Post by Anne-Marie Vettorel, Social Media Strategist at HopeWorks

Here’s some real talk: Social media isn’t a gimmick, luxury or frill — it’s an essential part of any non-profit’s advocacy and outreach strategy.

Amanda Cupido, a communications advisor for World Vision International, is unequivocal: “having social media presence is massively important, especially for a charity,” she says.

“We’re developing really intimate relationships with our audiences, and typically talking about matters that are very near and dear to people’s hearts,” Amanda says. “People are giving money to a cause, and really hoping that it has some sort of impact. Social media provides a method of talking to our audiences to regularly give them updates of the impact that we’re having.”

I’ve known Amanda for years — we were roommates for three — and over the years she’s shared with me some of the stories that have come out of the online community she works to cultivate: former sponsored children getting in touch with World Vision to say thank you, people from across the globe coming together to advocate for issues dear to them — even simple benefits like donors getting quick answers to their questions.


Part of the journey

“I think in general people have the misconception that there’s no return on investment when it comes to social media,” she told me recently. “What I try to make sure people understand is that growing community online is actually just part of the journey as a whole.”

Amanda makes the point that before someone makes a purchase, whether that be a consumer purchase or a donation to a charity, that person usually needs to have several “touchpoints” with a brand before she’ll commit to it.

“Social media acts as one of those touchpoints,” she says. “[A potential donor] might not be willing to donate in that very second, but what it does is build brand recognition, brand affinity, and will eventually have people seeing the work that is being done.”

Social media, she says, is flexible, accessible and creative, and it’s also innately built to track an organisation’s reach through a variety of analytics. Over time, that collection of data can become invaluable in honing an NGO’s communications and marketing strategy to ensure that every dollar is put towards a message that resonates with a core audience as well as key stakeholders.


How to write an effective post

The next time you’re crafting a social post, take some advice from Amanda: Pay close attention to your copy and make sure that it’s jargon-free and platform-appropriate, as this is critical to engaging a diverse audience. And, she says, highlight successes and silver linings wherever you can:

“We want to talk about the seriousness of our work and we forget that social media is a place where people are coming who don’t necessarily want to have these heavy, dark, dreary conversations. And although those conversations are important, there are ways to have them on social media without maybe the same tone.”


To learn more about how HopeWorks could help you achieve your goals through social media, just contact us.