How charities can win at social media

August 26, 2022
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Since its invention, social media has radically altered the fundraising landscape, allowing charities to empower their supporters to tap into their own networks for massively scaled-up, people-powered philanthropy.

No wonder then that, according to the 2018 Global NGO Technology Report, 71% of NGOs agree that social media is effective for online fundraising.

With 21 years in the game, GivenGain has seen the birth and maturation of social media in all its guises, so it’s our pleasure to share a few tips and tricks with you to make a splash with your social media marketing!

Follow your demographic

First things first – you’ll want to determine which social media platform(s) to promote your campaign on. To do that, first mine your audience to build a typical supporter persona or research typical supporters of your type of charity, and then do some more Googling to figure out where people like that spend most of their time ‘socially’.

If you had limitless resources, you could just skip this step and create accounts on every platform under the sun! But focusing your best efforts on one or two platforms is a more viable option for most organisations, to say nothing of charities.

According to generational consultant Bridgeworks, people born in 1964 and earlier are more likely to support veterans and their local places of worship. Facebook and YouTube are the most popular social media platforms among older people, according to surveying firm Statista, so those types of charities might want to consider prioritising these social networks.

Meanwhile, more than half of global Instagram users are under the age of 35, so human rights and health charities may have more luck on Instagram, as they are areas of interest for Millennials according to the same Bridgeworks article.

Hash out your hashtags

You don’t have to be a social media guru to use what is in reality a pretty basic feature of social media – hashtags.

The optimal number of hashtags to cast the widest net depends on the platform. According to Hootsuite, Facebook and LinkedIn suggest 3-5 while Twitter recommends no more than two on a post.

The jury’s still out on the best strategy for Instagram. Some social media specialists say 3-5, and others even suggest the maximum limit of 30. However many you choose to apply, specialists and GivenGain agree that you should keep them relevant.

It’s true that if a hashtag has a lot of followers, it means more people will see your content, but you risk your post getting lost in a sea of creators who had the same idea. Using a combination of trending, popular and niche hashtags is the most effective method of reaching different audiences.

You can also create your own fun hashtag for your campaign. This is simple – keep it short, consistent with your brand and try to make it actionable. Then you’re good to go!

What to post

The most common posts to drive donations and engagement include updates on the campaign’s progress, reposted participant content and public shout-outs.

Followers will be more inclined to share your content if you feature theirs, which means you then have access to their followers, increasing the number of eyes on your campaign.

Thank-you posts are extremely important! People like it when their efforts are acknowledged, and donors who feel appreciated are more likely to donate again. There’s also the possibility that potential supporters will be inspired to donate after seeing the attention they could receive on your profile.

For a more personal experience, GivenGain enables you to create a thank-you message as part of the automated donation notification e-mail to a donor.

When to post

You can create the prettiest graphics for your campaign, but no-one will know it exists if you don’t post regularly on social media! Too few or infrequent posts about your campaign will cause potential supporters to think it’s abandoned.

Avoid this by creating a simple content calendar. It’s not necessary to post every single day, just be consistent. Consistent posting builds brand awareness and reputation.

If you need a place to start, try themed content like “Motivational Mondays” or “Thank You Thursdays”.

Spread the word

Now that you’ve got the fundamentals of social media marketing for fundraising down, the last step is to go out and start posting! With their permission, tag your supporters, volunteers and charity employees to get them involved in sharing your content. Your audience is out there, you just need to find and engage them. That won’t take long with these easy and efficient tips.

If you need any help setting up your fundraising campaign or putting together a social media marketing plan, we’ve got you covered. Contact us at with any fundraising queries or e-mail to get all your tech support questions answered.