How Nonprofits Can Show Love on Social Media

We asked some of our favorite nonprofit tech friends to explain how organizations can show social love to different types of supporters such as donors, influencers and activists, and what the love looks like on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

But first, why does social love matter (and what is it)? Social love is just like it sounds – liking, retweeting, following your supporters, etc.  In the age of engagement, social love serves to increase the commitment from your people by demonstrating that their voice matters.

Here’s what turner4, See3, BOULDERSTRATEGIES, ActionSprout, Fission Strategy, CauseVox and Beth Kanter had to say:

Showing Social Media Love to Influencers

large head shotBeth Kanter, Master Trainer, Speaker, Author

Do your research first. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received requests that just fit my personal brand or interests or are so off they are funny!

After you’ve identified influencers, take the time to read their blog, posts, or what they’re sharing and really think whether your cause or campaign is a good match.

Cultivate.   Don’t ask them for something cold. Maybe start by responding to comments on their posts or sharing their material. Try appreciation before asking.

Don’t have every touch be an ask.  Don’t be that neighbor that is constantly asking you for a cup of sugar and not giving anything in return. Take the time for cultivation and make sure you are thinking about reciprocity in your approach — “give me give me give me” is a real turn off.

Make it easy. Influencers are busy – so once you are ready to ask them to do something – make it super easy.   Give them biolerplate they can revise or images they can share. Don’t just ask them to help with providing some support materials.  Don’t overwhelm them either. Don’t include everything in your ask email – have a nice mini-site to direct them to.

Say thank you.  If someone does a favor for you, it is polite to say thank you.

How to Show Activists Social Love

alan_web_hi-resAlan Rosenblatt, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy, turner4D

Showing a little bit of social love to your activists is the secret sauce to keeping them engaged and likely to keep them doing more for your campaign.

While sometimes that may mean a retweet or a share of one of their posts, other times just liking a Facebook comment or a tweet is enough to elicit a smile from them.

That way, even if their post does not rise to the level of being share-worthy, you can simply like it to show your appreciation without adding their post to your timeline.

This is very important, because while it is always a best practice to reinforce social engagement, sharing/retweeting everyone who engages with you may dilute the effectiveness of your own timeline. Having the flexibility to show some love without diluting your impact is one of the greatest assets social media offers to any campaign.

YouTube Love

Bridgett_BlogBridgett Colling, Director of Content Strategy, See3

Showing social love on YouTube is all about collaboration. By combining forces with other nonprofits or YouTube Creators who care about your cause and creating a video together, you can help your message travel farther, reaching new audiences and moving them to action.

YouTube recently released a new called donation cards, which allow people on YouTube to donate to nonprofits without leaving the video they are watching on most devices. Nonprofits can use donation cards on their own videos to drive more viewers to donate, but these cards are even more effective if you can use them in partnership with popular YouTube Creators who already have a substantial reach to a wide audience.

YouTube Creators – people like PewDiePie, Franchesca Ramsey, and Tyler Oakley – all have massive audiences they can leverage to help drive viewers to causes that they care about. When trying to connect with a YouTube Creator, it’s helpful to explore their past videos and think about how their interests can connect with your cause.

For more helpful advice on connecting with YouTube Creators (and how to use donation cards), check out YouTube’s new guide for nonprofits with insights on effective ways to partner with their channel’s biggest influencers.

Showing Political Candidates Facebook Love

nickNick Passanante, President of BOULDERSTRATEGIES

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, the question on everybody’s mind is: how can your political campaign get more social love? We wanted to outline some key recipes to improve engagement and offer up some content strategies so you can “pick up” more likes, shares, and effectively deliver your message to your audience.

Finding your first love on Facebook has no exact formula but these 3 best organic practices are good first steps.

Timing.  You never want to be late — especially when you post content on Facebook. Everybody’s audience is different, so to know that optimal time click the insights option on Facebook and see the time that most of your audience has engaged with you. Post regularly (at least a couple of posts a day) at different times to get a read for you audience and use different tools — like! — to help figure out what’s trending at the most opportune moments!

Geo-Target.  Geo-target your audience so that you’re spreading a more relevant and timely message. On Facebook you have the option to make a post visible to those in a certain geographic location. Take advantage of this feature and spread targeted messages to different audiences.

Images & Graphics.  Posting a block of words can be unflattering. Change things up and post some high-quality pictures and share graphics with a a clear call-to-action. If making graphics is too much a strain on your organization, consider using easy-to-use sites like Canva or Piktochart to make graphics in no time. A picture is worth a thousand words so consider using images to convey your message over a block of words.

These three surefire recipes will make a difference in engagement, but ultimately, to get more eyes on important messages and content, consider boosting posts. But be advised, no amount of money can buy you love!

How NOT to Show the Love on Facebook

drewDrew Bernard, Co-Founder ActionSprout

Have you ever been in a relationship with at person that seems only to take but never give? When you run into them at a party, at the office or on the street, they instantly start telling you about things in their life. When you go out to dinner, they let you pick up the check, every time. When do say anything about your life the conversation ends up spun right back around to be about them.

If you have someone like this in your life, you have probably gotten pretty good at avoiding them. When you walk by them and hear them talking, you certainly don’t jump in. In fact, you probably quicken your pace to avoid getting sucked in.

