6 Tips for Building Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Following

Thoughts from our irreplaceable Creative Director, Jonathan Moore.


I came of age during the rise of social media, and if you did as well, we both probably got the same warning from our moms: “Remember, anyone, anywhere in the world can see what you post. Only post things you’d be comfortable with anyone seeing.”

Of course, I’ve got to give some props to my mom—there’s truly very little privacy on the Internet. If someone halfway across the world wanted to, they could find decade-old posts of mine. More to the point, if a future employer wanted to, they could find decade-old posts of mine. 😬

But as I’ve watched brands successfully and unsuccessfully use social media, I’ve found that my mom’s truism can also mask something even more true: though anyone can see what you post on social media, simply posting doesn’t mean your potential donors will see it. 

Organizations can’t just have a social media presence. Simply being present isn’t enough. Brands have to have an audience-building strategy for their social media activity. And the best strategy centers on delivering content your customers find valuable. 

So without further ado, here are six tips to building your organization’s social media following. 

Tip #1: Know your audience

Unless you have a crystal-clear idea of who your audience is, you’ll never build your social media following. Why? Because different people have different tastes, preferences, problems, and interests. Your primary audience’s age, gender, education, and occupation all play a big role in determining the type of content you should post. So start with getting to know your target audience. 

Tip #2: Go where your audience already is

This may sound obvious, but unfortunately many organizations make this marketing mistake. There are lots of social media platforms out there, but you don’t need to be everywhere! Pick the top two or three channels that your audience actually uses. Then do some research to figure out what type of content performs best on those platforms. 

Tip #3: Be human

Gone are the days when organizations sought to be buttoned-up and professional in all communications. These days, people are attracted to brands that are human—brands that are willing to let their hair down, poke fun at themselves, or embrace a few tasteful puns every once in a while. Now, using humor online doesn’t make sense for every organization. But when it comes to your social media activity, don’t be afraid to interact with your audience in a way that shows them your brand is made of real people, not robots. 

Tip #4: Focus on providing value 

This is probably the number one most important principle to online audience-building. Many brands put out content that’s interesting to them. But if you want to grow a following, you need to create content that your audience actually finds valuable. (Which means you have to understand their problems, needs, tastes, etc.) Another way of putting it is, be helpful. Don’t just focus on your organization and what you’re doing. Make your customer or your donor the hero. Figure out what type of content would provide the most value to them, and then go create it! 

Tip #5: When in doubt, keep it visual

Virtually all social media platforms use algorithms that rank different types of content over others. In general, high-quality photos and videos perform much better than simple text-based posts. Take advantage of any existing media your organization has or use a simple design program like Canva to generate compelling graphics. 

Tip #6: Be consistent with the help of an editorial calendar

Too many organizations rely on spur-of-the moment, ad-hoc posting. Remember, you get out what you put in. Creating an editorial calendar will allow you to see your posts at a macro-level and be more thoughtful about implementing your social media strategy. Plus, it’ll help you post more consistently, which is essential to growing a following. 

A better way of doing social media marketing

At Roundtree, we help nonprofits grow their donor base and take their marketing to the next level (including giving them a customized social media strategy). If you’re interested in learning more, drop us a line in the form below!


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