How to Use Storytelling in Your Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Campaign

by Emily Retherford

3 min read

With so many nonprofits and charities vying for attention, it’s essential to set your nonprofit organization apart from the crowds. To do this, start by connecting potential donors, volunteers, and other supporters to your work through emotionally compelling stories about what your nonprofit does.

Understand Your Audience

It’s impossible to craft a nonprofit story that speaks to your online audience without first understanding that audience. The best way to do this is to look at your data. If you track donors using customer relations management software, then start there. Data mine for information on the average age, gender, location, and any other pertinent demographics of your donors. Then, compare those figures to data analytics from Google, Facebook, and other social media sites. Once you gather the data, research current marketing trends for your target audience. For example, millennials may be more likely to respond to fundraising campaign outreach on Snapchat, while baby boomers and Gen X donors turn to Facebook. The more you know about your audience, the better you can adapt your material and strategy.

Use Emotion

Whether you’re sharing stories through email, in person, or in a social media marketing campaign, emotion is what causes your audience to act. However, social media is often the home of fast content. Visitors go there to scroll or connect peripherally with brands and causes they care about, but they don’t necessarily go in-depth on a subject. Your job is to take this subtle attachment and form a strong, long-lasting bond. Show your social media followers how necessary your nonprofit is by sharing stories that highlight a central problem and your nonprofit’s role in the solution. Remember, a story can take a number of forms, including video, images, and even traditional written stories. Use one or more of these media to create high-quality shareable content. Here are some of the ways you can use nonprofit storytelling in your social media marketing campaign:

  • Document your work in the field in short video clips.
  • Share powerful images of the people or places you serve.
  • Feature interviews with supporters who are passionate about your cause.
  • Post stories written by clients in their own words about their experience with your organization.

Again, it’s important to focus on the types of content that garner the best response from your donors. Tracking social media post engagement can help you get a clearer picture of what’s working and what isn’t.

End With a Call to Action

Now that your social media audience is better connected with your organization through a good story catered specifically to them, it’s time to convert that feeling into action. A call to action closes every great nonprofit story. This short command transforms a social media audience from passive observers to active participants by telling them exactly what your nonprofit wants them to do with the information they just received. Most social media marketing campaigns end in a call to action that asks the audience to one or more of the following:

  • Donate
  • Volunteer
  • Raise funds
  • Share the content
  • Like, tweet, retweet, pin, etc.

An example of a nonprofit call to action might be “Donate now to help a family in need.”

Nonprofit Storytelling: A Catalyst for Engagement

The ultimate goal of a social media marketing campaigns is to move your social media audience along the donor engagement cycle from inspired to engaged. As you share customized stories that speak to their hearts, those social media followers are more likely to become active donors, eager volunteers, and loyal supporters in the years and fundraising campaigns to come.

References & Resources

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