Running A Charity? Social Media Is Crucial To Success

Running A Charity? Social Media Is Crucial To Success

Charities are taking their fundraising strategies beyond conventional media. Television adverts, billboards, and posters on public transport are still effective. But there’s a medium that has the potential to get even better results. I’m talking of course about social media. (Many people would probably argue that social media has become a part of “conventional media”, but let’s ignore that for now.)


The bottom line is that a charity business which doesn’t operate in some capacity on social media isn’t giving itself the opportunity to be the best it can be. A charity is often defined by its efficacy, which is to say, how much attention and money it can actually draw in. That means you need some serious reach to ensure you’re getting the message out there.

Understanding The Potential

You may think that social media isn’t really the place for a charity. This is perhaps because many people don’t see charities as being a necessarily “cool” business. And people tend to follow businesses that have a certain edge to them. You’d be forgiven for thinking this. But there’s no doubt that charities seem to have no problems actually getting followers on social media.

Let’s take a look at the follower counts of some of the world’s most popular charities. At the time of writing, the U.S. branch of Save The Children has 2.05 million followers on Twitter. And they’re not even the biggest. Amnesty International, though not a traditional charity, has 2.82 million followers on Twitter. American Red Cross have an impressive 3.59 million Twitter followers. But even they pale in comparison to the most followed charity on Twitter. With a whopping 5.76 million followers, UNICEF is an incredible example of the online reach a charity can have. There are many more charities that have millions of followers on social media.

The Power of Blogging

You may wonder why I’m talking about blogs when I’m supposed to be talking about social media. Well, what is a blog if it’s not a form of social media? Blogs aren’t an integral part of a social network, which is the proper term for platforms like Facebook and Twitter. But as something that facilitates content sharing and conversation, a blog is definitely an important part of social media. And if your charity doesn’t have a blog, then you’re really not taking the business to its fullest potential.

Expanding your reach online may require that you don’t just keep those blog posts to yourself. Many charities won’t just keep their stories and blog posts on their own website; they’ll take “guest spots” on other blogs to help the message get out to more people. Have a look into various guest posting tools to increase the efficacy of this tactic.

So What Content Do You Create?

You should know by now that when it comes to digital marketing, “content is king”. People like to say that content is king as if it’s a new thing, but it’s actually been a fairly frequently used phrase in online marketing since the nineties. Of course, you may be wondering what kind of content you need to produce as a charity doing business online. You may have seen a lot of the content that other businesses tend to upload. It’s usually fun, exciting, humorous, even gimmicky. Those tend to get shares and likes. But this sort of content is hardly fitting a charity’s line of work. Charities simply don’t have a big pool of fun stories and images to work with. They tend to deal with tremendously “unfunny” matters.

The key of course is to not attempt to share this sort of content. Comedy clips and memes aren’t really going to get you very far. It’s worth remembering that people using social media won’t simply turn away and refuse to engage with content that isn’t funny. People do have the capacity to take what they see on the Internet very seriously, despite what some Luddite naysayers from older generations may say about the subject.

There are two types of content that will drive a charity marketing campaign on social media. They’re the same sorts of stories you’ll have seen on other media, but done in a different style. Essentially, you’re going to want to tell a story. And the approach you can take is either hard hitting and shocking, or triumphant and spiriting. Both will work very effectively if you play your cards right. Both of them have the opportunity to do something that will help your charity a lot. And that’s go viral.

Going Viral

“Going viral.” It’s a phrase that, perhaps as late as not more than a decade ago, would have brought to mind viruses. But today, most people know precisely what going viral is. It’s something that most people doing business on the Internet want for themselves. And if you can get your charity marketing campaign to go viral, then you’re going to do make great strides for your non-profit.

Though not actually started by an official charity, perhaps the most obvious example of a viral charity campaign on social media is the Ice Bucket Challenge. A lot of people seemed to sneer at it in the beginning, and it’s true that there were many people who engaged in it with no intention of bringing the actual cause at hand to people’s attention. (The cause at hand being motor neuron disease, a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease.) But many of the related charities reported tens of millions of additional funding acquired via donations in the first year that the challenge went viral. And that funding seems to have helped a breakthrough in recent research.

So how exactly does one go viral? That’s the question everyone is asking. One item worth noting here was that the rise of this challenge was very organic and even grassroots. It worked independently of any formal charity giving it financial backing. Something that veers more toward this sort of feel is definitely a great start. It may be well worth doing some more research into what exactly a charity business can do in the quest to go viral.