Donor Engagement Tips & Tricks on Social Media

Like any other marketing program, social media is an essential component for every fundraising campaign. And when it comes to engaging donors and patrons, meaningful content that is relevant to your target audience is essential to your success.

“Social is a big part of our campaign,” said Suzanne Crane, Assistant Director, Corporate Partnerships at The Jimmy Fund. “People need a human connection and social media helps spread engagement out across the board.”

According to a recent study, 72 percent of respondents said that poor content, such as vague information, dull or boring content, or content in an inconvenient format, would have an effect on their giving to an organization. Likewise, 72% of millennials prefer to give online and they are most often inspired to give by social media.

Here are a few tips and tricks to engage donors via social media, and examples of best practices by nonprofits across the United States.

1. Show, Don’t Tell


As a picture is worth a thousand words, visual content is the most effective way to attract attention from your followers, encourage engagement, and to effectively communicate your story or mission. Most information is transmitted to the brain visually and is processed faster than text. That’s one of the reasons why we tend to react faster and more emotionally with photos of family, news events, or even that amazing sandwich a friend just ate.

Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content. Consider creating creating photo albums on Facebook around specific programs, developing infographics that visually demonstrate the benefits of your mission, or Boomerang videos on Instagram to promote events and special occasions.

2. Share Your News

Provide periodic news and updates about the progress of your campaign. Share information such as funds raised at specific milestones, spotlight volunteers with your program, or highlight those who benefit from your fundraising – and don’t be afraid to tug at the heartstrings. Supporters and potential donors should be reminded of your good work on regularly.

In campaign mode, don’t be afraid to share the success or challenge in raising money towards your goal. Consider periodic updates on the amount you have raised and how much is left to meet the goal or days til the deadline, and create sense of urgency behind your campaign closes (plus, some people need deadline for motivation). You can even spotlight specific donors in your campaign updates – this can create a halo effect in giving among that donor’s friends and personal networks.

  • Example: The Jimmy Fund regularly posts about stories and testimonials by patients it supports at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, sharing stories and testimonials about patients’ care and progress through their battles with cancer.

3. Keep It Simple

Though we may need to share a lot of information, social media posts are not effective platforms to tell the whole story – save that for a blog post, news item, or other content on your website or blog. Share links to this content with brief descriptions or snippets from the primary content in your posts and link to your page or blog post.

  • Example: Habitat for Humanity regularly shares stories of its work, homeowner profiles, and how-to’s from its website through its social channels, including brief teasers about the story linked. 

4. Inspire Your Audience


Pepper your content calendar with inspirational and motivational quotes relevant to your cause or campaign. Though this is often considered general, untargeted content, it is incredibly shareable because the information is easy to relate to a general audience (think casting a wide net instead of a single fishing line). You can present these as text-graphics or as a image with the notable quotable.

  • Example: Girls Who Code, an organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology, regularly posts inspirational quotes by its founder, women in technology, cultural icons, and other sources that encourage and empower girls to pursue careers in computer science and engineering.

5. Curate Content


While creating original content for your fundraising campaign is essential to communicating your organization’s own voice, it can be time consuming to write and design. We all wearing multiple hats and have limited time in our work days to get everything done.

Share articles and relevant content from other organizations periodically to diversify your content and share the wealth of information. You may also find reciprocity along the way, with pages and organizations sharing your content as a trade for sharing theirs. This can increase the audience for your content and lead new followers (and potential donors).  

  • Example: The National Main Street Center, which supports coordinating programs and local communities to encourage preservation-based community revitalization, often shares content from its partner organizations. This curated content aligns well with its mission to improve and preserve historical districts, often sharing content from its local partners and from the news.

Want to make a more memorable impression marketing your fundraising campaign? Learn the secrets of success in our free eBook “5 Traits of Successful Fundraising Programs.”

Topics: donor engagementfundraising ideassocial media