Nonprofit Fundraising Lessons From Successful Social media Campaigns

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Nonprofit Fundraising Lessons From Successful Social media Campaigns

Every day, more than 4.3 billion people use social media. It has never been more important for brands and nonprofits alike. Nonprofit social media campaigns are strategically targeted. They have measurable results, and ultimately aim to make social media users feel or act in a certain way. 

But it takes more than just posting content on social media to be successful. Nonprofit marketing and nonprofit fundraising go hand-in-hand. You need a winning strategy to stand out, including unique creativity, relevant targeting, and effective advertising. 

This is where we can help. We have put together 4 successful nonprofit social media campaigns that have been making waves in recent years. 

Girl Scouts USA 

As a nonprofit organization, Girl Scouts USA started over 100 years ago with a woman who believed that every girl had immense power. Since the first Girl Scout Troop in March 1912, they have grown. They help girls find their passions, talents and strengths. Using cookies, girls thrive and raise funds which are used in the community .

The social media team at Girl Scouts noticed that many customers struggled to find their closest Girl Scout Rep when cookie season was in full swing. They wanted to conduct cookie kiosk searches on their official website and also increase the number of downloads for their Girl Scout Cookie Finder mobile app.
This move continues to benefit the organization and tremendously helps consumers that look to purchase cookies.

@GirlScouts used an app map (to showcase their delicious products) in a Twitter campaign, conveniently allowing users to download the app. This drastically increased conversions and they saw over 19,500 Twitter-based app installs!

“Twitter offers a unique value proposition for us because our customers are active users and on their phones 24/7. Twitter’s conversion reports are so really clear. The interface is easy to use and implemented. Overall, Twitter is a really cool game for us. “- Kayla Santalla, Senior Digital Media Strategist at Girl Scouts USA

Key Takeaway: Add images to Twitter’s App Cards, to give potential customers a visual of what your app has to offer. Using the App Card feature is a great way to give users easy access to your app right from the Tweet itself.


Every year, over one billion people are harmed by waterborne illnesses. WATERisLife have pledged to provide SAFE DRINKING WATER TO 1 BILLION PEOPLE BY DECEMBER 31, 2021,  

By using the hashtag #firstworldproblems they distributed their viral YouTube video, First World Problems Anthem. This video shows underprivileged people repeating the phrase “first world problems” while making fun of those who make stories about small problems towards more serious problems.

The choice of the hashtag #firstworldproblems is excellent because it has the potential to reach 1.7 million people. The YouTubevideo went viral on Facebook and Twitter. The video was viewed 6 million times, thus growing the scope of the organization.

Key Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to try something different. Bold, unconventional marketing may seem like a high-risk, high-reward tradeoff. But if you understand your community and what drives them, you can strongly position your organizations for the future. 

 Best Friends 

The Best Friends Animal Society association places dogs and cats in homes. They developed an app My Dog ID for the purpose of the campaign. It allows people to take selfies and post them on Twitter, Facebook and their website. This in turn helps people find and order the perfect animal for them, with the help of facial recognition.

As a result, users searching through for local adoptable pets through could make small text message donations to support animal welfare. This strategy helped them improve community engagement by inspiring and entertaining users. The app downloads reached its peak when celebrities started using the app and encouraged their fanbase to give it a try.  

“In every community, there are far too many dogs waiting in shelters, out of the sight of most people who don’t even know they exist,” said Claudia Perrone, marketing specialist for Best Friends Animal Society. “These frequently forgotten dogs want nothing more than to be seen and given a second chance at life in a loving home.”

Key Takeaway: Find a smart hashtag that ties into your campaign and an image that is a clear way to educate what your organization stands for.

To Write Love on Her Arms

The organization aims to find and support people suffering from depression, addiction, self-harm and suicide. On their Tumblr and Instagram account (@twloha) they share motivating messages with strategic hashtags.

One of the hashtag they used was #FearsVsDreams which encouraged people to write down answers to the questions: “What’s your biggest fear?” and “What’s your greatest dream?” Written responses were photographed, and those photographs submitted to Tumblr through a link on TWLOHA’s site.

Most of the campaign’s posts received reblogs, allowing posts to reach a larger audience. The campaign was also emulated by groups such as Viking Union Gallery, which created the “Fears vs. Dreams” exhibition at Western Washington University. On GOOD magazine’s website, the campaign ranked third to receive the “GOOD Goes Viral” prize.

Key Takeaway: Good storytelling is important for campaigns to go viral. TWLOHA’s campaign was successful because it encouraged its community members to tell their own stories.

Final Thoughts: What the viral social media campaigns have in common

The campaigns above demonstrate that social media is a great way to promote your organization, engage your target audience, and ultimately drive action.

There is a group of people out there waiting to engage with you. Whether it’s through user-generated content, a hashtag, a beautiful image, or genuine engagement. Give them a reason to care about your mission, a reason that goes beyond your nonprofit’s financial goals.


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