13 Effective Ways To Use Instagram for Nonprofits & Attract an Audience 

September 4, 2022

13 Effective Ways To Use Instagram for Nonprofits & Attract an Audience 

Activists and NGOs around the world recognize the vast reach and engagement that Instagram can deliver for nonprofits, which is why if you want to attract an audience for your nonprofit, build awareness, and educate the masses, you should consider Instagram for it. 

In this article you will learn the benefits of using Instagram for nonprofits and 13 effective ways in which you can use Instagram for nonprofits to attract an audience.

To read more about social media for nonprofits, read our detailed articles on Instagram for nonprofits, TikTok for nonprofits, LinkedIn for nonprofits  and YouTube for nonprofits.

To read about our comprehensive article on digital marketing for nonprofits, click here.

1. How Do I Create a Nonprofit Instagram Account?

To create a nonprofit instagram account unt, the steps remain the same as for any business account. The only difference is that you will add Nonprofit to your bio to ensure you are easily recognisable. 

2. How Do Nonprofits Get Verified on Instagram?

How Do Nonprofits Get Verified on Instagram?

Nonprofits get verified on Instagram using the following steps; 

  1. Tap the menu icon on the top right corner of your Instagram account.
  2. Tap the settings option 
  3. Go to accounts and tap “Request Verification”
  4. Fill out the form 
  5. Submit for Verification 

It takes 30 days for Instagram to run a complete check, post that you will get a notification of whether or not you are verified. If the verification is approved, your nonprofit’s name on Instagram will receive a blue verification badge. If you get denied you can only apply after 30 days. 

3. How Many Times Should a Nonprofit Post on Social Media?

The frequency of posting stories varies on each platform and needs to be planned accordingly to make the most impact so while it may be that content needs to be refreshed 1-2 times a day for a platform like TikTok, the same a post on Instagram can be shared 2-3 times a week. 

4. How Do You Ask for Donations on Instagram?

There are two broad  ways to ask for donations on Instagram.  

One is through placing a donate button where nonprofit organizations can raise funds on the platform using donation stickers in Instagram Stories and donate button on Instagram Business Account.

The other option is to use fundraising campaigns using Instagram Live and ads. 

5. Benefits of Instagram for Nonprofit Organizations

Benefits of Instagram for Nonprofit Organizations
  1. Instagram for nonprofit purposes is lucrative in terms of high engagement, and large amount of potential support from users. Nonprofit organizations need an audience that shares their visions and goals. Whether they may be about freeing marginalized groups from oppression, reversing environmental damage, or spreading quality education for free to the underprivileged, a nonprofit needs support from an audience that is willing to donate their time or money to the cause. 
  1. With Instagram, nonprofits can gradually and organically build an audience that is kept up to date with relevant information, upcoming events, and new findings & studies. Instagram for nonprofits is highly beneficial, for numerous reasons:
  2. It is a visual platform built on the idea of engaging through pictures and videos. By sharing visual content, nonprofits can share their stories and educate the masses through appealing and impactful posts that evoke emotion and determination to support their cause. 
  1. People on Instagram engage with posts in various ways, one of them being sharing content they like on stories and with friends. By posting meaningful, thought-provoking media nonprofits can benefit from their followers when they share their content, which helps in reaching new audiences. 
  1. Instagram allows nonprofits to connect with their audience in real-time, by uploading important information and news with the click of a button, sharing instant stories, and going live through Instagram Live. This allows nonprofits to keep their mission relevant in this fast-paced world, and make sure their audience is consistently aligned with the cause. 

6. How do Nonprofits Use Instagram?

Instagram for nonprofits can be used in a variety of ways, including for awareness outreach, educating their followers with engaging content, and creating fundraising campaigns. They achieve these goals by optimizing their business profile, posting regularly, making emotionally appealing content, running platform-wide advertisements with powerful call-to-actions, and regularly interacting with their followers.

7. How do Nonprofits Gain Followers on Instagram?

How do Nonprofits Gain Followers on Instagram?

