How Can Nonprofit Development Directors Mobilize Social Media Followers?

8 Minute Read
mobilize social media audience - woman with bullhorn

How Can Nonprofit Development Directors Mobilize Social Media Followers?

8 Minute Read

Nonprofits fill a crucial need in society, but limited resources often mean your hands are tied.

This is why development directors need a plan to mobilize social media followers.

Nonprofit development directors are responsible for creating and implementing the fundraising strategies that sustain operations and scale their impact. 

With the rise of social media, you have powerful tools at their disposal for mobilizing supporters and raising funds. From Facebook to LinkedIn to TikTok to Mastodon, social media platforms offer a way for nonprofits to reach new audiences, cultivate engagement, and ultimately, drive donations. 

In this article, we will explore how nonprofit development directors can effectively leverage social media to mobilize their followers for fundraising, and the best practices and strategies that can help them achieve their goals.

raised hands - nonprofit developmentSteps to Build A Strong Social Media Presence For Your Nonprofit

To effectively mobilize social media followers for fundraising, nonprofit development directors must first build a strong social media presence. As with many things in the nonprofit world, the first steps are the most important.

This involves setting goals, defining the target audience, choosing the right social media platforms, creating and curating engaging content, and participating in the discussions already taking place in these online spaces.

  1. Setting clear goals is crucial. Development directors need to identify what they want to achieve with their social media presence, whether it’s to increase donations, raise awareness about a cause, or recruit volunteers. Once they have defined their goals, they can develop a strategy for achieving them.
  2. It’s important to identify the target audience. You must understand who your supporters are, what motivates them, and how they use social media. Keeping their audience in mind, development directors can tailor their messaging and approach to be most effective.
  3. Choosing the right social media platforms is also essential. Not all platforms are created equal, and nonprofits need to select the ones that align with their goals and audience. Let’s review some of the major players.
  4. Creating and curating engaging content is also key. Social media users are bombarded with content, so development directors need to ensure that their posts stand out. This means developing a strong brand identity, telling compelling stories, and sharing multimedia content.
  5. Finally, encouraging audience engagement through community management is essential for building a strong social media presence. You should be liking and responding to comments, replying to messages, asking for feedback, and creating opportunities for supporters to get involved. By fostering a sense of community and engagement, nonprofits can build a loyal following and drive donations.

What Social Media Platforms Are Good For Nonprofits?

Let’s look at the most common social media platforms nonprofits use to promote their causes.


Facebook is the “big” platform, making it great for reaching a broad audience. Facebook has nearly 3 billion users, the largest segment being men aged between 25 and 34, (accounting for 19% of all users). Men between 18-24 make up 15%, while women 24-35 are make up another 13%. 

Facebook makes it easy for nonprofits to set up fundraising campaigns and receive donations online. You can also create a donation button on your profile, posts, or ads and stream live videos and broadcast events. 


Instagram is a visual platform. Therefore, it’s an ideal option if you want to share photos or videos, but not as effective if you’d like to share text-heavy pieces. 

Instagram is owned by Meta, the company that owns Facebook, so, many of the same features on Facebook are also available on Instagram. However, Instagram’s demographics are not exactly the same; nearly 62% of its users are between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. The user base is evenly split between men and women.

Nonprofits must create an Instagram Business account to use the “fundraising and donations” features. This lets you feature donation buttons or stickers on your profile and stories or host a live fundraising event.


With a character limit of 280 per tweet, Twitter is a great choice to share quick updates and links to your site, or to have discussions with your followers.

It’s a popular place to start hashtag campaigns—a common strategy for nonprofits. A word or phrase preceded by a hashtag can raise awareness or spark a conversation.


Geared more toward business professionals between the ages of 46 and 55 years old, LinkedIn provides your nonprofit opportunities to network with potential partners, donors, volunteers, or prospective employees. The platform lets you post in-depth pieces about your mission and about the progress of your org’s activities.

LinkedIn lets nonprofits stream live videos from your profile—a good choice for hosting panel discussions or events. 


TikTok’s user base is largely teens and preteens sharing and watching videos that speak on the latest cultural trends. Viral videos can spread across these users in hours. If you want to make TikTok videos to get the message out about your organization in an entertaining way, TikTok is a good  choice.

How Can Nonprofit Development Directors Mobilize Social Media Followers? - hiker going uphillHow To Mobilize Social Media Followers For Fundraising

After building a strong social media presence, nonprofit development directors have to build campaigns that resonate with their followers. 

And yes—that is easier said than done.

But in a nutshell, this involves developing a clear and compelling message, highlighting the impact of donations, and creating a sense of urgency

Along the way, showcase the work of the organization and its beneficiaries; this builds trust and empathy among potential donors. Utilize video content and static imagery that features real human beings impacted and/or impacting the work.

To make it easy for followers to donate, integrate donation buttons or links in your org’s posts or profile pages. 

Don’t forget the power of peer pressure! Social media users are more likely to donate when they see their peers doing so. This means nonprofits can leverage social media influencers and ambassadors to spread the word and kickstart fundraising activities.

Measuring and tracking campaign success is crucial. Analytics tools can track key metrics such as engagement rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. You should also survey donors to gather feedback and insights that can inform future campaigns. Check out our donor segmentation cheat sheet to learn more.

