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Charlie Quinn

Published on

May 7, 2024


Causes, social media, TEAM LEWIS Foundation

With nearly 4 billion social media users worldwide, it’s safe to say that there’s a large online audience today. While some people use social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram to keep up with friends, many use them to engage with various organizations.

Besides the fact that there is such a vast number of social media users, there are many reasons your nonprofit should be posting online: 

  • Build trust: Posting on social media builds trust between you and your followers as you demonstrate your authentic voice and knowledge of your industry.
  • Promote events: You can post details about in-person events or host virtual events, such as galas, adoption meet-n-greets, community events, town halls, etc.
  • Expand reach: Social media allows you to reach new people and share your message and mission.
  • Fundraising: Social media fundraising is available on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to encourage followers to get virtually involved.

According to Nonprofit Source, 55% of individuals who engage with nonprofits on social media take action, and 59% of those donate money.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a few notes about the various trends we see on social media and for nonprofit organizations.

Data and AI are here to stay

We’re seeing all sorts of new technologies emerging – AI will impact content creation across the board, including social media.

According to the Salesforce State of Marketing Report, there has been an 184% increase in marketers’ use of AI, jumping from 29% to 84%. By 2026, the AI market’s value is expected to reach $3.715 billion.

AI isn’t a replacement for humans, but it can help streamline workflows, generate ideas, and pinpoint what your audience is looking for content-wise. So, we suggest looking at your social calendar and lightening your workload using AI. At the same time, the game is changing—and fast. Be on the lookout for new use cases for AI and be ready to think creatively about how AI can be helpful in the nonprofit sphere.  

Using platforms like ChatGBT, ClickUp, BardAI, etc. would be beneficial to nonprofit organizations because it can help to: 

  • Provide knowledge by summarizing ideas and answering questions with general accuracy 
  • Boost productivity by writing outlines for grants, thank you messages, and more. In turn, this can reduce staff workload 
  • Improve the creative process by sparking new ideas 
  • This can be helpful for first drafts of content such as social media posts and thank you letters. It can also run variations on what it puts out by refining the prompt or providing additional details. 

Companies are investing more in video content

Videos work particularly well for nonprofits because they let you tell your story clearly and vividly. What better way to demonstrate what your organization does than by interviewing the people you’ve helped or showing footage of volunteers in action. A behind-the-scenes video of your organization at work or a feature about the impact of donations can powerfully convey your organization’s mission and create a personal and emotional connection with viewers.

Video made up 82% of all online traffic last year, and many people online increasingly expect marketers to produce more video.  

Unlocking engagement potential with short-form video

Video content has come a long way in a few years, making it an affordable and easy-to-use option for many nonprofits who want to reach donors online. Short-form video is precious because it’s inexpensive, informal, and easy to post.  

With TikTok dominating the social scene and other platforms jumping on board with their offerings, be they Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts, video content is here to stay. 

  • Almost 93% of global internet users watch digital videos each week, and 90% of global marketers are increasing or maintaining their investment in short-form videos this year.  
  • 73% of consumers prefer to watch a short video instead of a text-based article, e-book, or infographic to learn about a product or service. 
  • In 2021, nearly 76 million people in the US scanned a QR code on their mobile devices, a 15.3% increase compared to 2020. That rise is expected to continue, and by 2025, the usage of mobile QR code scanners is projected to reach approximately 99.5 million users.

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and almost every other major platform have a short-form option for video content. You should explore any platform you’re currently invested in to see the video formats it supports. If short-form video is available, building some content around it is wise.

Short-form videos should play a crucial part in your outreach strategy. Some ways that short-form videos can be used are: 

  • Share links in your direct mail 
  • Play them at events 
  • Post them across social media. 
  • Additionally, QR codes are gaining enormous ground, especially with the donor’s cousin, the consumer. Use QR codes to introduce videos into spaces previously reserved for words or static images.

Short behind-the-scenes videos, messages from your members, or videos of your staff or beneficiaries can work. The key is authenticity. Your short-form video should reinforce that human connection that makes people invest in your cause.

Employee advocacy increases organic reach

In a world where organic content isn’t what it used to be and ad spend rules the world, brands can leverage employees as brand ambassadors to boost their organic content, have more control over brand messaging, and build brand presence. As a bonus, it helps employees develop their professional profiles. 

  • A recommendation from a friend or family member makes 83% of Americans more likely to purchase that product or service. 
  • According to Hinge Marketing, over 87% of those surveyed said that employee advocacy contributed to expanding their professional network, and 76% believed it helped them keep up with industry trends.

Word-of-mouth marketing is an excellent minimal-cost strategy to tap into to increase donations. Hively taps into all of the aspects that for-profit corporations dream of: 

  • Passionate employees 
  • Mission-focused staff 
  • Team mentality that is dedicated to the cause they work toward every day

User-generated content and influencer marketing makes an impact

User-generated content (UGC) and influencer marketing might sound complicated, but every time you take a photo of your daily latte and post it online, boom. In a time when everyone has something to sell, people are gravitating toward authenticity and humanity, making UGC your ticket to social media success. 

  • About 90% of consumers report that UGC influences buying decisions more than marketing emails and search engine results. 
  • 72% of Gen Z and Millennials follow influencers on social media, over 40% of the US population. 
  • In 2022, people watched influencer content 13.2 times more than media and brand content.

For UGC, the key is not to overthink it – nonprofit organizations already use UGC, usually in the form of client testimonials and the nonprofit’s story. We recommend that Hively keep doing what you know, lean into your unique story, and be the influencer you want to see in the world.

Digital nonprofit marketing reigns supreme

While COVID-19 threw a significant wrench into the workings and operations of nonprofits (especially those that were most dependent upon in-person events), the pandemic increased total charitable giving in America in 2020 and 2021. While giving levels have not maintained that high post-pandemic, there is a whole new world of online sharing options that the lockdown helped usher in.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to make it easy to donate online and to hone your digital marketing strategy. Here’s what you need to know about digital nonprofit marketing in 2024: 

  • Men and married couples have increased their share of donations, opening up new audience opportunities. 
  • Millennials are giving more than ever as donor audiences continue to get younger and younger (or nonprofits get more thoughtful about marketing to younger audiences). 
  • Travel and volunteering mean in-person activity has resumed, although digital engagement is vital to your nonprofit marketing strategy. 
  • Memberships remain an essential revenue driver, especially for cultural nonprofits and public media.

Making donating easier across multiple marketing channels

With any nonprofit organization, the ease for new and existing members to donate and your donation process can be impactful.

In the recent past, we’ve seen drastic improvements to the process, including (but not limited to):

  • Social media fundraisers that allow you to donate without ever leaving the platform
  • One-click buy opportunities similar to Amazon’s button that leverage technology like PayPal, Google Pay and Apple Pay
  • Giving using crypto and other non-traditional financial methods
  • Donations via text messaging, suitable from mobile devices

A challenge asked during some of our internal workshops is seeing if you can meet your donors on their favorite channel and make donating take 30 seconds or less. Your goal should be building a giving platform that doesn’t require someone to get up and find their credit card. The attention span of the general population has decreased significantly, so time is even more valuable now!

Interested in the work we’ve done with non-profit organizations across the globe? Check out our 2023 Impact Report.

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