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Using social media to take your digital fundraising from ‘meh’ to ‘wow’

As a follow-up to “Our top 5: Email campaigns meet social media” post earlier this year, we’re taking our digital content ideas around online fundraising a step further by offering you this step-by-step guide to cross-promoting fundraising content on social media. Our hope is that you can take this 5-step example as your guide and massage it to fit the needs of your next fundraising campaign.

For the purposes of this post, our organization, Awesome Nonprofit, has the following digital channels on which to share content:

  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Awesome Nonprofit is kicking off a 6-week fundraising campaign and is looking to spread the message about a new reading program for elementary students and the importance of supporting this program financially.

Step 1: Create campaign talking points and general messaging

We want to talk about this new program in a way that speaks to donors. Our goal will be to use testimonials from students who have already experienced the benefits from a trial-run program, images of tutors, teachers and kids participating/reading together, and statistics on what specific dollars amounts mean to the program. We will use “Did you know” statements followed by how our program strives to combat illiteracy in children and in turn, help them flourish as they continue in their school years (and into adulthood).

Step 2: Set up content and production calendars

Awesome Nonprofit knows that it will be sending 7 emails during this 6-week campaign—one every week and a final email as a “last chance to give” call to action on the final day of the campaign. Since those email dates are known, we start there in our content calendar, inputting the email send dates and the subject lines for each.

From there, we will fill in the dates where our social media content will also go live. These dates will mirror the email send dates and will include dates throughout the week in between each email that goes out.

Awesome Nonprofit tends to get a lot of engagement on Instagram and Facebook, with less engagement on Twitter. As such, we will post daily on Facebook and Instagram and post intermittently on Twitter.

Step 3: Write content and design imagery

Now that we know how many days we need to craft content for, we write. Writing the long-form copy first (emails) is a great place to start. From there, we will pull bite-sized pieces of content to share through the campaign on our social media channels to match up with the dates we have identified to post content from our calendar, above.

The same is true for our images. Now that we know which channels we’ll be posting on (and how many images we need) we can create images in the correct sizes for the channels to which they will post starting with our email imagery and working our way to additional sizes. Here’s a cheat sheet to get started:

  • Facebook images: 1200×630 pixels
  • Instagram images: 1080×1080 pixels
  • Twitter images: 440×220 pixels

Story images and LinkedIn images have different dimensions as well. Sometimes, these dimensions change throughout the year just enough to have to tweak your imagery. SproutSocial has an always up-to-date guide that you can bookmark for such occasions.

Step 4: Schedule content using third-party applications

Awesome Nonprofit is feeling good. All of our messaging has been created, our images are looking fresh and we’re ready to launch this campaign with the help of some scheduling tools. We create our 7 emails using our favorite email software program and pre-schedule them to send automatically (with thank you emails to boot) and then we move to schedule all of our social media content as well.

Step 5: Monitor, engage, repeat.

Now that our campaign content has been scheduled, we know that we can’t just “set it and forget it”. The hard part is over, which is where the fun begins—engagement! While we know that our content is going out on a schedule, we also set reminders for ourselves to check in on the channels to see if we have received any bounce back emails that need to be updated, if people are commenting on our social media posts or if any retweets, mentions or direct messages are coming in that we should respond to.

Tools to help

One of the great things about planning ahead is the ability to schedule your content, as we mentioned above. There are many great third-party scheduling tools out there that can help you pre-schedule your social media content across channels so it’s not as daunting to do it all in real-time. A few of our favorites include:

  • Sprout Social
  • CoSchedule
  • Loomly
  • Hootsuite
  • Zoho

If you don’t have a third-party email software system that you love, we also offer a breakdown of the best email marketing platforms for nonprofits on our blog.

Images, images images

Sometimes all we need to take our social media content from ‘meh’ to wow is a great image. If imagery is something that is holding you back, try a tool such as Canva to inspire you and create custom imagery that still speaks to your mission. and other sites that offer royalty-free or images as part of a Creative Commons license that you can use as content for your organization. The best images will always be ones that accurately represent your nonprofit’s work and the impact it has had on others.

The next time you kick off an online fundraising campaign, think about how all of your digital channels can work together. How will you use creative copy, catchy imagery and strong calls-to-action to make your social media channels stand out from the rest when it’s time to bring in those donations?

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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