What Can We Learn from Non-Profit Social Media Campaigns

“Just Do It.” They say. “I don’t care how much it costs.”

Well, that’s all very well and good when you are a brand name or a for profit company that has a marketing budget. However when you don’t have that luxury you have to be a bit more creative, and I am often inspired by how non-profits with limited advertising budgets use social media to create successful marketing campaigns.

Customized Content

Remember last summer when ALS broke social media records with the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was on every social network. That’s when we really noticed that social media was the perfect medium for non-profits to get exposure with almost no cost. It was the creating of a customizable social campaign that worked. It was adapted to each viewer and changed the way they saw fit, allowing them to impart experiences and thoughts, and it’s this that made it go viral.

Empower the Fans

The United Nations World Humanitarian Day campaign managed to get 1 million views by empowering their fan base. They asked fans to sign-up and share a pre-populated post that could also be customized. The post was released to all fans at the same time giving the post more muscle than the average post.  It was one that went viral immediately.


It comes down to this. Who do you believe? A trusted friend or a company talking about its product? Social media platforms allow for others to make recommendations or participate. If I receive a letter asking for a donation, I might forget it, but if I receive a request on Facebook, especially one that is circulating several times around, I will probably pay more attention. This is called social validation and it is worth a lot, so you always want to expand into new audiences.

Find Partners

Finding a marketing team to help can significantly increase the success of the campaign.  Both corporate and non-profit should look to leverage their network o get mutual benefits.

Bottom Line

Yes, there are many lessons to be learned from a non-profit. As they say, you can’t just throw money at something and expect it to work. Using social media to market takes creativity and keeping in mind these simple ideas that have worked for non-profits, even without a large marketing budget.

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