What if I told you that on Facebook, your organization may be that person? Check out these signs that your organization is a love sponge:

  • You only post content that tells the story you want people to hear.
  • You seldom ask yourself if your community values the content you are about to post.
  • You don’t monitor what content is doing well and what topics your Facebook community cares about and engages with.
  • You seldom respond to comments on your posts, and when you do, you speak as “the organization” not as yourself.
  • You think more about your Facebook Fan count than you do the number of people you’re engaging with in meaningful ways on the platform.

If any of these things sound like you, it’s time to step back and rethink what you’re doing on Facebook and whether you really care about the community members that are engaging with you.

Twitter Love on Valentines

Adriana side (1)Adriana Dakin, Senior VP of Strategy and Research, Fission Strategy

How to show social love? That’s easy! … Because warmth and positivity work best on social media anyway. And it inspires more good work in the world. Never a bad thing.

You can probably name off some of the people you’re most grateful to for their contributions online and the amazing work that they do.

Valentine’s is a good time to show that feeling of gratitude, and mentioning them will help you get engagement.

Here are the steps I’d recommend:

  • Start making a list of the individuals, organizations, and companies you appreciate the most … just off the top of your head … and find their Twitter handles.
  • Look at and search your Twitter handle or hashtags you’re most engaged in to see whom the top contributors are … for a more scientific look.
  • Use (if you’re lucky enough to have an account) to find high Klout influencers from your list who are doing great work in the world … for a way to connect with movers and shakers who care about you and vice versa.
  • Check’s Reach tab to see which of your top followers on Twitter are people you care about.

Then you’re ready to create a visual or a couple images in the spirit of Valentine’s that includes text overlay like “Happy Valentines Day!” and your logo or name. No designer handy? Try — a tool we at Fission Strategy enjoy using for quick social media share images. You might look for an image of a heart that ties into your work. For example if you’re a conservation organization, find a photo of a heart found in nature, like in tree bark, as we did for Boreal Manitoba.

If you have many Valentine’s tweets to share, spread them out over the weekend (you can use the Twitter Ads tweet scheduler under the Creatives tab) and customize the text for each to have variety. Happy #ValentinesDay!

Showing Social Love with Fundraising

headshotCandace Cody, Customer Service Advocate, CauseVox

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching-and it’s the perfect time of year to consider how well you are showing love to your donor base and social media following. When running any kind of fundraising campaign, it’s easy to let promotion for your campaign take over your social accounts.

Our instincts tell us that if we promote our own stories, if we highlight our successes, then we will gain a broader donor base. Right?

Wrong. The more nonprofits promote and engage with their current audience and donors, the more people will want in.

For example, Grey2K, a nonprofit focused on abolishing the practice of greyhound racing, demonstrated this principle in their GivingTuesday campaign. They succeeded in doubling their goal by raising $10,000, with a matching gift, with a campaign that was highly promoted on social media.

A big part of their success was that Grey2K knew the power of sharing supporter posts on social media. Often retweeting anyone talking about their campaign, starting conversations with those tweeting about greyhound racing, and even giving shoutouts to donors, Grey2K’s community certainly felt loved.

By giving their audience a voice and engaging with their content, Grey2K fostered a community that really cared about their issues and, when asked, were enthusiastic about giving above and beyond the need. In addition, by engaging with their audience’s content it also served as social proof, showing others interested in their cause that the organization could be trusted.

Stepping back from promoting ourselves in order to raise others up attracts more people to your nonprofit’s mission, vision, and purpose. It increases the chances of them taking further action on behalf of your nonprofit.

Here’s a few ways you, too, can show some social love to your donors:

  • Retweet relevant posts from supporters or followers
  • Engage in their posts: start a conversation
  • Reach out to key donors and share their stories
  • After someone makes a donation, offer a thank you on Twitter

Let’s be honest, your nonprofit couldn’t do the wonderful things it does without your donors. This Valentine’s Day, and in all your fundraising efforts, take some time to show your constituents some social media love.

Donor Love Starts With This

Jeanette Russell, Director of Marketing,

Show interest in your donors by following them on Twitter before you ask them for another gift. It’s an incredibly easy way to let them know you’re interested in who they are (especially if they share your message with their social networks).

Simply retweeting or favoriting a donor is an easy win because 1) it’s easy to do, 2) it’s real engagement, and 3) you just reminded them why they gave to you and perhaps, why they should give again.

If you’re like most groups, finding this information is doable, but a hassle with many systems. Ideally, you should be able to run a report that shows which donors you follow and which donors follow you. This is one of the many social insight features we offer at (


Understand Your Supporters Better with Our Audience Insights Report

Social Reach Image

Find your people on social by requesting our free Audience Insights Report. We’ll match up to 5,000 of your emails to show you who you follow, who follows you, what networks people in your CRM use and lot’s more.

Jeanette Russell
About Jeanette Russell

Passionate to engage stakeholders to solve technical and political issues through transformational initiatives. My deep understanding of technology, partnerships, marketing, advocacy, fundraising, nonprofits, startups and self-directed nature is my brand. I’ve created extensive partner networks, coalitions, spearheaded innovative campaigns and significantly increased revenue/funding for purpose driven ventures.

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4 thoughts on “How Nonprofits Can Show Love on Social Media

  1. Hi Jeanette,

    This is a great piece you’ve put together! I wanted to thank Adriana for the TweetReach by Union Metrics shoutout. We appreciate it!

    We also have a free Instagram account checkup tool that a lot of non-profits might be interested in using to boost their presence on Instagram. (It can be found here:

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    – Sarah A. Parker
    Social Media Manager | Union Metrics
    Fine Makers of TweetReach, The Union Metrics Social Suite, and more

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