Instagram for Nonprofits: Ideas, Tips, and Best Practices to Know
Instagram isn’t just about vacation photos and pretty filters anymore. It’s a crucial way for all organizations — including nonprofits — to communicate, grow their following, and share their message. That’s why Instagram for nonprofits is so important.
Over a billion people use Instagram every month, and 81% of those people use Instagram to research products and services. If you think that’s not relevant to nonprofits, think again! Your audience takes their donations just as seriously, if not more so, than other kinds of buying decisions.
Your audience, supporters, and donors are already spending time on Instagram. Getting your message out on this platform is your route to getting their eyes, clicks, and donation dollars over to your actual online fundraising or crowdfunding campaign.
Today, we’re sharing some of the tips, tricks, and best practices nonprofits need to use Instagram more effectively. We’ll also be sharing some free templates to help you get started.
Keep reading, and you’ll master the art of using Instagram for nonprofits in no time!
Amplifying your nonprofit story on Instagram
As we’ve explained, Instagram’s power is the amount of time and attention your audience already spends there.
If you’re an online fundraiser worth your salt, you already know the power of storytelling to inspire action, create passionate advocates, and show people why they should care about your cause.
Together, Instagram and your campaign story are a super-powerful combination! Instagram is the perfect place to introduce your cause, share regular updates on your progress, and put your beneficiaries front and centre.
If you approach Instagram right, your audience will see new exciting, emotionally affecting updates about how you’re making the world a better place every time they open the app. What could be better for your fundraising goals than that?
What kind of content should nonprofits post on Instagram?
Nonprofits should use Instagram to tell their story. But you’ve got near-endless options for how to do that!
Here are some suggestions for engaging, entertaining, and educational types of content nonprofits can post to Instagram.
But whatever you choose, always keep those you help — and how you’ve impacted them — in the spotlight.
500 million people use Instagram Stories every day. They’re a central part of the platform, every bit as important as users’ feeds.
Stories add an authenticity and immediacy to your nonprofit’s Instagram content. Share honest, real-time pictures and videos from your events, and day-to-day community work. If you want them to be accessible for longer, save them to the themed Highlight collections that display at the top of your profile.
Thanks to tons of fun new sticker features, Stories are also way more interactive than posts. Try adding polls, questions, and more to your stories as an easy way to engage with your audience.
Instagram was built on images, but video has been generating more engagement and become an important part of what users want to see. Try using video in your Stories, posts, and experimenting with IGTV and Reels for long- and short-form content, respectively.
Video can feel intimidating, but yours doesn’t need to be a Hollywood production to be effective. Quick, easy smartphone videos shot by staff or volunteers are perfectly adequate — they just need to show how you’re making a difference.
Graphics are a fun way to bring some cohesive branding to your Instagram feed, and dream up more content if you don’t have much photo or video content to use.
It’s easy to make this kind of content using free programs like Canva, and you can create designs that incorporate your nonprofit’s branding, colours, and logo.
Try sharing important facts and stats related to your cause, powerful quotes from beneficiaries, or updates on your campaign progress this way.
Links aren’t super-easy to share on Instagram. You aren’t allowed to use them in captions or posts, so make sure you’re on top of including them wherever you can. They’re the only way to get people from Instagram over to your actual campaigns.
Instagram allows you to include one link in your nonprofit’s profile. Optimize it with a tool like Linktree, which takes the viewer to a list of several different relevant websites you choose.
You’re also now allowed to add a Link sticker to Instagram Stories — just one more reason to make the most of this exciting feature!
New instagram features nonprofits should know
Instagram is always adding exciting new features to its platform. To get the most from Instagram, nonprofits need to know about all the latest updates, and how they can help them use Instagram to communicate even more effectively with their donors!
Here are a few new features to know:
Add link to story
Links are now the only place other than bios where nonprofits can include a link! Try directing story viewers over to your donation, newsletter signup, or any other relevant page
‘Add Yours’ Story sticker
This sticker allows users to request more content from their viewers in response to a prompt, like ‘share your morning coffee.’ This is the perfect tool to boost donor engagement! Audio tab
Under the Explore tab, users can now find Reels by the audio they include. This can be an easy way to look for a specific song, or make it easier to get eyes on your content if you create your own original audio!
Text translation in Stories
Now, when users are watching a story with text, they’ll get a ‘See Translation’ notice if they’re using Instagram in a different language. It’s the perfect way to reach a broader, more diverse audience.
Expanded analytics tracking
Instagram now allows users to analyze their page’s performance over 60, rather than 30, days, giving you a deeper look into your audience and their behaviour
Delete one photo from a carousel
If you messed up one of your photos or graphics, you no longer need to delete your entire post. Just go in and delete only the images that need fixing!
Instagram best practices for nonprofits
So, we’ve discussed what nonprofits should post to Instagram. But how exactly should they post in order to get the best possible results?
Here are a few Instagram best practices that nonprofits must know.
Create a business account
A personal Instagram profile won’t give you the powerful features you need to grow your audience and drive your mission forward.
Business accounts give you access to important metrics and analytics. They also allow you to add ‘nonprofit’ directly to your profile as your business category.
However, business accounts tend to get lower engagement and reach than personal ones. To get the best of both worlds, try asking your staff and volunteers to share your nonprofit’s content on their own accounts. You can also find and collaborate with Instagram influencers who already care about your cause.
Make sure your profile is optimized and your username and description are clear. You should also have a clear picture, perhaps of your logo, and a link where people can easily access your website.
Get to know your audience
Thanks to those Instagram analytics and metrics, you don’t have to guess what your audience wants. Instead, you’ll have the hard data!
Within Instagram’s metrics, you’ll be able to see what kind of content performs best, and at what times of the day and week your audience is most active. Then, you can tailor your strategy to their preferences.
There’s another easy way to get to know your audience on Instagram — talk to them! Whenever someone comments on or replies to any of your posts or Stories, make sure you take the time to reply. You should also jump in when anyone tags or mentions you elsewhere on the platform. That could be in comments or within their own content.
Optimize your captions
Captions should never be an afterthought. They’re the perfect place to heighten your storytelling, boost engagement, and inspire your audience to take real action.
Here are a few easy ways to master your Instagram captions:
- Start with the most important details.
- Instagram will clip longer captions, and the reader will need to hit ‘see more’ to keep going. Make sure that first phrase is relevant, interesting, and intriguing.
- End your caption with a clear call-to-action (CTA)
- Always give your reader a step to take when they finish your post. Otherwise, you’ve piqued their interest for nothing!
- Add up to 6 targeted hashtags
- Choose up to 6 hashtags that are relevant to your niche, then add them to your post as a comment. More than that has been shown to reduce engagement, and if you go general with tags like #love, you’ll just get lost in the noise.
- Add some emoji
- Emoji are a colourful, beautiful addition to your caption. But more importantly, they can boost engagement as much as 48%!
Nonprofit Instagram Graphic Ideas
We’ve shared plenty of tips and tricks to help you get started. But everyone can use a little extra inspiration now and then!
Here are some examples of Instagram graphics that you may find inspiring.
Let’s get Insta-ready!
If your nonprofit hasn’t ventured into the wide world of Instagram just yet, it might feel a little intimidating. But there’s no reason to be scared!
Instagram is one of the most powerful places to share your nonprofit’s mission and story, and the campaigns you’re using to make it happen.
All it takes it a little storytelling, a dash of creativity, and willingness to listen to what your audience wants to hear.