Looking to harness the power of visual communication and outreach for your nonprofit?  

You can easily begin to improve your engagement with current and potential supporters using impactful images and catchy captions on Instagram.

Never used Instagram before? Check out the Getting Started on Instagram guide to setup an account.

After following the steps to create your Instagram account, use the checklist below to amplify your marketing efforts on this channel.

Your Instagram Checklist

Follow Others to Build Your Network

Make sure to follow local businesses, your supporters, board members, and any other Instagram users you know to grow your following

Connect Your Instagram and Facebook Accounts

Make sure that your Instagram posts are automatically posted on Facebook. Connecting Facebook and Instagram harnesses the power of both social media platforms at once and allows you to reach a wider audience.

Socialize

Like your supporters’ posts, and consider re-sharing posts that stand out and speak to your cause. Showcasing the stories and individuals that propel your organization’s mission will help you gain more followers, recognition, and traction in advance of your events. Also, take this opportunity to cross-promote by liking and re-sharing other organization’s posts to boost visibility in your community.

Find Powerful Images

People-centric, positive images will help you draw in new followers. Focus on sharing images that speak to your organization’s mission and your target audience. Canva.com is a great way to take your own photographs or a stock image to the next level. If you want to include important dates, statistics, or quotes, Canva lets you add text right on top of the image as well as providing you with a suite of photoshop tools.

Use Creative Hashtags 

Using 3-5 hashtags per post is the sweet spot. Start with a branded or specific hashtag–like a tagline or fun phrase. Follow this with the name of your organization, then a broader hashtag tied to your cause. Having a succession of hashtags helps with branding! Don’t forget to include giving day-specific hashtags if you’re planning for an upcoming giving day.

Create a Schedule for Posting

We recommend posting at least 2-3 times per week to stay in your supporters feeds. If you integrate your Instagram posts with Facebook, you’ll want to consider how your Instagram posts will fit in with your other scheduled Facebook posts.

Consider making posts that show a chronological story – increase engagement and make an easy-to-follow schedule for your organization!

Host an Activity

Photo contests are a great way to include your supporters and make your posts more interactive! “Tag a friend” posts, ask your supporters to tag a friend in a post that you’d like to gain more traction in. Offer an incentive to encourage more participation! “Take-Over” Ask a staff member or supporter to take over your Instagram for a week. This allows you to showcase the individuals that make up your unique community, how they embody your mission, and what your organization means to them. “Take-Overs”  can help show the impact your organization has on the community.

Have fun!

Instagram is a really playful platform, and the perfect opportunity to let the unique personalities, humor, and convictions of your organization shine through your photos, captions, and hashtags. Instagram is a fantastic opportunity to relate to your supporters, showing them who you are and what you stand for.


Instagram Image Guidelines

Choosing the right image is key because it conveys a message about your organization and your team.

Consider the following criteria when deciding on photos:

  • Human-centric and personable
  • Pictures of smiling faces to convey the positive effect your organization has
  • Family-specific and/or individuals when possible, not just groups of individuals
  • Photos that convey a sense of urgency
  • Utilize Instagram filters
  • Shareable images
  • Images that highlight your organization’s brand
  • Images with quotes
  • Images that relate to your target audience
  • Create short videos or use Instagram’s live feed function (similar to Snapchat!) 
  • Capture and use images from live events or daily activities 
  • Customize photos with information, dates, text, and more!

Instagram Caption Guidelines

Just like your photo selection, you’ll want to use a caption that leaves a positive impression for your organization.

Consider the following for creating an effective and empowering caption:  

  • Front-load the more important content in your caption, as there’s a word cut-off “See more” section in these posts 
  • Include a clear call to action – maybe have a small “tag a friend” contest, or “repost”, “tag us in your photos of “x” effort”, “host a ‘takeover’ for a week”, etc.
  • Turn your posts and captions into a chronological journey when you’re working towards a specific appeal or campaign
  • Ask a question in your photo and caption
  • Direct people to a link in your bio 
  • Consider using links with UTM tracking codes
  • Instagram has a lighthearted tone, so be sure to leverage that!

Instagram Hashtag Guidelines

  • The magic number of hashtags really depends on their relevance to your content – HubSpot suggests to use 4, this article on LinkedIn says 11, and this article recommends 7! 
  • Your very first hashtag should be your organization’s name or brand (i.e., #GiveGab), then the next 1-2 should be your slogan or an aspect of what you do (i.e., #NonprofitGivingPlatform, #MoreHappyNonprofits), and the last hashtag should be community or generic-based hashtags (i.e., #OnlineFundraising, #NonprofitSoftware)
  • Keep in mind that hashtags can be a great way to show your nonprofit’s personality, humor, and wordsmithiness 🤓!! 

Follow these tips and watch your marketing efforts take flight! 😉 🕊

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