29 free social media tricks for nonprofits

These tactics and content ideas can help you reach your audience and boost engagement—without costing you a lot of cash.

There is great room for growth for nonprofit brand managers on social media—and many ways to go about it. There’s certainly validation that social media is a great investment for nonprofits.

Consider these ideas for ways to increase online engagement without breaking your budget:

1. Highlight a donor of the day or donor of the week.

These simple bits of appreciation can be powerful for building connections with your communities, and they can often make for attention-grabbing visual content. (Bonus: The people you highlight will share with their friends.)

2. Interact with relevant pages and profiles.

In addition to building community by highlighting your donors, you can also connect with those nonprofits and companies that support your mission. Stay involved with their updates and shares by “liking,” retweeting, sharing and commenting. It’s great for community-building and helps boost your visibility.

3. Tweet to landing pages with specific requests.

If you have payments enabled on your website, send social media traffic back to your site and to specific landing pages. Create five, 10, 20, or more landing pages, each with a specific ask; then compose a social media message to accompany each page.

4. Create behind-the-scenes content.

Nonprofits by nature are a bit more open than traditional business. Take advantage by sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses: backstage at events, inside planning sessions, around the office, etc.

5. Create and share a simple crowdfunding campaign.

As an alternative to events or dinners, you can create a simple crowdfunding page (Crowdrise is a great spot) and share this with your social media followers, asking for a quick, easy donation.

6. Encourage peer-to-peer requests.

Tools like Classy make it possible for your supporters to set up their own fundraising pages. They can share these pages with their own followers, encouraging strong one-to-one support.

7. Post a thank-you message on a sponsor’s page.

Thanking those who help make your work possible—from donors to employees to sponsors—is a great way to fill the appreciation element of your strategy. Sponsors’ pages can be great places to engage, as they probably have a strong following as well. Share a thank-you on their page, and add one to your page, too.

8. Include an image in your tweets.

From Noland Hoshino:

Twitter is like looking out the window of a fast moving train. If you insert a “billboard” (photo or graphic image) tweet, people will notice it.

(We’ve seen up to double the engagement with this strategy.)

9. Ask questions in your social media posts.

These encourage conversation with your community and prompt more interactions and responses.

10. Share your content more than once.

Here are some simple ideas from Lauren Girardin:

Share just the headline, write a tweet in an alternate engaging format (e.g. ask a question, quote a juicy bit), add an image, try a new hashtag, share at a different time of day or on the weekend, or add ICYMI (in case you missed it).

11. Track your social media mentions.

Here are some great tools for social media monitoring. Mention is a favorite of ours.

12. Organize accounts into Twitter lists.

You can build Twitter lists for just about anything: VIP supporters, sponsors, press, influencers, partners, fellow nonprofits, etc. If you choose, any Twitter list can be made private.

13. Use Twitter lists for research.

Look through the lists of your followers to find relevant people and accounts to follow.

14. Monitor and analyze those who follow you.

Keep an eye on the new accounts following you. They might have great influence in an important area to you or have many followers you can engage. Social Rank is a simple yet powerful tool for sorting Twitter followers.

15. Enlist a group of supporters to engage with your content.

If you’re just getting started on social media, you might not be able to get great engagement. To avoid the empty look and feel of a new account, encourage a small and active group of supporters to engage with your content.

16. Find and engage with influencers in your area.