on the organization and the community it benefits. This may not apply to all organizations, but showing them where their $5 goes will make the donation more meaningful.

Great examples of this include food banks, where a couple of dollars can feed a family for a week, or how this same money can be used to give a book to a child for literacy campaigns. A greater population of people are likely to donate if they know their money is having an impact and that this dollar value is manageable for their budget.

Telling narratives of individual recipients on your social media can build your brand legitimacy and connect directly with audiences. 

9. Include Meaningful or Trendy Promotional Items with Donation

Prospective donors may be more likely to give to your cause if they get something out of it beyond feelings of altruism. This item can be something small such as a t-shirt, bracelets or lanyards, or baked goods, for example. These should be of very little cost to you as the donation should far exceed the price of the item you sell.

Items that align with your mission or make sense to the organization can be most effective. Something like a dog tag or stuffed animal would tie to the message of a dog shelter or an organization that works with animals. This is also a great way to further promote your organization, especially if you include your logo or information on the item.

You can promote this item on your social media accounts to encourage donations. Make sure you include a slip of paper or some messaging when the gift is delivered for them to follow you on the social media platforms you use.

Nurture Prospects and Donors

You should be actively working to make your prospective donors, and current donors feel valued. They are the reason your organization can keep providing benefits to your community. There are multiple tactics in which you can do this!

10.  Thank Your Donors

One of the easiest ways to show donors you care about them is to thank them. This can be done through broader social media posts, but also more personally through direct and personal messages. Compiling data on personal accounts who have donated to your cause and then sending them a note about your appreciation can go a long way.

11.  Showing Outcomes of Donations

If you were successful in getting a lot of donations for a specific event or drive, you should share the outcomes and the impact of those dollars. Donors will want to see where their money went and that it had a positive impact on the community. Prospective donors will also gain trust in your organization and be more likely to donate if they know it will be worth the investment.

Social media can also be a great way to catalog the organization’s growth over time. You should share old posts and comment on how far you have come! Donors will feel as if they contributed to something that continues to grow and help more and more people!

Encourage Activism Through Sharing

Donations can also be increased for your organization by users beyond their individual financial contributions. If you have been able to build enough awareness and trust among prospects and donors, you may have a loyal following that is also passionate enough to promote your cause. Social media is a great way for other users to spread the word and encourage others to donate.

12.  Ask Users to Share Their Stories

Beyond the people you help in your communities, you may also be directly impacting some of your followers on social media. Encouraging them to share their stories is a great way for them to remain engaged and create an even more personal touch to your social media content. Sharing their story on your page will encourage them to share it with their follower base.

This act of sharing will help to widen your base and make content more personal. In doing so, you can make greater connections with your social media followers and accumulate more content for posting. Using a hashtag here can also be an easy strategy to accumulate stories.

13.  Incentivize Sharing

If you are really looking to expand your reach and get a donation link or story to more people, you can incentivize people to share your post. This can be done by offering free promotional items to the first 50 people who share it or featuring them on your social media pages. This is an inexpensive and effective way to spread the reach of your posts.

You can also set up personalized pages that allow people to share your donation link, and they get to act as an individual team to accumulate donations. All of these will go to your organization, but the user feels as if they are contributing more to the cause than just an individual contribution. You can provide incentives for hitting different donation benchmarks.

Promote Events

Events can be a great way to boost donations because they provide face to face contact with people at the organization and offer many different opportunities to help. Social media can be used to help promote and enhance these events!

14.  Use Social Media Calendar Events

You can invite users to RSVP to your event through social media and gain interest in the cause. You can communicate directly to the guests and update them on information related to the event. This gives you a better idea of what to expect from the event numbers-wise and helps you to engage your followers.

Users can also easily share the events to their pages so you can increase the exposure of the event as well as allow users to be more involved in the process.

15.  Try Contests

For invite-only events, offer free tickets to random social media followers! This can be a great way to keep people engaged on your social media pages and encourage them to stay active on your accounts. Once they win the contest, they may feel more inclined to donate at the event and spread positive information about your organization and the events you put on.

Contests are a great way to boost the exposure for an event, but they can also be related to giveaways, referral contests (getting others to follow a page or perform some action), photo contests related to your organization, essay or video contests, and more. Many of these contests are great ways to get more content for your organization to use on social media.

Ascend Donor Base to Become Reoccurring Donors

Once you have used the tactics mentioned throughout the article to acquire new donors and boost your fundraising efforts, you will want to make these reoccurring donors. Most of the practices already listed will have a strong impact on retention, but here are a couple more! There are a couple of helpful strategies to keep donors engaged and wanting to donate again.

16.  Ask For Feedback

Social media is a great way to reach out to donors and ask them for feedback. They are more likely to be invested in the organization if their opinions and ideas are valued. It also helps to make your fundraising efforts more effective.

Try asking them questions like:

  • Are we asking for too much or too little money?
  • What are your opinions on our monetary ask strategy?
  • Do you feel we value our donors as part of the community?
  • What other feedback do you have?

17.  Send Communication from the Top

You should have multiple people from the organization reach out to donors through your social media as well as the more private messaging platforms, including Messenger and WhatsApp. Some of these messages can even come from people in more prominent positions at the organization. Knowing that their donations matter from those who run the show matters.

These communications become more personal when multiple people are switching off and making the effort to connect with those who make the organization’s success possible!


Social media is an incredibly helpful tool that can dramatically enhance the success of collecting donations from users. The use of social media connects to prospective donors in a new way that reaches a wider set of eyes and screens to translate into donation dollars if you can inspire users to act.

Consistent messaging and making all communication align with your cause and its goals and mission is the most important aspect of running your nonprofit social media marketing. You should apply this principle to all of the tactics you use to boost donations and raise overall awareness and loyalty through your social media platforms.

Dan Sanchez, MBA

Dan Sanchez is a marketing director, co-host of the B2B Growth show, and blogger. He holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and BS in Marketing Management from Western Governors University. Learn more about Dan »

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