Gone are the days when fundraisers used to go door-knocking to talk about their nonprofit with the ultimate aim of collecting funds. Today, entire journeys are being recorded and then broadcasted online for people to view. And social media is an integral part of this, with Instagram being a crucial medium for nonprofits to portray their digital persona, communicate and fundraise.
With Instagram, visual is key: fewer words, more images and videos is the norm, and nonprofits have caught up on this trend, using it to fundraise and show different aspects of their organization. With more than a billion users, clearly, there is a huge potential for building relationships with prospective donors leading to donations, which is why it is such an effective tool for fundraising.
But using Instagram for your fundraising campaign is more than just uploading pretty pictures asking for donations; there are several strategies and tips you need to keep in your mind before embarking on your Instagram fundraising journey.
What are they? Let’s find out:
1. Make your profile compelling – and have a business profile
One of the best parts about Instagram is that you can get extremely creative with it. Purely through a mix of photos and videos (and a slight tinge of text), you can create a strong visual identity for people to associate with your nonprofit. Think of Instagram as a visual documentary of your organization.
When people visit your profile, you can’t immediately barrage them with solicitations for donations. It simply doesn’t work that way; the process needs to be subtler. Have you ever been to a place you haven’t visited before and everything just felt right? Somehow, all the furniture in that room was aligned perfectly, or the color pattern of the room perfectly blended with the view outside?
This is the sort of profile you should aim to create with compelling images, videos, and captions, which makes viewers feel as though they understand your organization even if they are encountering it for the first time. You’ll find that once your profile has been created in such a manner, the number of donors landing on your website from Instagram increases. Here, the journey (i.e viewers seeing your posts) is an important means to an important destination (i.e your donation landing page).
This post by Neverthirst is simple but captures your attention because the caption briefly talks about how donations were used to achieve their goal while thanking donors, and the picture reinforces the work they do. Short but sweet.
Also, don’t forget to make your account a business one. Not only does this lend authenticity where you can add your type of business (i.e. nonprofit or advocacy), but also gain access to analytics where you can see how well your fundraising posts are doing and how many people clicked on your fundraising links. You also get a contact button where potential donors can reach out to you to with any queries.
2. Use trending hashtags – and tag participants and sponsors
When posting, be sure to include several relevant and trending hashtags so that you attract the right audience (i.e potential donors) to your profile. By using the trending keywords relevant to your space such as say, #nonprofitfundraising, you end up attracting new people to your profile who can then be motivated to donate.
You can even get innovative by creating your own hashtag! Something witty and catchy should do the trick. Encourage your followers to share your posts with your unique hashtag so that you gain greater visibility and more users are directed to your profile. You can even use different hashtags on your posts, and with analytics figure out which ones drive the most traffic to your website leading to donations. (More about how hashtags work .)
This post by Humane Society is effective in that it includes a text-to-give description in the image itself making it easier for donors to donate. The image works as it illustrates the work done by the organization.
When you host fundraising events, tag your sponsors and volunteers who attend in your photos, so that you expand your reach. If your volunteers donate, there’s a decent chance that their friends would be open to doing so as well. So make sure you leave no one out of the loop; after all, anyone could be a donor!
Also, add your link to your bio; since Instagram doesn’t allow links in captions (not yet, anyway), it makes sense to add a link to your fundraising page in your bio itself so that it can redirect interested donors to your page.
Another way of boosting your fundraising campaign is to post video testimonials. These are an extremely powerful means of motivating viewers to contribute to your cause. For instance, you can post a short video of a person who was helped by your nonprofit and the gratitude they felt because of the support they received. Or alternatively, you can post a video interview of a volunteer who felt gratified by the work they did in association with your nonprofit.
Video testimonials like these appeal to viewers’ emotional instincts and are a catalyst for donations. These testimonials too are a form of an endorsement. Powerful nonetheless and definitely worth considering.
3. Use Instagram Stories and Ads
With Instagram Stories, you have the power to broadcast live video and images which stay active for a day (or longer with the new Highlight feature). This is a useful feature for fundraisers to use, especially when they’re in the process of fundraising so that viewers have a chance of seeing events unfold as they happen. This helps to fundraise because:
These stories are in real-time, so they give your organization a strong sense of authenticity as you’re publicly showing your work and behind-the-scenes preparations or footage without edits or filters. And because of this, your followers and other viewers get motivated to donate, having seen your work happen live and in-the-moment
With stories, you also have the option to include clickable links, so you can simplify the process of donations by including links to your fundraising pages. However, you can only do this only if you have a verified account or 10,000+ followers, so first concentrate on building that follower base of yours! Make sure to add hashtags to your stories as well to increase your searchability.
You can even consider putting up ads on Insta. Facebook owns Instagram, so it’s possible to cross-promote on the two social media sites. If you have a fundraising event coming up, use Instagram Ads to promote the event on Instagram, and drive more people to your event, increasing donations. You have the option to put up photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, or story ads according to your needs, so make sure to check this feature out and build the necessary awareness your event needs.
With the right targeting, you can reach the people you want to, click over to the Instagram website for more details. You can also track your ROI (return on investment) by installing a pixel on your site and seeing how many people come to your site via ads to donate. (More on installing pixels and retargeting here.)
4. Work with influencers
Instagram has “celebrities” or influencers specific to that platform. These influencers have a large amount of followers and a wide fan base following to their credit and collaborating with one (or more) of them will let you gain access to a wider audience base.
You’ll have to pay for this, but in a way, it’s similar to paying for an Instagram Ad, except when working with an influencer you will have someone influential endorsing your fundraising event or asking their followers to donate to your nonprofit. If the collaboration works out well, you can even get them to promote your fundraising activities on more than one occasion.
5. Know what type of audience you’re targeting – and when to post
The top users on Instagram are mainly millennial youth and young adults, so your fundraising posts should be targeted towards this bracket. Include posts which are fun and possibly related to a trending event which would capture your target audience’s attention in a jiffy. It doesn’t have to be too specific; even something as simple as a photo with a clever caption would do.
The point here is to post something which millennials would immediately relate to because of the reference, leading to an interest in your organization with potential attendance at fundraising events and subsequent donations.
There are many studies which tell what the best times to post on Instagram are but it ultimately comes down to when your fundraising posts garner the most attention. So, while you can use these studies as a reference, make it a point to test it out for yourself with analytics and actual visits to your fundraising landing pages. Once you’ve figured out when exactly you’re generating the most engagement and donations, stick to posting at that time to make the most out of your fundraising on Instagram. You can even schedule posts in advance according to your convenience.
While fundraising on Instagram is more of a trial-and-error to figure out what works for you, it’s certainly a fun journey in experimenting differently and testing out your creative side. Hopefully, this article answers your queries about fundraising on this visual platform and helps in boosting your fundraising campaign!
Author Bio: Shaunak Wanikar is part of the marketing team at CallHub. Along with writing articles on the CallHub blog and partner websites, he also dabbles in social media marketing and creates infographics, product demo videos, and landing pages through WordPress. An engineering graduate with a penchant for movies, football, and books.