John Haydon is a consultant, trainer, and coach, helping nonprofits get more from digital marketing and online fundraising.

Social media and the use of mobile devices have skyrocketed in the last 15 years. There are now more cellphones on the planet than there are toothbrushes! Social Media is continuing to increase quickly. Overall, those taking the most advantage of social networks range from ages 18 to 34.


As you can see above, most people are using Facebook first and foremost, followed closely by Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Nonprofits are also using more social media – mostly using Facebook, closely followed by Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


Step 1: Build the foundation

As your nonprofit begins to build your foundation, there are 3 important things to take advantage of.

1. Email – Connecting with donors after they have connected with you is important because it may be your only means to connect with them.

The most important part of growing your base is building a foundation and setting up email marketing. You should keep a simple design, keep the emails mobile-friendly, and use GIF images that will load quickly on a mobile device. This leads us into the second point…

2. Mobile – Many of your supporters are connecting with your organization via mobile devices, so if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you may very well be losing support.


This leads us into deciding on the right tools for your organization to use in order to grow your base.

All of this is a great start for laying down a solid foundation for your organization; however, without goals, you can’t really evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing and fundraising campaigns. You can’t tell what is working and what isn’t. A goal in Google Analytics represents a conversion that contributes to business objectives (i.e. making a donation, registering for an event, subscribing to your email list.) These goals will tell you when a goal is achieved as well as the behavior of visitors who convert on your site.

3. Social Media – This has changed the way that people connect with organizations.

facebook-screenshotNonprofits have had to make a change from being “fortressed” to “networked”– meaning all walls have to come down. Supporters can now communicate with nonprofits whenever they want instead of just responding to communications from the nonprofit.

The first thing you should want to do with social media now is to listen to your supporters. Nonprofits can do this by using another tool called Facebook Graphs. Nonprofits can use these searches to gain an understanding of your audience. Search for things like:

  • Favorite interests of people who like [your org].
  • Favorite interests of people who like [your org] and [competing org].
  • Groups of people who like [your org].
  • Pages liked by people who like [your org].
  • Pages liked by women who like [your org].

Visit for more info.

You can research trending topics using other research tools such as Buzzsumo. Researching trending topics is important to figure out what your supporters really care about and what is trending to understand how to communicate with them.


Step 2: Get people talking

classic-story-arcNonprofits traditionally are busy changing the world and need to spend more time on story telling. Stories invite relationships with your supporters, are remembered, and motivate action.

There are three parts to storytelling:

  • The hook: grabs the audience’s attention and triggers emotion
  • The hold: keeps their attention and builds anticipation
  • The payoff: the call to action invites participation

We want to start conversations; as social media is two-way communication. Get supporters involved and share outcome stories. People are more likely to continue communicating and supporting if they can see the impact.

A best practice involved in social media is to reply often to your supporters when they communicate with you. Most nonprofits don’t reply on social media. So it’s an easy way to differentiate your organization. If you reply to your supporters thoughtfully, they will be more likely to remember your organization.

The last thing I want to remind you about is to thank your supporters. This is another easy way to differentiate yourself from other organizations.

Step 3: Plan your campaign

treasure-mapCreate a simple editorial calendar to give you a birds’ eye view, avoid communication conflicts, unify marketing channels, and eliminate silos. This will let you see how you are communicating with your supports across all of the channels that you’re using. Use these 5 simple steps:

  1. Map out community milestones and important dates
  2. Map out your events
  3. Add messaging
  4. Add calls to action
  5. Include all channels

Create a simple plan using this method:

People: Where do your people hang out? What’s important to them? How are they talking about your cause?
Objectives: What specifically do you want to achieve? Shoot low if this is your first time making a plan.
Strategy: How will you achieve your objectives by creating value for your community?
Tactics: What tools and tactics will you use to achieve your strategy?

See other considerations below:

Action: What specific actions do you want people to take? Giving money? Pledging support? Sharing your campaign?
Resources: What resources do you currently have/need?
Time: How many days/weeks in your campaign?

You should also map out your fundraising funnel to be able to formulate communication and what communication your supporters are going to get during the course of your campaign. As you can see below, you will see the different stages of a donor throughout the funnel and be able able to communicate with your donors more effectively, which is one of the most important things you can do.


To hear more and get more details about these topics (including free resources from John Haydon), fill out the form below to watch our webinar with John.