Meet our Expert

David_SaintDavid Saint – Chairman, Action Planning

David established Action Planning in 1990 after a 16 year fundraising career, and is recognised as one of the not-for-profit sector’s leading authorities on strategy, management and fundraising. David is a member of the Institute of Fundraising, former Chairman of EU Consult, a trustee of Andrews Charitable Trust and the Christian Initiative Trust, and Chair of Advantage Africa. 

“How can I increase our charity’s profile through social media? We are very small with no paid employees. We have 90 followers so far on Twitter.”

The answer

Social media holds great potential in terms of helping to build the profiles of charities and it is also a very useful, low cost area which smaller organisations can explore.

Twitter and Facebook are two of the main social media websites so it is great that you are already using them and have built up a good amount of followers and likes on both!

Here are some key tips to help you get some more out of your social media presence and raise awareness of your charity:

  • Focus on what it is that you want to get out of using social media – outline your main objectives and aims.
  • Consider your target audience and create content that will suit all the different groups of people that might make up that audience.
  • Make it easy for your supporters to get involved in your charity’s activities and encourage participation, for example ask them to donate online through websites such as The Big Give, JustGiving and ‘Give as You Live‘ and post these links through your social media accounts.
  • Make sure that your social media details are included in all your marketing materials both online and offline. The important thing is to view social media as just another part of your overall marketing strategy and to integrate its use wherever possible.

Tips for Twitter and FacebookUpdate your social media accounts as regularly as possible and try to produce new content on a regular basis as well.Continue to follow other Twitter profiles of organisations that are relevant to you and interact with those profiles that you follow. In the same way, interact with people who post on your Facebook page or respond to something you have posted. This increased engagement will help to build a community among your followers and these supporters will then be able to act as advocates of your charity in the future.Try following any organisations that are local to you and have some relevance and start interacting and building links with them – you could create partnerships and gain help with promotion.Ask questions and ask for feedback – this is another good way to help your supporters feel involved with your charity.Look out for relevant conversations to join in with and see what topics your supporters are discussing – then try to provide content which is focused around these topics. One of the best ways to engage your supporters through social media is to provide them with interesting content which is original and serves a purpose – for example share news items, advice, tips, facts, photos and videos in your tweets or Facebook posts. The more useful the content is that you put online, the more likely it is to be shared by your followers and therefore to reach other people and raise your profile. You could consider adding a blog to your website as well – this is a great way to create your own content which you can also link to on your Twitter and Facebook accounts. You can give regular updates on the latest news from your organisation and ask for thoughts and opinions from your readers. It may benefit you to focus mainly on either Twitter or Facebook at first – build up your presence on one and then look at the other. Once you feel you have created a strong enough profile on Twitter and Facebook, you can consider having a look at some other social media sites such as LinkedIn and YouTube and how they might work for you.