To answer this important question, let us look at the various ways a nonprofit can gain followers on Instagram.

The most certain way of gaining more followers is through organic growth and keeping a consistent upload schedule. Nonprofits that upload quality content consistently see steady, long-term growth in their Instagram page because of two reasons: content outreach through sharing and content outreach through hashtags. 

Your followers share the content they like with their own followers, which leads to more people outside your follower network seeing and engaging with your posts. This leads to new audiences following your page, organically. Hashtags also increase your post visibility to people outside your follower network, thereby bringing in new people who engage with your content and follow your page.

Other deliberate ways of increasing followers include partnering with influencers and celebrities who share your values and align with your goals and paying for advertisements to run on social media. 

8. 13 Best Tips to Use Instagram for Nonprofits 2022

8.1 Make your profile a business account

Turning your nonprofit Instagram page into a business account will give you access to exclusive features such as the ability to run ads, insight into engagement analytics, and the ability to schedule posts ahead of time, to name a few. These features allow you to grow and scale your page and legitimize your nonprofit endeavor on Instagram. They also allow you to leverage the full power of Instagram for nonprofit purposes. 

To convert your page to a business account, go to Settings > Account > Switch to Professional Account. 

8.2 Ensure your account is public

Keeping your account public is essential because it allows new people who land on your page to view your pictures and videos without having to follow you first. This ensures that you reach a maximum number of people with your message, and keep an open page for all to view and engage with.

8.3 Upload stories regularly

Upload stories regularly

Stories are a great feature to boost engagement with your followers. Stories help you stay connected with your followers with instant uploads, creative media tools, and the ability to capture user feedback, opinion, or questions. 

In this way, you can inform and educate your followers about the latest happenings and progress, make them feel part of your campaign through suggestion and question-capturing prompts, and build a sense of trust and transparency by frequently posting about real-time events and behind-the-scenes pictures.

Instagram Stories provide a full-screen experience to users, putting your content front and center for them to engage with. You can save your old stories as highlights on your page, which new audiences can watch to quickly engage and understand your mission. 

The frequency of posting stories varies on each platform and needs to be planned accordingly to make the most impact so while it may be that content needs to be refreshed 1-2 times a day for a platform like TikTok, the same a post on Instagram can be shared 2-3 times a week. 

8.4 Create Instagram ads to reach out to new people

Instagram lets business profiles run highly sophisticated and data-driven advertisements on their platform that help in targeting the right audience for your nonprofit organization. These ads help nonprofits reach a wide audience that may potentially resonate with their cause and start to follow them. 

 Furthermore, if increasing your follower count is not your main goal, ads also serve to spread awareness of the cause you are supporting, as these advertisements will be shown to as large a population pool as you set. A recent study indicates that the amount spent on social media ads is expected to gross over $173 billion in 2022. Running social media ads is considered a surefire way to promote brand awareness and so the more you invest in ads, the wider audience you can reach. 

8.5 Use proper hashtags

Use proper hashtags

One smart way to reach people on Instagram is by using hashtags in your posts. Posts with specific hashtags are shown in feeds of people who follow that tag or similar tags. 

In this way, your posts can be shown to people outside of your followers, and aid your page’s organic growth. Best of all, this is a completely free way of reaching new audiences unlike running advertisements. A great example of this is nonprofit ALS.org  and the #IceBucketChallenge 

It is also important to use relevant hashtags, related to your post and your cause, and to not overdo them. 3 to 4 per post are ideal. 

8.6 Write engaging captions for photos and videos

Captions are what provide context to the visual posts you upload to Instagram. To make a caption engaging, ensure it is concise and to the point, and it conveys your thoughts as clearly and humanly as possible. The goal is to write captions that are emotionally appealing , direct, and clear. Having a clear call to action within the first two lines is also an effective strategy to motivate people toward a goal. 

Pencils of Promise is a nonprofit that drove a fundraising initiative called Back to School Campaign, to provide resources to 1,600 students so they could attend school for one year. They used creative photos to visually engage their audience and garner support.

