5 Simple Strategies to Delight Your Donors on Social Media

Blog post by Lieve Hendren and Francesca Furchtgott (3.5-minute read)

Among all the hats that nonprofit professionals wear, you might feel that the hat of social media manager can be a daunting one. It’s time to approach your content with a focus on delighting donors! Find new and engaging ways to refresh your feed in this blog post written by Alford Group’s Director of Strategic Partnerships Lieve Hendren and content expert Francesca Furchtgott, Founder of ConiferCo, a brand and content marketing agency.

Delighting Your Donors Where They Are

Do you struggle to get your message out in front of your donor base? Is it challenging for you to connect with donors on social media? Are you tired of posts getting likes and shares – but not bringing in new supporters?

In a world where we are constantly inundated with information, it’s easy to feel discouraged about grabbing your donors’ attention. My suggestion? It’s time to get creative!

Imagine conversing with supporters about the amazing work you’re doing while they are waiting in line at the grocery store or brushing their teeth before bed. These mundane moments are a prime time to connect with your donors. You can create a spark of excitement and deepen a relationship by sharing content that inspires, educates, entertains and even injects a dose of positivity. The opportunities are plentiful, but if your social media strategy isn’t compelling enough for donors to linger and engage, social media algorithms will knock you off their feed. Let’s dive into some ways to get the ever-illusive algorithm to work with you, not against you.  

Here are our 5 social media hacks to delight your donors:

1. Focus on engagement.

One of the paradoxes of social media is it presents doors into a viewer’s most intimate space – the nooks and crannies of their work and personal lives – but not all content will necessarily guarantee entry. Over 4.88 billion people (yep, that’s about 60.6% of the world!) are now active on social media as of July 2023.

Being active on social media is different than actually engaging with the content presented. Most people just scroll without double-tapping. For example, 85% of smartphone users have the Facebook app, but the average engagement rate for a Facebook post is 0.07%. (Engagement rate is usually measured as the sum of the likes, comments, and shares divided by the number of impressions.) This is just one channel across the variety of other platforms that  We recommend brushing up on multigenerational donor journey mapping in this webinar facilitated by donor engagement experts from Yes& Lipman Hearne.

What can you do to get more engagement from your audience? Be honest about the content that you are showing. Put yourself in their shoes: what will your audience really care about?  Focus your social media strategy on delighting and engaging donors with irresistible content that deepens interest and builds a meaningful connection between your supporters and your organization.

2. Use the Story feature. 

Every day, the average social media user is served with an influx of competing posts, stories, and ads from family, friends, influencers, marketers – and their favorite nonprofits! This competition on social media platforms makes it challenging for any message to stand out. But here’s where the beauty of storytelling shines.

Everyone loves a good story. If you can make a story with a beginning, middle, and end, people will stay engaged and keep clicking through.

When posts use a storytelling framework, they cut through the noise, resonating deeply with the audience. With the right narrative development and visuals that are simple but impactful, your message will have a better chance of grabbing your audience’s attention. Instead of overloading your audience with data, consider vivid imagery and minimalistic design.    

One generative tactic right now is creating a series of Instagram Stories to do just what the name implies – tell a story! Share a series of 3-5 photos or short videos walking through your program or service. This is where, if appropriate, you can give donors a sneak peek of what it’s like to benefit from your nonprofit.

Then add a link that calls viewers into action inside the story on the final Instagram Story screen. It gives viewers an easy way to click over to your website or donation page, rather than having to click through more of the app to access the “link in bio” option on your profile.

Bonus points: For lasting content, turn your Instagram Story into a reel!

3. Make it a video!

Video reigns on social media today. 82% of people prefer watching a video to reading social media posts, and the algorithms prioritize video as a result. But video doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. In fact, a focus on perfect videos is one of the most common reasons nonprofits don’t share video at all – and that’s a mistake.          

Off-the-cuff videos help supporters get closer to the authentic action and “put a friendly face” to your nonprofit.

If you’re not quite comfortable with off-the-cuff video, create a video out of static images. You can even ‘trick’ the algorithm by creating a short video clip with one static image and some background music. Since Instagram and Facebook prioritize reels and videos respectively, uploading your regular picture as a Reel (rather than a static post) can boost its ranking in the algorithm. It’s an easy hack to get more viewers without too much extra work into content creation!

People especially love social media posts that feature team members, donors and volunteers. When you highlight a team member, friends and family get in the game. They can’t wait to cheer on your team members and are excited to see the faces of the heroes behind the work that they contribute to. 

Those temporary boosts from outside family and friends raise initial engagement rates on these posts. Pretty soon, the buzz will have all of your other employees comment and celebrate on the post to get in on the action, further affirming to the algorithm that these posts are a priority piece of content.

4. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

If you’re concerned that your posts aren’t reaching a big enough audience or falling on deaf ears, it might be time to recalibrate your expectations around social media marketing.

First, let go of virality. There’s a common misperception that posts on social media should go viral, or else you’re doing something wrong. The reality is, good engagement on a post means that if you add the number of likes and comments, those equal 2% or more of the number of people who saw the post. Let’s repeat that for good measure: 2% is a good engagement rate!

Next, remember that repetition is key. With today’s digital clutter, people need to hear something 7 times before they take action. You might be wondering, Am I going to fatigue donors by saying the same thing over and over? The answer is no. And that’s a win-win for you, because it makes strategic content marketing a heck of a lot easier.

Instead of starting from scratch, create five core messages, or messaging pillars. Then brainstorm seven different ways you can say that same message. Just think:

5 messaging pillars x 7 different ways = 35 pieces of content

That’s more than enough content for one post every day for a month!

This amplifies your content and provides greater messaging clarity and consistency. So, it’s actually easier for your marketing strategy to get heard and noticed by your donors.

Don’t shy away from recycling previously posted content. Rather than reinventing the wheel, amplify your best content from the archive. That blog post you wrote last year about a particular project? Repost a link to it with an update! This strategy works especially well for small nonprofits barely keeping up with one channel.

5. Send invitations. 

Here’s a last tip to boost your social media engagement and spread the message about your nonprofit’s incredible impact, today!

Send a specific email to your current list asking for supporters to follow you on social media. If they already follow you, ask them to invite one other friend, colleague or family member to follow, too.

Typically, nonprofit donors and volunteers love to receive these emails. It provides an instant way to connect and show that they’re a supporter of your amazing work. With the click of the ‘follow’ button, they are helping the visibility of your nonprofit right away.      

It also lets your supporters know where to ‘hang out’ with you in the digital space and gives them the satisfaction of doing their part in spreading the word about your nonprofit.

Your organization is doing amazing work. You deserve to share your message and get seen on social media. We can’t wait to watch your engagement climb and get the recognition you deserve!

This blog post was co-authored by Alford Group Senior Consultant and Director of Strategic Partnerships Lieve Hendren and content expert Francesca Furchtgott, Founder of ConiferCo, a brand and content marketing agency.

About Francesca Furchtgott

Francesca Furchtgott founded ConiferCo in 2018 because she loved helping lean teams increase their impact. She has extensive experience working with C-Suite leaders across myriad industries to create innovative campaigns and digital products.