By now most of us have accepted the purpose and role of social media in non-profit work. And just to clarify – it’s not to raise money. It’s to connect with your current community and spread your cause’s voice to others audiences who might be interested in your work.
Often times people will ask me, how do we connect with those audiences??
I get it. It seems like an impossible task. This is both the curse and blessing of social media (and the internet). We have platforms to talk to much bigger audiences. But sometimes it can feel like an uphill battle where we are getting zero traction.
Has that been your experience with social media?
Start With a Story
Forming a connection with someone is always about emotions regardless of whether you are connecting with them in real-life or in the digital world. To do this effectively, you have to start by answering this question – what do I want my audience to feel?
Once you’ve identified that core emotion that you want them to feel, you can start to think about what kinds of content you use to evoke that emotion.
Stories are a kind of content that is especially conducive to evoking emotions from those who encounter them. Let’s look at a few examples to see how this can work in practice.
5 Non-Profits Who Tell Great Stories on Social Media
Organization: Humane Society of New York
Notes: This Pinterest board showcases pets who have recently found a home and a happy ending. In some cases, they even show the proud new owners. This is a feel good way to highlight their success and a charming way to connect with their community. They don’t use too much text under the images, but rather let the pictures speak for themselves.
Organization: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
Platform: Twitter and Facebook
Notes: This was a multi-channel social media campaign that happened on International Women’s Day last year. MSF showcased a day in the life of one of their doctors, and it turned out to be highly engaging. You can see a full case study on this campaign here.
Organization: Room to Read
Notes: Room to Read did a great job of using video to share stories of hope from their clients and highlight the greater impact of their work. It is a deeply touching video. I think that something like this would even make a great weekly or monthly feature.
Organization: North York Community House
Notes: North York Community House is pretty unique is that they have made digital storytelling a part of their client programming. Sharing these stories with wider audiences is a secondary benefit of the work. These stories are great because of the authenticity that comes shining through, which is largely due in part of the role the clients play in bringing their stories to life.
Organization: Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation
Notes: In general, Take a Hike does a great job with Twitter. They are very conversational and post relevant, interesting content that their audience might find interesting. But what I’d like to draw your attention to is the pictures they post on their Twitter account.
It’s always interesting to me to see that most organizations have one or two social media channels that they really thrive on. Perhaps that’s a lesson for us all to learn – we don’t have to be everywhere all the time. Rather, focus on quality communications through channels that make sense for your organization and your audience.
What channels does your organization currently use? Have you had success telling your stories through them? Leave a comment below and share your experiences on social media.