Practical Tips on Promoting Nonprofits on Instagram

Written by Lesley Vos, a seasoned web writer from Chicago, a blogger behind Bid4Papers, and guest contributor to publications on business, digital marketing, and self-growth.

With over a billion users worldwide, Instagram has become a marketing heaven for businesses and people using the platform to research products and services. So no wonder that the average interaction rate of this social media network is 1,22%, which is four times more than Facebook has.

For nonprofits, often run by small teams of volunteers with limited resources, Instagram may seem a challenging channel of promotion. But with the tools this platform offers now and the right content strategies in the pocket, its benefits are hard to overestimate.

In this post, you'll find practical tips on setting up your Instagram nonprofit account and promoting it for further success.

Benefits of Instagram for Nonprofits

Still in doubt if your nonprofit organization should use Instagram? Here go the reasons why this social media platform is worth trying:

  • Awareness - Instagram is your chance to spread the word about your nonprofit mission and initiatives to a broader audience. Here you'll let much more people know about your brand.

  • Audience - On Instagram, you'll reach a young global audience who's socially responsible and ready to support projects that have a message and meaning.

  • High engagement - Instagrammers check the site several times per day, engaging with its content much more than other social networks. It's your chance to hook active and passionate donors and supporters.

  • Community - Here you'll grow the base of potential mentors, speakers, and volunteers to support each other and stay informed about related issues.

  • Action and impact visualization - Instagram is all about visual content, which is more engaging and emotion-evoking than texts. With strong visual narrative and storytelling, you can inspire action and share your nonprofit's impact. Instagram is a great channel to show achievements and gratitude, not just tell the world about them.

5 Practical Tips on Promoting Nonprofits on Instagram

And now, for the most exciting part! Below you'll find 5 practical tips and strategies on what to do with your nonprofit's Instagram account to get the maximum benefits from it.

1. Set Your Profile Correctly

First and foremost, ensure that your nonprofit has an Instagram Business Account, not a personal one. It will give you access to real-time metrics, allow you to post ads, promote posts, and use Instagram Charitable Giving Tools (more on that below).

Then, do your best to set the account according to these best practices:

  • Choose a visually appealing profile picture (make sure it represents your nonprofit and is easily recognizable from both computer and mobile devices).

  • Write a compelling bio. You have 150 characters only, so be concise and clear, use custom hashtags and emojis, get creative, and remember to include a call to action and link to your website or another channel you want to promote.

  • Try to get a verified badge. This blue sign next to your Instagram name adds credibility to the account and helps improve its organic reach.

  • Get creative with your feed design. Instagram is highly visual, and it's not enough to post high-quality photos there to engage its picky audience. Think of designing your feed with some color or filter consistency, organize your Instagram posts so they would look aligned, and so on! Such "specific" feeds do better than standard profiles featuring a kind of everything.

Oceana's IG account
Set your account according to best practices

2. Have a Content Strategy

For a successful promotion on Instagram, you need to answer a core question: What do you hope to accomplish with your nonprofit there? Depending on the answer, you'll know what strategy and content you'll need for that.

Develop a content strategy that would fit with the rest of your communication channels like Facebook or YouTube. Your goals, message, and tone of voice need to be consistent and communicate your nonprofit's mission: You'll need to decide on content types to publish, people who'll generate the content and run the account, and some measurable goals for your Instagram.

The information from Instagram Insights will help you see when users are more active and schedule your posts accordingly. While some statistics consider weekdays between 10 am and 3 pm the best time to post on Instagram, your target audience may disagree with that.

3. Create Engaging Content

For many nonprofits (and businesses!) creating engaging content is very challenging. Many organizations struggle with what they can do with the account for more people to see it and trust it.

These content tactics will help:

  • Write captions that tell stories. Storytelling is a king of engagement and sales, especially today when we all want to know the people behind brands and know the stories about what they do.

Doctors without Borders IG post
Write captions that tell stories - Doctors Without Borders

  • Ask questions in captions, share interactive content, and use different calls to action. Thus, you'll engage followers in communication, inviting them to leave a comment or share your post for more views.

  • Post often, 3-7 times weekly.

  • Also, remember to communicate with the audience: Respond to their comments, share their content related to your brand with corresponding tags, etc. And consider tagging your partners and sponsors whenever applicable.

  • Choose high-quality, eye-catching images for your Instagram posts. Make your posts and Instagram Stories shareable so people would like to tell about them: Offer something valuable, informative, or heartwarming but be authentic.

  • Don't forget hashtags and geotags. They are critical for growing the audience and promoting your nonprofit account to more people, add them to your posts. Hashtags also help categorize your Instagram content, crowdsource images, raise awareness, and even increase donations.

IG post - UNICEF
IG post - UNICEF

4. Use Charitable Giving Tools

Instagram supports Live Donations, so it's worth using for fundraising and promoting your nonprofit organization. As Global Trends in Giving Report states, 10% of online donors have donated via Instagram Charitable Tools, and 93% of them say they'll do that again. It's a super high retention rate, motivating to join that 16% of nonprofits who already use this instrument.

So, first of all, make sure it’s available in your country. If yes, enroll and link your Instagram business account with your verified Facebook page. (If no, no worries: Instagram grows and updates this function rapidly, so the big chances are that you’ll join it soon.)

Once done, you'll be able to add "Donate" stickers and buttons to your profile, Stories, and live streams. Other accounts will be able to fundraisers on your behalf too.

If there's no access to Instagram's tools for NGOs in your country, make sure that the link in your account bio refers to a page on your website that consists of a donation button or form .

5. Use Instagram Stories to the Maximum

Instagram Stories relate to ephemeral content, as far as they disappear 24 hours after being posted, and are extremely popular because of their authentic nature. (Actually, 86% of consumers admit that authenticity is a critical factor for them to decide which organization to support.)

So, try to post Stories a few times per day to engage followers and be on top of their minds:

  • Share your nonprofit's updates

  • Hold contests

  • Show "behind-the-scenes"

  • Share UGC (user generated content)

To use this instrument to the maximum, remember to add hashtags and location stickers to your Stories, add music and links, and save the most significant ones to Instagram Story Highlights. (These are collections of your Stories "pinned" to your account that don't expire after 24 hours. You can use them to specify your most important information, nonprofit campaigns, updates, and so on.)

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Instagram is a powerful tool for nonprofit organizations to master. Not only does it help build awareness and engage a broader audience, but it also serves to run fundraisers and raise donations. Now that you know some practical tips on running an Instagram account, it's time to give it a try, don't you agree?


Remember you are not alone! Join GivingWay’s community of nonprofit organizations to share your insights and questions with organizations similar to yours.


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