4 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Social Media To Connect With Donors

Nonprofits are investing in social media more and more. NTEN, CommonKnowledge and Blackbaud reported in February 2012, nonprofits were placing more and more importance on social networking and that Facebook and Twitter were leading the pack and were the social network of choice. Although the most common tactic among those surveyed who are fundraising on Facebook was to ask for individual donations on Facebook, there are other ways to use social media to connect with donors than to to straight out ask for donations.

Tell a story and make them part of it

Content is everything. It has to be good in order to keep people engaged. Ironically two things that donors love are stories and thank you notes. The best way for nonprofits to incorporate thank yous and stories are through their social media efforts. Telling inspirational stories with a video or with a Facebook post that includes a photo is a great way to get your donors engaged. But what’s even better is making your donors part of your stories. That’s right. You can use Facebook posts to highlight advocates of the month or create a volunteer spotlight. Not only that, you can even ask your donors to tell their stories and post them on your Facebook page. Here are some other things you can do:

  • At your events ask a volunteer with a smartphone to take 15 second videos of your volunteers or donors in action using the app Tout. Then they can tweet them, post them to Facebook, or to your website (using their website widget).
  • Host a social media contest and ask donors to upload a photo or video related to your nonprofit campaign. This self-generated content can be used in future collateral or stitched together to make a compelling photo album or video.
  • Create a slideshow using PowerPoint to tell a compelling story and feature your constituents and your clients (with permission).

Thank them publicly

Believe it or not, 39% of Twitter users claim that the news they read on Twitter they would not have gotten elsewhere. This is an opportunity for you to connect with your audience about volunteer opportunities, upcoming fundraisers, and to live tweet at events. Tweeting a direct link to your donation page is helpful but don’t just leave it at that. Be sure to follow up and not only thank the donor but let them know the results their generosity helped produce.

Make it easy for them to stay in touch via groups

One of the most effective ways I’ve seen Facebook groups used with nonprofits is using them as legacy or advocate groups. Constituents who share something specific in common or who have participated in an event together such as an advocacy summit, like to stay in touch and converse with people whom they have a shared affinity. For example, people who participated in a volunteer project together or clients who have met a specific donor threshold.

Integrate Planned Giving web applications

Believe it or not, 79% of bequest donors have a relationship with the nonprofit and the average age of the bequest donor is 58 years. Tell them what to give, how to give, and give them a planning calculator.

  • Software such as Crescendo or PGCalc can help you with this or you can build your own.

What are some ways you are using social media to connect with donors?

Send to Kindle
About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.


  1. Hi Tracy,

    Just noticed this great article and am excited to learn about your blog- great work! I’m the former Executive Director of Craigslist Foundation and author of Nonprofit Management 101, and more recently I co-founded the country’s only conference series devoted to social media for social good, Social Media for Nonprofits (see It’d be great to explore possible collaboration, so I hope to hear from you.

    In Community,


  2. Using video to create “behind the scenes” peeks at things that donors are helping to build — and sending email or text updates with links to those videos — is a great way to give donors a sense of ownership over the mission and, as I recall from some study I read long ago, actually encourages favorable reviews (for arts organizations) and word-of-mouth sharing (not social sharing, but actual talking sharing). Making those “in progress” videos also creates and archive of a non-profit project that you can use to recruit more donors in the future.


  1. […] to connect with their donors and keep them engaged. Tracy Sestili at Social Strand offers some great practical, how-to’s on doing just […]

  2. […] Top blog last week: 4 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Social Media To Connect With Donors. […]

  3. […] 4 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Social Media To Connect With Donors […]