Is Instagram Right For Your Nonprofit?

Tina Jepson
Tina Jepson

To say that Instagram is a popular form of social media would be an understatement. In fact, as of mid-2017, Instagram reported an astounding 800 million users and 500 million daily users. That’s huge!

Thankfully, this image-focused social media platform, which is owned by Facebook, is poised to continue growing. Along with this growth comes the opportunity for businesses and nonprofit organizations to create a presence along with the rest of users and organically reach both current and prospective supporters.

So, has your nonprofit jumped on the Instagram bandwagon yet? Let’s break down the ins and outs of Instagram for your nonprofit.

The 411 on Instagram

This social media platform is based on a simple social sharing premise. Users upload pictures and short videos and share them either publicly or privately (depending on preference) as a permanent standalone post or disappearing “Instagram Story.” Instagram also allows users to tag others in photos and utilize hashtags to increase shareability and connections with others.

The 800 million-plus Instagram users are:

  • Predominantly female
  • Reside in the United States and abroad
  • Over 50% under 30 years old

In the realm of social media, Instagram stands out against the likes of Facebook and Twitter because it’s visually-focused. Through one image, video, or story, anyone can share their own story, whether that be the meal they’re enjoying, the party they’re attending, or the cause they’re supporting.

This picture tells a thousand words (and half of those words are synonyms of “mouth-watering”)

Is Instagram Right For Your Nonprofit?

You may be wondering: What does all this mean for my nonprofit? And the good news is that there’s a good chance Instagram can help increase your online presence and expand your organic reach.

Instagram may be right for you if you answer “yes” to any of these questions:

  • Do you want to gain visibility among younger donors?
  • Are you looking for ways to increase your relevancy?
  • Do you strive to find alternative methods to share your nonprofit story?
  • Are you utilizing community-driven fundraising techniques, such as peer-to-peer fundraising and social sharing?

Once you determine you’re ready to hop onboard the Instagram train, there are two big things to consider before incorporating your new account into your communications plan.

  1. Time: Instagram is a very active social media platform that requires regular posts to keep viewers engaged. This requires a definite time commitment.
  2. Content: Each Instagram visual should feature a picture/video that represents your nonprofit. Consider whether you have enough opportunities for content before you sign on.

Instagram Advantages

When push comes to shove, Instagram is a smart social media platform to use. Here are a few of the major benefits your nonprofit may experience using Instagram.

  1. It Illustrates Your Work: Nonprofits can use Instagram to put a face behind their organization. This platform allows your followers to see the inner-happenings of your nonprofit in a visual way. In fact, it’s a great (and likely welcome) change from the traditional graphs, infographics, and lengthy content featured in normal marketing materials such as your blog.
  2. You Keep Followers Updated: New content can (and should) be frequently added on Instagram. Many experts suggest uploading at least one picture per day. Each picture has the ability to further engage followers in your work and ensure that you remain relevant and top-of-mind daily.
  3. It Evokes Emotion: What better way is there to tell your nonprofit’s story than through a picture or video? Nonprofit storytelling is essential, and a well-timed and aesthetically pleasing visual can do wonders in evoking emotion from your online audience.
  4. You Can Post In Real-Time  In the past, nonprofits relied on newsletters and annual reports to share news and recap events. Today, nonprofits can upload pictures directly to social media like Instagram in real-time. There’s no better way for your followers to feel connected to your cause.
  5. Increased Visibility: Instagram allows posters to use both tags and hashtags, which naturally increase your public visibility. Tags connect people with your posts while hashtags detail the message behind your post.Stats prove just how important it is to use those tags and hashtags. Researchers found that tagging another user/business/nonprofit (using @ symbol) increases engagement by 56%. Likewise, posts with a hashtag (# ) generally experience a 12.6% spike in engagement. For example, Project AWARE used the following Instagram post to connect with other users searching for topics like #conservation, #scuba, and #ProtectOurOceans.InstagramHere’s a great way to incorporate tags and hashtags courtesy of The Justice Movement.instagram
  6. Engagement – Instagram naturally engages your audience because they have the opportunity to like, share, and comment. And, because engagement leads to retention, this is another way to keep your donors, in particular, interested in your work.


Instagram continues to grow, and if you are looking for a great way to reach a new audience, it’s definitely worth giving it a try.

Head to Instagram to sign up and get started. You’ll need a mobile device to upload your media, but you can engage with other users on a PC/Mac at your convenience.

Happy posting! @Causevox #InstagramForNonprofits #ReachNewDonors

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