7 Nonprofit Social Media Trends You’ll See in 2021

When it comes to communicating with supporters, using social media is a no-brainer for many nonprofits: it’s fast, doesn’t require significant resources,...

Written by James Burke · 4 min read >

When it comes to communicating with supporters, using social media is a no-brainer for many nonprofits: it’s fast, doesn’t require significant resources, and provides a large coverage. Most importantly, social networks are an opportunity for direct communication with your audience, no matter where they are in the world. 

It’s the beginning of 2021. You’re probably actively thinking about your 2021 marketing strategy, especially on social media? Social media will always remain an invaluable tool — with 3.6 billion active users worldwide, it’s clear that social media isn’t going away anytime soon. This means it’s essential to stay ahead of the trends.

In this article, we will look at some social media trends that will help your nonprofit organization expand their reach and their impact. 

1. Instagram video marketing with Reels to boost exposure

Based on findings from Tectonic Video’s Nonprofit Video IndexTM, we see fast and short storytelling videos gaining popularity on almost all social media platforms. Based on their findings that the most engaging and interactive videos are shorter than one minute combined, we’re also seeing more and more nonprofits using Reels, a short video-sharing feature on Instagram that gives you access to Instagrams 1 billion users. And it’s not just on Instagram where short videos thrive — Tectonic’s study also found that of the 100 most popular nonprofit videos on Twitter, 70% were under 1 minute long, and on Facebook, 54% were under a minute. 

Although there are a lot of new and fun features being added to social media, the trend in 2021 still obviously favors video marketing more than others – especially short and concise videos that pass very important information in 30 seconds or less. 

By limiting video length to 15 seconds, Instagram Reels taps into this movement. 

This is the time to embrace short clip marketing. We know new features can be intimidating, but just like Instagram Stories, creating a Reel can be as simple as talking into your camera. Unlike Stories, Reels allows more robust editing functions, like adding music, effects, and creating multiple different video clips that you can edit together for seamless transitions. 

Here are some ways to utilize Reels to raise awareness:

  • Develop short educational and instructional videos on topics specifically linked to your mission.
  • Develop publicity reels around your fundraising campaigns to increase their hype. 
  • Record and share short videos that highlight your employees and volunteers to help personify your organization. 
  • Record and post short compilations of people and places directly benefiting from your nonprofit’s work. 

In addition, this new feature offers an opportunity to tap into the success of the TikTok video model without having to launch a new social media account from scratch..

For examples of Nonprofits already leveraging these features, check out PETA and Charitywater.

2. Instagram Stories for fundraising

In 2016, Instagram hopped on ephemeral video content (pictures and videos that vanish after a certain time period). Today, about 300 million Instagram users still engage with Stories daily with no visible signs of stopping despite the onset of reels.

Stories are less refined compared to the other common Instagram functions, but this doesn’t mean they’re not useful. Stories unrefined, unplanned nature actually adds honesty and authenticity to your message, and that’s what users want. Stories also allow you to post several times over the course of a day without directly overwhelming the feeds of your followers.

Additionally, nonprofits can now add a “Donate” sticker to Instagram stories to raise funds for a charity, making it that much easier to tap into the huge Instagram user base. Keep in mind that your nonprofit needs to sign up and be approved by Facebook in order to apply to generate donations this way.

3. Personalized/humanized content (Be transparent, original, and authentic).

Before giving or donating to your cause, people need to know the story behind your organization. Why should they donate to you over other organizations?

To get attention and easily draw people to your message, tell your story using visual aids such as photos and videos. Imagery is processed up to 600 times faster than written text. This implies that visual aids are important for getting your message across and raising awareness of your brand as potential donors browse your Instagram or Facebook feeds.

A great place to begin is to film a mission statement video — one that describes why your organization was founded and what it wants to achieve. You can also create videos featuring the people and places your nonprofit organization has helped to show the positive effect of your organization to potential donors. To build a good reputation, post all of this coverage on social media.

4. Optimize Facebook ads for conversions

Using paid advertising with a “Donate Now” CTA is still a very effective way to promote donations, but it’s even more effective if you optimize your Facebook ads for conversions. Facebook will show your ad to individuals who fit your target demographic and who are likely to donate with this optimization.

A recent case study on “Save the Children” showed that maximizing conversions can boost donations and reduce acquisition costs. As it optimized conversions instead of traffic, the company had four times more contributions and a 76 percent decrease in cost per acquisition.

5. Use Facebook fundraising features

Allow your supporters to promote your nonprofit and increase your fundraising by signing up your organization on Facebook. You’ll find a “Create Fundraiser” button for your page when you sign up to accept donations, enabling followers to easily donate money to your nonprofit.

It’s becoming increasingly more popular for individuals to see this feature on their birthdays; in fact, Facebook now asks users, as their birthday is approaching, if they’d like to use the occasion to host a fundraiser for a nonprofit. More than $3 billion has been raised for different causes using this fundraising feature on Facebook.

6. The power of user-generated content (UGC)

Consistently creating content for your social media feeds can be hard. We get it. But there’s a trick to keeping posting on track while simultaneously lightening your content creation load: User generated content. 

Posting UGC means reposting content created by your followers. This means sharing one of their instagram images with their permission, or retweeting something connected to or relevant to your organization. Engaging in such a process will encourage your followers to post about your organization on their own social media pages and actively engage with your posts.  

7. Utilize the YouTube nonprofit program.

‘YouTube for Nonprofits’ is a program that provides exclusive resources for nonprofits. In order to register for YouTube for Nonprofits, you must be licensed as a nonprofit with the entity that regulates this in your country. The second step is to register your institution’s email as a non-profit on Google. To do this, simply access the website and fill in the data and token code previously obtained. This procedure is online and immediate.

The registration process for YouTube is simple — basically consisting of creating an account on YouTube and registering the channel ID in your Google for Nonprofits account.

Use the channel trailer. The trailer is the first clip that a viewer sees when they land on your channel, provided they haven’t yet subscribed. Your trailer should not only tell the story of your nonprofit, but also explain why its mission is so important. Think of it as an advertisement for your channel and your mission. This trailer effectively explains what the organization is all about, while also giving a glimpse of what viewers will find on YouTube.

Successful YouTube channel creators believe that frequent and regular uploads is one of the best strategies. Therefore, it’s worth working out the right schedule, and then sticking to it.

With so few resources available, nonprofit social marketing is not as clear or well defined as traditional marketing. Instead of looking for a roadmap, it’s up to you to create your own marketing manual, seeing what works for your nonprofit.

We suggest starting with the marketing ideas in this guide, then experimenting and refining your tactics based on which methods are working. Remember, we’re always here to help!

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