Overall, mobilizing social media followers for fundraising requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. By building a strong social media presence and crafting compelling campaigns, nonprofits can harness the power of social media to drive donations and make a real difference in the world.

Mobilizing Social Followers: Case Studies

One nonprofit organization that has successfully mobilized their social media followers for fundraising is charity: water, an organization that works to bring clean water to communities in need. The organization has built a strong social media presence and has more than half a million followers on Instagram alone. 

Their campaigns leverage the power of visual storytelling to showcase the impact of their work, using photos and videos to connect with followers on an emotional level. They also make it easy for followers to donate through their social media channels, with clear calls to action that link to donation pages.

Another example is the Movember Foundation, which works to raise awareness about men’s health issues. The organization’s social media campaigns focus on encouraging men to grow mustaches during the month of November, with the goal of sparking conversations about men’s health. 

The campaign has been highly successful, with millions of dollars raised for men’s health programs around the world. Influencers help spread the word and encourage donations, helping to create a strong sense of community among its followers.

A third example is the American Red Cross, which uses social media to provide disaster relief services and raise funds for those affected. The organization has built a large following on Twitter, where it provides real-time updates about emergencies and encourages giving. They also use social media to engage with supporters and volunteers, sharing stories of the impact of their work and highlighting the contributions of individuals and organizations that support their mission.

Overall, these nonprofits have successfully mobilized their social media followers for fundraising by building strong social media presences, building compelling campaigns that resonate with their followers, making it easy for followers to donate, and leveraging the power of social media influencers and ambassadors. By following their example, you can harness the power of social media to advance your mission.

Social Media Challenges and Best Practices For Development Directors

Fundraising online can be daunting, but by following best practices, nonprofit development directors can mobilize their social media followers for fundraising. 

As you have probably already discovered, standing out in a crowded social media landscape isn’t easy. With so many organizations vying for attention, it can be difficult to capture the attention of potential donors and volunteers. 

Another hurdle is building a sense of community and engagement among followers, which is crucial for building trust and fostering long-term relationships.

To overcome these challenges, nonprofit development directors can follow a number of best practices. One key strategy is to focus on creating high-quality, engaging content that resonates with followers. This can include powerful stories, inspiring visuals, and real-time updates about the impact of donations. By building a strong emotional connection, nonprofits can build trust and grow donations.

Another best practice is to leverage the power of “The Influencer.” By partnering with individuals or organizations that already have large followings, nonprofits can amplify their message and reach a wider audience. This can be particularly effective when targeting specific demographics or interest groups.

Nonprofits can also overcome challenges by measuring and tracking their social media performance. By monitoring key metrics such as engagement and conversion rates, development directors can gain insights into what works and what doesn’t. They can then use this information to refine their social media strategy and improve their fundraising campaigns over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are some common mistakes nonprofits make when using social media for fundraising?

A: One common mistake nonprofits make is treating social media like a one-way communication channel, rather than a platform for building relationships with followers. This can lead to a lack of engagement and poor fundraising results. Another mistake is focusing too much on the ask, rather than providing value to followers. Remember: Your goal here is to inspire and to build community.

Q: How do you measure the success of a social media fundraising campaign?

A: There are a number of metrics that nonprofits can use to measure the success of a social media fundraising campaign. With Facebook Donation Ads, for example, you can measure donations, donate conversion value and donation return on advertising spend (ROAS). It’s important to set clear goals and benchmarks before launching a campaign, and to track performance over time to identify areas for improvement.

Q: Can social media followers become long-term donors?

A: Yes, social media followers can become long-term donors if nonprofits take a strategic approach to engagement and relationship building. This means providing value to followers, building a sense of community, and staying in touch with regular updates and communications. It’s also important to provide opportunities for ongoing engagement, such as volunteering or attending events.

Q: How do you maintain engagement with social media followers after a fundraising campaign ends?

A: Maintaining engagement with social media followers after a fundraising campaign ends requires ongoing effort and attention. Nonprofits should continue to provide value to followers, share updates about the impact of donations, and provide opportunities for ongoing engagement. This could include sharing educational content, hosting events or webinars, or highlighting individual stories of impact. It’s also important to continue to communicate regularly with followers, without always asking for donations.

The Takeaway: Mobilizing Your Audience Takes Work—But Is Worth The Effort 

From the days of MySpace and Friendster to today, social media has become an indispensable tool for nonprofit organizations seeking to raise awareness and funds for their causes.

Nonprofit development directors must stay up-to-date with the latest best practices and techniques for engaging and mobilizing their followers. That means setting clear goals, defining their target audience, and creating engaging content that provides value to followers. By leveraging social media influencers and ambassadors, nonprofits can amplify their message and reach a wider audience.

By using social media as a platform for building relationships and staying in touch with followers, your nonprofit can turn social media followers into long-term donors and advocates for your cause.

Nonprofits that take a strategic approach to engagement and relationship-building can reap the rewards of a strong and loyal community of supporters. By staying focused on their mission and providing value to their followers, nonprofit organizations can make a significant impact in their communities and beyond.



“raised hands” photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash 

“uphill hiking” photo by  Simon from Pixabay 

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