8.7 Invite your Facebook community to Instagram

If you already have a Facebook page with an audience, invite them to follow your Instagram page for additional content, either through a Facebook community post or story. Furthermore, put up your Instagram link on your Facebook page so people can easily find your page and follow it. 

Connecting your Facebook page to your Instagram page will help you grow your page with more followers aligned with your cause. 

8.8 Post Instagram reels

Instagram Reels are the newest trend on Instagram, inspired by Tiktok’s short-form videos. With Reels, you can make creative and engaging videos that look and feel professional right from the Create button. 

The benefits of Reels are that they have high engagement rates, with Meta stating that over 20% of watch time on Instagram can be attributed to Reels. With further support from the algorithm, Reels are delivering an unprecedented amount of viewers, with large boosts in viewer numbers if your Reel is featured on the explore page. 

In this day and age, where Tiktok’s short-form videos have changed what engagement means, delivering more than 15,000 billion media impressions in one month, it is only logical to believe that Instagram Reels will have comparable success due to their similar short-form nature.

8.9 Ask supporters to turn on ‘post notifications’

Post notifications alert your followers when you put up a new post on your page. These can be toggled on by clicking the bell icon at the top right corner of an Instagram page.

Having post notifications “on” will prompt your followers to tune in whenever a new post goes live, and express their support by liking and commenting. 

This improves engagement and tells the algorithm that it is a post worth showing to more people, thereby compounding engagement. 

8.10 Reply quickly to DMs

DMs are housed at the top right corner of your feed page, where there will be a red-colored, numbered icon indicating if you have any unread messages. 

Another part of keeping engaged and connected with your community of followers is communicating through Direct Messages. 

Here you will get to interact with enthusiastic Instagrammers who may have questions, news, valuable insights, and resources for your nonprofit. Being prompt in your replies will build a sense of reliability and trust between your community and your nonprofit organization, since it helps foster transparency and accountability. 

8.11 Add Instagram handle to your organization’s website

If you have a website to support your nonprofit, you should add your Instagram handle or link to it. This helps website visitors identify your official Instagram for nonprofit account, and drives more traffic to it, helping your page grow organically. 

8.12 Understand Instagram’s algorithm 

Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes certain actions more than others, and it would be to your advantage to learn more about how you can leverage it to reach the largest number of people.

For example, consistently engaging and interacting with your community of followers, either in the comments or DMs, tells the algorithm that you are good at building and maintaining relationships and hence, features your posts on their feeds regularly. 

Another tip is becoming more frequent at uploading new content, since the algorithm favors recent posts to feature on user feeds. Reels are also favored over pictures and video posts, therefore it would be to your best interest to invest time in creating quality Reels.

8.13 Use CTA’s

Using powerful calls to action in your captions, stories, or advertisements can motivate and provoke people to take action. It could be as simple as a call for donation, and as major as a call to protest. To make effective calls to action, they must be short and direct and use clear language. CTA’s should also be placed near or at the beginning of captions to ensure a maximum number of people read it as they scroll by. Furthermore, you can try experimenting with emotional vocabulary and aim to give people a reason to take action.

           For instance, in a bid to encourage a love for learning,  Khan Academy aims to                  provide free educational content through their early learning app. The website engages visitors through a CTA “ Donate or volunteer today!” which takes them to a new page that requests for a small donation so the organization can continue to offer free learning resources.

9. Best Nonprofit Instagram Accounts

Some of the following are popular pages that endorse the notion that “Instagram for nonprofits” is a resounding necessity in today’s day and age. You can click the links below to check out these pages for inspiration:

About Us

Growth Ganik is a rapidly evolving digital marketing agency in Sydney, Australia that specializes in SEO, content marketing, marketing strategy and lead generation.

We work with clients from leading brands and industries such as B2B SaaS, nonprofits and more to develop profitable digital marketing solutions that are data-driven to support all kinds of business goals from widening user bases, gaining more traction for online engagement, to increasing conversion and helping businesses scale up. 

For creative tailor-made digital solutions and sustainable growth insights, get in touch with us!