Group of happy volunteers high-fiving each other.
Research shows that people react well to seeing other people online, so make sure to include your volunteers and community members in your nonprofit's social media content. — Getty Images/SDI Productions

Standing out on social media can be tough, especially for nonprofit organizations that have limited resources. Nevertheless, these platforms offer space to bring your nonprofit’s mission to life through videos, images, live streams, and contests. Many social media channels—including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube—offer special features for eligible nonprofits. Here’s how to best make use of those features and engage your social media followers on a budget.

Focus on Facebook

Recent data shows that 48% of social media donors give via Facebook. That’s twice as many people as on Instagram (24%), while other platforms garner less than 10% each.

Facebook offers a set of fundraising tools baked into its platform for users to support any nonprofit of their choosing. Fundraise on Facebook is Meta’s guide that highlights all the various ways to collect donations and empower supporters to fundraise for your nonprofit. Users can create and customize their own fundraising pages, solicit donations that transfer directly into your account, and tune into an event on Facebook Live. Plus, Facebook has ways to directly thank your donors for their support.

[Read more: 5 New Social Media Tactics to Try in 2023]

Take advantage of free benefits

Facebook isn’t the only platform offering special features for nonprofits. Instagram has Charitable Giving Tools and will also allow you to add a donate button to your page; YouTube offers a Nonprofits Program (linked to Google Grants); TikTok For Good has directly contributed $7 million in donations to nonprofits using the app; and Pinterest offers courses in how to boost your presence on the platform. Take advantage of the resources available to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck from each social media channel.

Feature people in your content

Want your posts to get more attention? Show people in your content to get users to stop scrolling. Research from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs found that photos that contain faces are 38% more likely to receive likes. Try to feature volunteers, constituents, and members of your organization to bring your nonprofit’s mission to life.

[Read more: 6 Elements of a Great Social Media Post]

Posting for the sake of posting simply won’t get you the results you’re after.


Use more video

Marketing experts have been saying for a few years that video is outperforming all other forms of content. This is still true. Instagram videos generate more engagement than any other content type; tweets with video also get more attention than other posts.

Partially, this engagement is because users find video content more interesting. But it’s also worth noting that social media platforms have been rewarding posts with videos. Algorithms will make posts with video more visible than other content. This means that if you don’t use video, users may not see any of your account’s content at all.

Make it shareable

Awareness can be just as valuable as donations, especially at a nonprofit. To bring attention to your cause, get a designer or use a design tool to make your posts shareable.

“Imagine your post as a protest sign. What would you want to carry down the streets and wave over your head?” wrote Hootsuite.

If you use a carousel, design each image in the post to stand on its own merit—without needing context from the other slides. That means users can share the image that resonates with them the most. Include stats, infographics, and images, as well as your nonprofit logo. Tools like Canva and Adobe Express can help you create professional-looking graphics.

Respond to your community

Social media shouldn’t be a set-it-and-forget-it element of your marketing outreach. Instead, think of your channels as spaces for conversation. Respond to comments, ask for suggestions, and share user-generated content to start building an online community.

“Posting for the sake of posting simply won’t get you the results you’re after. The goal is to capture the attention of your audience and motivate them to listen, relate, respond and, hopefully, share,” wrote Canva.

Small teams can use automated posting to take care of some of the more manual aspects of managing a social media channel. This frees up time to respond to comments in person, post live videos, and otherwise add a more authentic, human aspect to your profiles.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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