social media
01 Nov
  • By Camilla Marsh
  • Cause in

5 Ways NPOS Use Social Media to Create Community

Today the soap box has been swapped for a cyber platform as social media proves to be a powerful mouthpiece for NPOs the world over. Each year an increase in NPOs jump on this brand building bandwagon, reaching more and more people with less effort and expenditure.

But many NPOs are new to the social media game, not grasping the full potential of these powerful platforms to maximise marketing efforts, reach a wider audience and create a closer connection with their community.

This post is here to help your NPO get the fullest advantage from social media.

Here’s 5 ways NPOs can use social media to create and connect to communities.


1. Open a two-way conversation 

These days, cold calling, direct mailing and traditional fundraising is not sufficient to truly engage your community. Rather than stand on the soap box, blasting your brand’s message and needs down a one-way street, use social strategies as conversation starters.

Social media comes in as a way to cultivate conversation, build and extend community, and harness the energy and passion of the non-profits mission.” – Fundraising Coach

Use your social channels to narrow down your marketing focus, customise campaigns to your particular audience, find out the needs of your communities, foster opportunities for peer-to-peer communication and stay in closer contact with your supporters and the communities you serve. NPOS can also use crowdsourcing tools to gain valuable feedback on followers’ ideas, opinions, issues they care about, and to source skills and donations from their volunteers and supporters.


2. Maximise micro-influencers

Modern technology has afforded us all the power and opportunity to be change agents. Let’s make the most of this. Anyone with access to a social media account has the potential to spread ideas, raise money, promote causes and reach an audience far beyond their social circle. And this reach needn’t be limited to NPOs ourselves. With the number of millennial micro-influencers on the rise, NPOs have a emerging market right at their fingertips which, once easily tapped into, can expand their reach with very little effort on their part.

“Brands are increasingly leveraging social media influencers to reach their ideal consumers more organically.” – Takumi

Scour your social channels for people who have a sizeable social following (within the 10 000’s) who you believe are an excellent match for your cause, and ask them to become your micro influencers.

Studies show that 92% of people trust their friend’s recommendations and less than 40% trust ads. Approach your volunteers and the passionate amateurs who surround your brand, invite them to events, ask them to take photos, to post tweets or Facebook shoutouts and to spread stories of their own volunteering experiences. Maximise micro-influencers to lend a more human face and authentic voice to your purpose.


3. Tell your story

With an inundation of advertising coming at us from all angles, people are subconsciously seeking a more human connection when it comes to receiving brand messages. Rather than paying for radio spots or brochure space, social media is the ideal (and cheap!) outlet for spreading the story of your NPO and the communities you serve.

Many NPOs have the misconception that social media is only to be used as a money generating tool. Rather than asking for handouts, use your platforms to weave your personal narrative, be entertaining, be real, authentic and honest, appeal to the hearts of your followers, and the donations will come. Humanizing your purpose through visual storytelling such as short video clips and infographics is particularly powerful in conveying your NPO’s story.


4. Broaden Your Reach

Social media is what it says it is – it’s social, and this is where the secret to success lies. Through your online efforts, you can empower your supporters and the people who surround your cause, to grow your reach with you. Followers can create groups about issues they care about, invite friends to NPO events and share their own stories and ideas, all with very little effort on your part.

The key is to be consistent. Appoint a social media manager to send out regular posts, make the most of social apps with a conscience, encourage your volunteers to amplify your message, connect with partner NPOs from across the world, and engage in online communities through commenting on and sharing others’ content. Through social media you can quickly and affordably grow and scale your marketing and fundraising efforts online.


5. Become a Thought Leader

The last important point is not to fall into the trap of counting comments and likes as metrics of social engagement success and sending out posts just for the sake of sending out posts. When used correctly and authentically, social media can establish your NPO as a thought leader in your particular field, cutting out the expense and inconvenience of organizing gala events and presentations.

Use your channels to share blog posts, research findings, and content that informs as well as educates your followers. Guest post on others’ blogs and ask fellow change makers to guest post on yours. Engage in relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups, start meaningful conversations and comment with interesting, informative and insightful responses.

Now that you understand the incredible potential social media has to empower the change maker in us all, and to foster and support a closer connection between your NPO and your community, take the first step to success by creating an effective social media strategy.


And don’t hesitate to contact us at Brownie Points with any queries or concerns you might have. We can expertly guide you to getting the most out of social media for your NPO.

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Camilla Marsh
Camilla is a curator of good cause content, nomadic writer and connoisseur of life, on a journey to help others live the best life they can. She specialises in self-development and all things happiness.

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