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Why Your Nonprofit Should Be On Instagram

social media Jul 16, 2018

In a study done in 2017, it was found that 71% of businesses had accounts on Instagram and that 80% of Instagram users followed at least one business on their personal account.

Okay awesome, but what does that mean for your nonprofit?

Well, with more than 800 million active monthly users worldwide, Instagram might be your best bet for increasing your reach. For FREE.

But the biggest reason I think your nonprofit should be on Instagram is this -

Instagram is a storytelling goldmine and that is every nonprofits strength and power in inspiring engagement and support. It allows you to connect in a truly authentic way, visually show the impact you’re making and create real connections that build strong long-lasting relationships.

If you do it right, this powerful social media platform can help you move your mission forward with greater awareness, understanding, engagement and support for your cause – all with a few Instagram pictures, videos and story posts!

Ready to get started or maybe get serious about using Instagram to market your mission?

Here are 4 ways that Instagram can take your nonprofit to the next level, whether you are new to Instagram or an every day poster.

  • Instagram Stories are a powerful way to share how your organization is changing your community, and a great platform for testimonials. These are the images your volunteers and donors want to see and are a lively way to present your organization. They might even win you new followers. Some tips and tricks:
    • For you Instagram newbies, this video format is the one that defies the norm - you want to record your phone video in portrait, not landscape. You’ll lose resolution and have weird crops otherwise.
    • Keep it short - while there are hacks involving recording longer video and then dividing it into chunks, Instagram Story videos are only 15 seconds long (as opposed to a regular live video feed that can go up to 60 seconds).
    • Keep it casual - no one is expecting you to become Spielberg here. In fact, it’s the lack of slickness that makes Instagram so appealing. It’s raw and authentic (and if you wind up using filters or drawings, it can be a little whimsical too!)  
    • Not comfortable with video? Try using a photo collage instead.
    • Remember that Stories are not forever on the Instagram feed (they disappear after 24 hours) but there are ways to keep and use them. Unless you change the settings, your Instagram story should be saved in your Stories Archive and you can make them a Highlight on your Instagram profile.

  • Use ‘local’ visuals to genuinely connect with your audience
    • Creating personalized visuals helps you to genuinely connect with your audience in a way that stock images just can’t do. (Don’t worry, stock photos are still awesome to use; the trick is to incorporate your own in the mix). These personal images create a connection that leaves a more compelling impact than words can. It’s a great place to showcase your behind-the-scenes work as well.

  • Use hashtags to make yourself easy to discover to new volunteers or donors
    • Hashtags have been around since the early days of Instagram, and they aren’t going anywhere soon, - so don’t dismiss them as just another social media trend. They help to categorize your posted images into searchable words, making your nonprofit easy to find.
    • One of the easiest and profitable ways to implement hashtags is to create one for your next fundraiser. Tag every post, image, and story with #[NameOfFundraiser] and you’ve created a whole folder of images for new donors and volunteers to look through, and become passionate about!
    • During and after your fundraiser, your current supporters can also tag their photos from the event with the same hashtag, giving you free publicity - and who doesn’t want that?

  • Acknowledge your donors, volunteers and other supporters (and get more love in the process)
    • Without the help of your donors, your nonprofit wouldn’t be able to create the impact you are striving to make each and every day. With the help of Instagram, it’s easier than ever to thank your donors personally by offering a shout out, and showing the world what they mean to you. You’re also able to show your followers how much money you’ve raised for a particular event, or show your progress towards a specific goal. Did you know that people are more likely to give towards a cause if they see their friends or family giving towards it first? Giving shout outs to your supporters in turn brings you more support. How cool is that?

Here’s a bonus tip for you as well: If you haven’t already, set up your Instagram account as a Business account. It’s a free service and it gives you access to tools that you normally wouldn’t have under a personal account. These include the ability to track your analytics, connect your Facebook page and website to your profile, and provides that all-important contact button, allowing those visiting your Instagram page to connect with you instantly!

According to a study conducted by M+R, Instagram was the fasted-growing of the three social media platforms that was tracked. It saw an increase of 44% in the number of followers. Nonprofits saw a 13% increase in the number of Facebook fans, and a 15% increase in the number of Twitter followers. That’s huge!

Using Instagram shouldn’t be daunting, or confusing. With these 4 strategies, your nonprofit will be able to reach new heights, achieve new levels of exposure, all while simply doing what probably feels natural to you - sharing what your small nonprofit stands for and the impact it has in daily life.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then your nonprofit’s presence on Instagram might just be worth thousands in donor engagement and support – and that my friend is why Instagram shouldn’t be ignored.

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