Social Media for Nonprofits: Driving Altruism

This is the second part of our ongoing series devoted to social media for non-profits. In the first installment, we offered basic tips to help elevate social media efforts for your association.

A recent Forbes article by Roger Dooley, “Nonprofits: Driving Behavior with Social Media,” explores “the huge opportunity that social media offers to nonprofit groups.” In fact, social media provides many nonprofits unparalleled exposure for little to no cost. By appealing to members’ altruistic instincts, nonprofits can use social media to drive retention, memberships, and donations.

To highlight the possibilities of social media for social good, article author Dooley uses Facebook’s promotion of organ donation. The campaign spurred an unprecedented +2,000% increase in organ donation sign-ups and earned a lot of buzz in the process. Your association can use the same principals on a smaller scale to achieve success (after all, we don’t all have the backing of Mark Zuckerberg).

Dooley states that “humans are wired for altruism” and he offers examples in evolutionary biology that illustrate this statement. But, how can a non-profit use that to gain support? By publicly acknowledging, thanking and encouraging donations on your social media page, non-profits can reward and publicly recognize altruism. This drives behavior in two ways; it feeds members and donors natural inclinations for altruistic behavior and provides positive recognition and rewards for giving.

Are you curious about some other ways to use social media to drive behavior for your non-profit? Try these tips:

  1. Share Successes. By sharing successes on social media, your non-profit association is providing positive proof of how donations help carry out your mission.
  1. Tell Stories. According to The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani, you shouldn’t be afraid to share success stories and explain why you are proud of a project. Just be sure to … “do it gracefully and genuinely. People are smart and can usually sense when you aren’t being genuine.”
  1. Use social media to get online PR. Kabani also explains that bloggers and reporters often follow Twitter and other social media for stories. So, if you are sharing genuine content on these channels, try to make friends with these folks. According to Kabani, “They need stories as much as you need the press.”

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