PR Tips for Nonprofits Social Media Management

By Mengyuan (Miriam) Cai, Account Supervisor at PRLab


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[Source: Four New (Familiar) Diabetes Non-Profits. (2014)]

Let me ask a question first: Do nonprofit organizations need PR? The answer is definitely yes. In the TED Talk “The way we think about charity is dead wrong,” presented by Dan Pallotta, he says that “If we tell the consumer brands, ‘You may advertise all the benefits of your product,” but we tell charities, ‘You cannot advertise all the good that you do,’ where do we think the consumer dollars are going to flow?” Nonprofit organizations have to find a way to share their work and engage with its audience to keep their good work. With the emergence of social media, nonprofits can now utilize multiple platforms to spread awareness. Here are some suggestions that nonprofits should keep in mind when practicing social media.

  • Create a channel for people to learn about you

If your organization only reaches out to people when asking for donations, you probably won’t get as many replies.Only sharing your mission and value with donors is not enough. Nonprofit organizations must constantly engage with its audience and this is possible through social media: You can regularly publish posts on current news and events of the organization. It’s also important to spotlight those who have made contributions to your organization. It helps people to be familiar with the organization and see your progresses.

  • Follow trends

How often do you share on social media with a hashtag? Using a hashtag is going to help people who care about certain topics find your opinions and generate conversations. Also consider joining existing conversations to gain further exposure; Let people know your organization cares about things happening in the world. The trends you follow should be related to your organization’s mission. For example, shelters may opt to post about health and hunger issues.

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[Source: 5 Things to Avoid When Putting Your Company on Social Media. (2016)]

  • Create campaigns that generate shared media

Encourage your audience to share and talk about your organization on social media. One way to achieve this is through creating a contest or a lottery that people can participate by including a certain hashtag in their posts. Possible topics for different nonprofits can be “talk about your story with the organization” or “share your experience on pets adoptions.” People love to talk about their life and have a chance to win something. If you do not have the budget for a lottery prize, request some in-kind donations from local businesses, such as restaurant gift certificates or free admission to the local museum. This would be a win-win scenario for your nonprofit and your audience.

  • Engage with your audience

Maintaining good relationships with your stakeholders are essential to your organization. Without them, your organization cannot operate effectively. If there is a volunteer doing good work for you or a donor contributes a big check, recognize them on your social media (after getting their permission). Express your gratitude and show that your organization cares about them. This could potentially encourage other people to help you out as well.

While small nonprofit organizations can be short on staff on managing the organization’s social media presence, social media management tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can be helpful and save your time.