Should Your Non-Profit Bother with Social Media?

Rah Riley
4 min readMar 4, 2021

You have more essential priorities than a Facebook post. Your task list likely includes applying for a new grant, organizing a coalition of volunteers, meeting with policymakers, and creating that quarterly report for stakeholders due Friday. So why should social media make its way into your daily priorities?

Social media is a place for people to fall in love with your work. And when people love your work, inspiring the leap from passive follower to actual action-taker is much easier for your organization and your followers. So whether that call-to-action is to make a donation, attend a webinar, or even volunteer for your cause, developing something of a loving 2-way relationship through social media first will make any call-to-action feel less like you’re begging strangers to support you and more like the natural next step between people who like each other.

Three benefits of social media that make the rest of your job way easier:

1. Your followers can be the marketing department you wish you had

How do you turn followers into ambassador for your cause? Show up and serve — consistently. Lead with value; lead with the desire to share what you love and why you love it. If you believe you need a complex strategy and style guide to get started, let me take that weight off your shoulders by saying “You do not need a complex strategy!” If you’re just getting started, just start. 90% of your content should be for people to simply fall in love with what you do. To increase how many people see what you post, consider how your content can be more shareable or how to generate more user-generated content. Our impulse as human beings is to share things that have added joy or meaning or functionality to our lives. (And no one hates an occasional giveaway that incentivizes tagging friends or sharing a meaningful post to stories.)

2. Instant feedback when you want a second opinion

Media is one-way communication. Social media is two-way communication. Ask followers for their input and listen to their responses! You can do this in Instagram/Facebook stories by using sticker features like polls and questions.

Good prompts might be, “What questions do you have about volunteering with us?” (Question Sticker) or “Choose the climate change effect you’re most concerned about:” (Quiz Sticker) or “Which merch do you want to drop next?! A or B” (Poll Sticker). In addition to opening up a channel for followers to communicate with you directly, you’re simultaneously gathering market research that you can implement into the topics you post on social media, what information you include on your volunteer webpage, and which merchandise you order next.

3. A community of people who understand your mission

It can be isolating (especially these days) to be on a small team with a big mission. Consider your social media following to be the people who have your back. The next time they’re buying groceries, they’ll think about that stat you shared on plastic waste; during conversations with friends, they’ll wear your merch and talk about the work you’re doing; while scrolling, they’ll resonate with your posts and drop an excessive number of clapping emojis in the comments. And slowly, surely, you’ll grow a community of people who deeply believe in your mission right along with you.

Social media is a place for people to fall in love with what you do. Building a community of people who resonate with your mission happens through sharing sincere content and asking for input. Your content does not need a complex strategy (yay!). Simply share what you’re already doing and let people love your work right along with you. Your authenticity and access to the behind-the-scenes is what turns social media followers into the marketing department you wish you had.



Rah Riley

Writer, creative strategist, and ecofeminist exploring social strategies for social good. Infographics of my Medium articles can be found at @HeyRahRiley on IG.