The 8 Greatest Nonprofit Social Media Campaigns

Sep 1, 2019 | Digital Marketing, Social Media

Zoe Allen

by Zoe Allen

Find out how these 8 nonprofits cracked the code with engaging campaigns that turned thousands of followers into donors. 

Nonprofit social media

How can social media campaigns be engaging, inspiring – and effective?

Social media is the future of nonprofit outreach. No other platform offers the same huge global reach for promoting awareness of important, yet suppressed, issues. These outstanding examples are social media campaigns that have expertly used the platform to further their cause.

These campaigns present the importance of creating a recognisable brand for your campaign. Try using hashtags to do this, and to allow the campaign to spread quickly. 

It also shows the importance of using the features already available or using a trend or hashtag that is already popular – such as in WaterIsLife’s #firstworldproblems campaign. You should also make sure you are tapping into the possibilities of the multiple channels, with their different content types and audiences.

If you want to know more about social media for nonprofits, you can read our Ultimate Guide, or read on to be inspired by our top 8 campaigns.

Social Media Nonprofit

1. Make-A-Wish’s YouTube Channel

Make-A-Wish has become a household name in recent years with its unique goal of fulfilling the wishes of ill and vulnerable children, from visiting Disneyland to meeting celebrities. They have their outstanding social media presence to thank for their success, too.

Make-A-Wish is all about personal stories and experiences, which makes compelling content that people really want to know about, as well as being powerful to convert supporters to donors. They use YouTube videos to show the world these interesting stories, driving support for their nonprofit. As  a result of their inspiring content, they have grown into a huge organisation and can help thousands of children fulfil their wishes. 

You can explore Make-A-Wish’s YouTube Channel here.

2. WATERisLIFE: #firstworldproblems

This is a great example of how you can use hashtags, images, or ideas that are already popular across social media to further your nonprofit.

WATERisLIFE used the already viral hashtag #firstworldproblems to inspire a emotive video. In the video, people in dire, life-threatening situations, such as having no access to clean water, repeat common ‘first world problems’. It highlighted the privilege of the hashtag users, and the power to use social media to do true good. They assured that this popular hashtag, even after their campaign had finished, would continue to remind people that they could help others.

On top of the use of this hashtag, their First World Problems Anthems video was also shared and viewed thousands of times. 

Social media marketing tablet

3. Project Life Jacket

Project Life Jacket used a unique visual idea to catch their supporters’ attention. Three Swiss organisations (The Voice of Thousands, Borderfree and Schwizerchruz) interview nine refuges who had travelled across the Mediterranean, then beautifully illustrated their stories on used life jackets that had washed up on beaches.

The campaign reminded supporters that each refugee was a person, with a past and a story, and more than their refugee status. When supporters understood the refugee’s stories, they would then empathise with them more and want to help. Like Make-A-Wish, it shows how well supporters react to personal stories on social media and the power of visual content on these platforms.

Take a look at the Facebook page for Project Life Jacket here.

4. truth: #BigTobaccoBeLike

This campaign shows the power of social media for spreading awareness of important issues, rather than just for increasing donations. Using a popular internet phrase (‘be like’), truth aimed to show the issues with social smoking and dispel the myth that smoking was acceptable if it was irregular. It explained how even if you only smoke at parties, you are still supporting companies that profit off fuelling illness and addiction.

Social media has the power to destroy myths and spread the truth.

truth also leveraged the power of YouTube influencers, working with popular faces to produce videos that played of the short form content off the now defunct platform Vine. They leveraged humorous content, and the millions-strong audiences of these famous faces.

Like WATERisLIFE’s campaign, truth showed that utilising the trends and audience that is already out there is very important in social media marketing. Take a look at truth’s twitter page here.

5. WaterAid: #giveashit

WaterAid’s campaign aimed to make a serious issue more fun. They asked popular figures to personalise and share a poop emoji, and created a free app so anyone could create a personalised poop emoji. It aimed to add a more light-hearted tone to raise awareness about a serious issue that affects millions of people’s lives worldwide.

This campaign shows the importance of creativity and participation to engage your supporters and encourage donations. If something is fun, humorous or interesting, people are much more likely to share it, spreading the reach of your message and growing your donor base.

You can read more about the campaign and even download the app here.

Nonprofit campaign

6. World Wildlife Fund: #endangeredemoji

After WWF discovered that 17 animals with corresponding emojis were endangered, it wanted to translate the popularity of the emojis into donations. WWF encouraged supporters to retweet an image on Twitter which signed them up to donate 10p every time they posted one of the endangered emojis.

Like WaterAid’s campaign, it shows how powerful the use of emojis can be to engage supporters. Again, this project harnessed innovation and creativity to make engaging with a nonprofit more interesting for their donors.

You can visit WWF’s Twitter profile here, or read more on the WWF website.

7. National Trust: #NTchallenge

National Trust utilises the passion of its supporters and their beautiful photography to spread the word about its beautiful sites. They regularly run weekly challenges urging supporters to upload images, tagged to #NTchallenge, that revolve around a theme, such as ‘places which transport you back in time’. They repost the images on their profiles and choose winners for each category.

Like many of the other campaigns here, the #NTchallenge aims to make spreading awareness about their cause fun and interesting for their supporters. By showing how beautiful these places are, they can encourage more visitors, earning more donations, which can then be spent on the upkeep of their sites.

National Trust leveraged the beauty of imagery on Instagram for this project; you can see their profile here. Again, this shows how important it is to use the individual strengths of each platform.

8. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

One of the most successful social media fundraising projects of all time, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge had thousands of participants, gained national press coverage and raised millions for the ALS Association.

Once again, this project focused on making fundraising fun, and engaging supporters in an interesting way. This challenge, spread across multiple social media platforms, dared supporters to throw a bucket of iced water over their head and share the video online. As well as spreading awareness, the participants would then donate to the ALS Association and encourage friends to repeat the challenge and do the same. The prospect of humorous videos from friends allowed the campaign to spread very quickly.

You can read more on the ALS Association website here.

Social Media Campaign

Feeling inspired?

Read our Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Nonprofits for more tips to improve your presence. Or, if it is all looking a bit complicated, let our experts guide you in managing your online presence and creating your content. We make harnessing the power of a global audience simple and easy – no matter your skill level. Click the banner below to book a free consultation and find out how we can help.

Note: this article is a guest post I wrote for Socialbrite, click here for the original article.

Talk to us about finding new donors through social media.

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