Social media in general is profoundly powerful as a promotional tool for a nonprofit, but some platforms are more significant than others. Take Instagram, for example — a channel with over a billion monthly active users. Because one of the keys to getting people to care about an issue is showing them the real-world impact, a channel that’s built around imagery is always going to prove effective if used well.
Using Instagram, you can achieve a variety of things to drive interest and bring in donations: you can provide clearly-displayed details about the goals you’re pursuing, document what goes into your everyday work, and show the meaningful results of your efforts. You can also use Instagram Stories to great effect: telling a story always helps to get people engaged.
If you don’t want to stop there, you can even use it to sell charitable products (it can function as a sales channel). Given all of this (the reach, the visual focus, the general applicability, and the potential for driving charitable revenue), it’s undeniable that Instagram is a worthwhile platform for any charitable organization.
To give you an idea of how it’s already being used in this way, let’s take a look at 5 nonprofits that are putting it to good use:
Founded in 1979, Mercy Corps is a humanitarian organization that works across the globe to help people and communities recover from difficulties and build better lives. On Instagram, it shares a strong mixture of educational and inspirational content that keeps followers updated and pushes people to take action at a government level to prevent further crises and help areas recover from previous troubles. Through its text posts, it does something very important: it concentrates on the issues instead of the organization.
UNICEF was founded in 1946 with the goal of helping countries recover in the aftermath of World War II, specifically targeting healthcare and food for children and their mothers. In the decades since then, it has grown enormously, and is now involved in supplying vaccines, nutritional supplements, educational materials, and even emergency shelters. The UNICEF Instagram account shows the team at work (chiefly in the developing world where the needs are greatest) as well as notable Goodwill Ambassadors for generating buzz (conventional Instagram influencer marketing may not typically be viable, but celebrity is still a powerful tool).
Those of us fortunate enough to live in the Western world are accustomed to having easy access to clean and safe drinking water — but that isn’t the case everywhere. Developing countries still suffer greatly from droughts and a lack of water-cleaning facilities, resulting in a lot of avoidable deaths. The charity: water Instagram account places a lot of emphasis on the positives in its mission — primarily the smiling faces of those who’ve been helped.
Founded in 1942, Oxfam is a large charitable organization with the overriding goal of treating poverty by addressing the underlying causes, such as social injustices, wage imbalances, and varying educational standards. Something it does particularly well on Instagram is combine the standard fare of case-study photos with notable quotes (such as “Every minute is a chance to change the world.”) and pieces of art.
How much difference can something as simple as a bicycle make? Depending on the area, it can make a massive difference. Think about simple matters such as going to school or gathering food and water — having a bike can turn an arduous 2-hour trip into a comfortable 30 minute cycle. Much like charity: water, it uses its Instagram account to provide hope: stating the case for independence, self-reliance, and community spirit.
Through there are a few notable differences, you’ll see that each of these charities largely uses Instagram to share simple and natural photos of the people and communities they’re aiming to help. This makes a lot of sense, because that’s what emotionally resonates with people — and emotional resonance drives donations.