Marketing a nonprofit is all about telling a story and engaging the senses of your audience.
The content you produce, regardless of the channel, needs to connect with the beliefs and experiences of a specific type of person so that it compels them to like, follow, donate, or talk about your nonprofit.
When it comes to Instagram, over 70% of nonprofits are using this social platform to engage with potential donors. That usage rate has almost doubled since 2019 – so something must be working!
But how do you represent your nonprofit on Instagram in a positive light? How do you make the most of this platform?
I researched some of the most successful nonprofits on Instagram, and here’s what I found.
1. Develop community connection
Effective Instagram marketing is all about creating a connection with a community of like-minded individuals. For nonprofits, this is even more prominent, given the passion associated with most nonprofit causes.
One tactic that works a treat is partnering with other brands in your community that share similar values. For example, The Humane Society of the US partnered with Rover to give its community $30 off their first booking.
Partnerships like this are a win-win-win! Your community gets a sweet deal, the partner brand aligns itself with a good cause, and you increase the recognition of your nonprofit.
Naturally, you must be careful when choosing a brand to partner with. Rover and The Humane Society share a similar audience – but it’s not just about the audience. You need to ensure that you also share values and beliefs with anyone you partner with, or it could diminish the credibility of your brand.
2. Build awareness and interest in your cause
Instagram is an excellent place to build awareness for your cause. It’s not all about garnering donations. Sure, that’s the end goal. But to persuade people to invest their hard-earned money in your cause, you need to take them on an emotional journey and provide education about the core problem you’re trying to solve.
For example, Truth Initiative is an educational nonprofit in the smoking, vaping, and nicotine sector. Below is just one example of an Instagram post that educates people about the choices they make when it comes to this topic.
How can you better educate your audience on the core issue your nonprofit is looking to tackle? Use visuals on Instagram to rally your audience and spread the word.
3. Grow your list of donors and volunteers
Connecting with your community and educating a wider audience about your cause are two smart ways to use Instagram. But, of course, you can also create Instagram content that aims to raise funds and grow your donor list or attract volunteers.
Save the Children is fighting worldwide issues of famine, neglect, and more regarding children with underprivileged upbringings. They create incredible videos that show off their volunteers, like the one below.
Video content gets tons of engagement on Instagram and can be a good way to grow your reach. It also reveals far more than a static image ever could about your nonprofit and the people who volunteer for it.
4. Keep supporters engaged
Yes, you can use Instagram to find new volunteers and donors, but it’s also the perfect platform for keeping your current supporters engaged and increasing the chance they will stay involved in your efforts.
What better way to delight your current supporters than by running a social media giveaway!
That’s precisely what Make-A-Wish did with the chance to win a 5-night Bahamian cruise.
Instagram giveaways not only reward your supporters, but they have a tendency to go viral, expanding your reach on the social network and increasing the overall impact of your nonprofit.
5. Show the difference you and your supporters are making
My final tip for nonprofit Instagram marketing is to celebrate your wins. Show everyone just how much of a difference you are making in the community and addressing the issues related to your cause.
By highlighting the good you are doing, you will, by default, attract new donors and volunteers. It will also give your current supporters something to talk about and share with their audience.
For example, Movember shared a carousel post you can see below, breaking down all their community’s key milestones. Notice the language they use – “See what we’ve achieved together.” It’s not about you; it’s about the people who support your cause.
You may like to compile a regular “stats” update that highlights just how much of an impact your nonprofit is having. These posts get a ton of engagement and give credit to all the amazing people you’re working with.
As you can see, Instagram is well-suited to marketing a nonprofit. Its visual nature enables you to tell a story and connect with a community that cares deeply about your cause.
But don’t make your nonprofit Instagram marketing all about fundraising. Work with morally-aligned partners, educate potential donors about your cause, show off the great work you’re doing on the ground, and reward those that are generous enough to support your initiatives.