For many nonprofits, social media is a crucial part of their marketing mix. However, not all platforms are created equal. Take Instagram for example – a channel with over 400 million active daily users who spend an average of 53 minutes per day consuming content on the platform!
As most fundraisers know, the key to getting people to care about a cause is through storytelling that conveys not only the issues, but demonstrates the real-world impact an organization is making to solve problems. What better way for a nonprofit to show their tangible impact than through strategically placed photos/videos on Instagram?
Using Instagram, nonprofit organizations can:
- Drive interest for their cause by documenting their day-to-day work and highlighting the meaningful results of those efforts.
- Share updates in real-time through Instagram Stories which have a shelf life of 24 hours unless saved to Highlights. (As a bonus Instagram Stories now offers fundraising capabilities for eligible nonprofits through a “donate” sticker which is perfect for urgent/emergency appeals.)
- Garner support through creative asks:
- Perhaps your organization sells charitable products (Instagram can function as an ecommerce platform with shopable feeds)?
- Or maybe your organization is planning on stepping up your peer-to-peer fundraising efforts through an influencer campaign (influencers could include your “donate” sticker on their Instagram Stories)?
- If you have an Amazon Wishlist is might make sense to swap out your Instagram #LinkInBio or include your wishlist in a link in bio menu by using a platform like Linktree?
- Or you could take advantage of the powerful advertising tools on Instagram to drive supporters to make donations directly on your website?
Between the 1 billion+ monthly active users, the focus on visual storytelling, and the potential for driving charitable donations – it’s easy to see why many nonprofits are investing their social media efforts on Instagram! In fact, we’ve rounded up 7 of our favorite nonprofit Instagram accounts for your viewing/brainstorming pleasure:
One of our favorites when it comes to digital marketing, charity: water knows how to make us “feel all the feels”. Through stunning photography, their Instagram feed quickly conveys their mission (to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries) in a single glance. As a bonus, charity: water places an emphasis on the positives in its mission – even regularly thanking donors for their support.
Rainforest Alliance goes green – and we don’t just mean through the past 32 years they’ve spent working to advance biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods around the world. Their Instagram feed is rich with lush, green rainforest landscapes. Between frequent Instagram Stories, images of the farmers they work with, and no nonsense sustainability tips – Rainforest Alliance uses the platform to further their mission of creating a world where people and nature thrive in harmony.
Habitat for Humanity
Well known, but often misunderstood*, Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter. Through strategically placed visuals (usually of volunteers, homes and they people they serve) paired with informative copy – Habitat for Humanity uses Instagram to help re-educate people about their mission, while highlighting the tremendous impact they’ve been making since their formal founding in 1976.
*Contrary to some popular misunderstandings – Habitat for Humanity does not give away free homes to families in need. Instead, “Habitat’s homebuyers invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called sweat equity, working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners, in addition to paying an affordable mortgage and receiving financial education.”
Pencils of Promise
With one look at the Pencils of Promise Instagram feed, and you can easily see they serve school age children. To date, Pencils of Promise has completed over 500 school builds and enrolled nearly 100,000 children in school. As a result, their Instagram account highlights many of the children impacted by the organization and frequently encourages additional support through their monthly giving Passport program.
Animal charities are in luck, because who doesn’t love a cute four legged critter? Naturally, the ASPCA places animals front and center in almost every single Instagram post. However, they take it a step further by using Instagram Stories to better educate consumers about things like the difference between “cage-free” and “certified humane” eggs*.
*Fun fact: “Cage-free” eggs bans keeping hens in cages, but does not address antibiotic misuse. “Certified humane” requires cage-free and better welfare environments in addition to banning the misuse of antibiotics.
Team Rubicon has a unique mission – “to serve communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service, leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises”. Their Instagram feed is full of stunning imagery that highlights the impact of providing disaster relief while simultaneously conveying how rewarding the work can be veterans. Additionally, many of their Instagram Story Highlights are designed well and place vets front and center.
Revolutionary (and sometimes controversial), Planned Parenthood has been an iconic healthcare institution for over 100 years (currently operating more than 600 healthcare centers across the United States in addition to “delivering vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide”). Planned Parenthood’s account deviates from the popular “image heavy” Instagram feeds and instead opts for unique custom graphics and video clips. Through these visuals, Planned Parenthood unabashedly displays their core beliefs and appeals to their base supporters – while working to educate the masses while promoting acceptance, equality, and positivity.
Naturally, each of these nonprofits utilizes Instagram in their own unique way. However, the common thread is that they all tell their story by visually representing the people, animals, or communities they serve. With a quick 5 second glance at any of the above Instagram accounts, you can quickly guess at their mission. Can you say the same for your organizations Instagram feed?