Digital Social Marketing Strategies for Nonprofits

Digital Social Marketing Strategies for Nonprofits

By Justine Simonin on 03/12/2020

Written by Esther Crowder, an online writer, blogger, and editor at sample essay topics




The nonprofit sector, also known as the third sector, has experienced spectacular growth in recent decades. Global awareness and concern for social issues, such as gender violence, social inequalities, racism, or climate change, have emerged among the population and have translated into increased activity and nonprofit organizations’ visibility. Given this situation, NGOs and social entities have greater attention and capacity to mobilize the community. Digital marketing and social marketing have become fundamental tools in NGOs’ marketing plans.


In all organizations, there are finance, human resources, or marketing departments. And as contradictory as it may seem that a nonprofit entity has a marketing department and uses strategies with an economic objective, it is necessary for its operation and survival. Marketing helps generate visibility, attract, retain, and build loyalty among supporters.


This post will focus on social marketing. Specifically, you will see what kind of actions you can implement to impact and interact with your audience through social marketing. We will also give you some ideas on interactive social marketing campaigns, which you can execute for your nonprofit.



What is social marketing?


Social marketing uses the same techniques as commercial marketing: program planning, execution, and evaluation. It aims to generate interest and a voluntary and positive change in the target audience’s behavior to improve social welfare. It goes from having a lucrative objective to establishing satisfactory relations between an entity and the public.


The use of these techniques will help spread ideas and projects that benefit society, with the primary objective of transforming habits, behaviors, and thoughts.


In addition to seeing online social marketing actions in the third sector, it is increasingly common for nonprofits to plan this type of campaign within their online strategies. A recent example is a campaign launched by Clinique on the International Day Against Breast Cancer occasion. The brand plays with an essential cosmetic product, a make-up remover, and proposes its customers and audience to join a solidarity challenge. Online social marketing strategies can include:


1. Encourages User Generated Content


Get the most out of Instagram and spread the word. It allows any organization to interact with a specific target audience in almost real-time through videos and photos. The nonprofit organizations will show their followers its social campaigns and share information about a particular problem.

Instagram can bring your work closer to your partners or to people who do not know you (yet). Make users the best ambassadors for your projects and involve them in your campaigns. Invite them to upload a photo with the hashtag of your nonprofit.


2. Launch competitions on social networks

One of the best tools to generate notoriety and attract users is to organize a photo contest with a dedicated. Participants must upload an image and identify it with the hashtag you predefined. Using tags will help make the movement visible and viral.

Photo contests are a great way to bring out your audience’s most creative side. Encourage participation with a prize related to the campaign itself or with your line of work.

Some good examples of using a contest as a social marketing activity are those launched by Greenpeace and Action Against Hunger.

Greenpeace launched a photo contest on Instagram in which participants had to show the beauty and threats of the oceans. The images would be shown at the UN, in the framework of the Global Oceans Treaty. Besides, the ten best ones would get a campaign T-shirt.

As part of the dissemination campaign of the short film (and awareness project) of the Fesser brothers, The Invisible Monster, the NGO Action Against Hunger launched a contest in which the user-generated content had all the prominence. Participants had to design their kite and publish a photo on Instagram, along with the dedicated hashtag.


3. Commemorates World and International Days


The calendar is full of highlights that you can celebrate and commemorate on your social networks, leading to simple actions, such as contests, quizzes, and polls. These kinds of activities can help promote your campaigns and projects: International Girls’ Day, International Children’s Rights Day, World Ocean Day. Find the dates that best fit your tasks and commitments.


4. Monitor your social networks


Analyze the social conversation generated on social media around the terms related to your organization’s nonprofit activities. It will give you an idea of what opinions are being voiced within your niche, the topics that interest your partners the most, or your reputation. This is called social listening. 

It is also essential to monitor the actions you implement on social media. To do this, you should not forget to watch closely the hashtags of your own campaigns and your niche at large. You will gain valuable insights from the volume of publications, the engagement generated, or who the potential contributors are.



Interactive social marketing campaigns


Although social marketing’s main objective is not commercial, specific actions can contribute to disseminating specific ideas and changing behaviors. They will also help you capture leads from supporters, potential donors, and volunteers.

Interactive marketing campaigns can play an essential role in establishing relationships and interacting with your audience and supporters.

  • Opinion surveys: through a survey or questionnaire, you can get to know your supporters better. You will understand what they like and what they dislike the least, and you will adjust your content and strategies.
  • Trivia and quizzes: take advantage of the pull of personality and knowledge tests to raise awareness about a particular problem related to your work. For example, ‘How much do you know about climate change’ or ‘Truths or myths about climate change.’


Marketing with a cause: the NGO-brand alliance


It is increasingly common for brands to integrate awareness campaigns into their digital marketing actions and to partner with NGOs to promote certain messages and value. In this way, they seek to generate notoriety, align the brand’s values with those of its potential customers, and impact and build loyalty among users or clients who share the same values and social concerns.

This kind of alliance benefits NGOs by exposing their cause to a wider audience, which may turn into new supporters and donors, among other collaborations being established between the NGO and the brand. Such partnerships with corporations and businesses are great opportunities for NGOs of any kind, that are worth exploring.




Head to our blog for more stories, tips, and volunteering inspiration! You can also check out our GivingWay – Volunteers, Donors & NGOs connect Facebook group to connect with other volunteers and nonprofits! 😁



The views expressed in this guest post are solely those of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of GivingWay. The material and information contained on the GivingWay blog is for general information purposes only. GivingWay will not be liable for any false, inaccurate, inappropriate or incomplete information presented in the GivingWay blog.