Do’s and Don’ts of Nonprofit Social Media

10/17/2017 4 min read Written by Jenny Traster

With the ability to reach millions of people across the entire world, social media can be an extremely valuable tool for nonprofits to inspire the public to help their causes. This only applies, of course, if you’re putting out the right content, using the right channels, targeting the right people, and otherwise doing it right. These do’s and don’ts can help ensure you’re on the right track with your nonprofit social media strategy.


Don’t: Pass off the crucial role of social media manager to an intern or just any “tech savvy, young person.” There’s a big difference between the “tech savvy” person who knows all the technical details of a platform and the “social savvy” person who knows how to market on it.

Do: Get help from an expert and create a social media plan. Enlist a team of volunteers to help with brainstorming ideas and taking turns posting. Your plan needs to outline clear objectives, ROI, and an overall strategy supported by a set of tactics.


Don’t: Post the exact same items across all social media channels. While you want to maintain a consistent identity, you also want to remember that not all content is right for all platforms.

Do: Ensure content suits the specific platform on which it appears. Examples include:

  • Twitter: brief summaries and one-liners
  • Facebook: conversational, relaxed, short
  • LinkedIn: professional discussion that invites participation
  • Google Plus: strong images that speak for themselves


Don’t: Assume all your followers want the same content. Millennial Mia and Baby Boomer Bruce are likely to be drawn to vastly different types of content.

Do: Develop personas and post content geared toward your different generations and audiences. Each generation tends to have its own content preferences:

  • Generation Z: Brief, relevant, authentic content for short attention spans
  • Millennials: Ratings, reviews, contact with influences for interaction
  • Generation X: Straightforward, visually engaging content for sharing
  • Baby Boomers: Content-heavy posts, polls, quizzes for info and knowledge


Don’t: Rely solely on content from outside sources. Although linking to outside news sources can give you a level of relevancy and credibility, it should not be the only type of content you share.

Do: Share original content created by your organization. Blog posts are ideal shares, as are graphics, photos, events, and even behind-the-scenes insights that help attract and build a following exclusive to your organization.


Don’t: Use too much automation. While automation is great for posting links to your blog, newsletter, or website, you want to move beyond automation to ensure your social media posts have a personal touch.

Do: Start conversation. Asking questions is an ideal way to generate responses and engagement. Also make sure you answer any questions, address complaints and promptly respond to comments. Use your social media channels as a readymade customer service tool.

Read More: Humanizing Your Company on Social Media 


Don’t: Go overboard with hashtags. Using too many hashtags can be distracting, appear spammy, and doesn’t help you reach your target audience.

Do: Use relevant hashtags strategically. Check out sites like to find hashtags relevant to your cause. Create hashtags specific to your organization or campaign, which can help you track conversations about your organization. You can also monitor trending topics, then use any relevant hashtags to help you get discovered.

Likeminded Organizations

Don’t: Ignore similar organizations or view them as competition. You’re not going head-to-head to see who can achieve higher levels of good. You’re instead united on a similar mission.

Do: Reach out to likeminded organizations so you can help each other. Share each other’s content. Recommend each other’s websites and pages to followers. See which of their postings are getting results, then use some of their ideas.


Don’t: Blindly spend money on ads. Simply boosting a random post for the sake of getting more views may not align with your specific goals.

Do: Create a plan, set goals, and track the results of any ads you run. Figure out what you want the ad to achieve, whether it’s gaining more followers, more donations or more volunteers. Then create ads geared toward reaching that goal.


Don’t: Craft every post as a plea for money. This tactic comes across as both desperate and aggressive. Requests for donations should make up no more than 10 percent of your overall social media content.

Do: Provide inspiring and valuable content about your mission and cause. Share success stories, or details on the real people you’re helping and problems you’re solving. Heartfelt posts can compel people to donate on their own without the need for a desperate plea.

When done right with these do’s and don’ts in mind, social media for nonprofits can be profitable indeed. Not only can it help generate donations, but it can assist with gaining followers, increasing awareness of your organization, and propelling you forward on your overall mission. Ensure you do it right with expert help by scheduling a marketing consultation today.

By: Jenny Traster

With a love of HubSpot dating back to 2010, Jenny works with clients to put the pieces of the inbound marketing puzzle together, from content marketing and social media management to demand generation and lead nurturing. When she’s not digging through data or reading the latest in social media trends, you’re most likely to find her traveling, practicing yoga or hiking with her dogs in the great outdoors.

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