You’re probably wondering what the deal is with Snapchat for nonprofits. Why do all of these young people love it so much? How can you use it to benefit your nonprofit? Let’s see if we can fill in the blanks on Snapchat for nonprofits.

Snapchat is a messaging app that allows you to send 10 seconds of video or photo to your Snapchat friends. What makes it vastly different is that the photos and videos disappear after one viewing. Despite the disappearing act, however, there are definite advantages for your nonprofit to hop on the Snapchat train.

Learn the Basics

It’s always a good idea to know what you’re signing up for, so let’s get a handle on the basics. Individual “snaps” can be viewed only by the people you send them to, and only once. It’s possible to replay once or take a screenshot. Stories, which all of your Snapchat friends will be able to see, have a 24-hour lifespan and don’t have any sort of viewing limitation within that time period.

If you have access to phone numbers, you’ll be able to see who has Snapchat and add them as a friend. You can also put your Snapcode (the individualized ghost icon) on your website, so people can find you there as well. Snapchat support can show you all the cool features and how-to’s you could ask for.

Cater to a Young Audience

Snapchat is booming with 13-30 year-olds. They like it because they can have fun and be themselves without having to worry too much about being over analyzed or judged for it later in life, like when they’re job searching. The short lifespan all but takes away the filter many people have on what they’ll put on social media. Snapchat for nonprofits — it’s a land of whimsy, humor, creativity and #selfies.

If this is the audience you’re attempting to reach and you have the time and capabilities to keep up with another social media channel, I’ve got some great news for you. It’s time to get on Snapchat!

The Benefits

The intimate and unfiltered environment allows you to connect with supporters on another level. Photos and videos humanize your nonprofit and allow Snapchat friends to see and hear who you are, what you do and how you do it. The fact that the message disappears afterwards makes it easier to try new things, as there’s much less risk for failure when messages have a short lifespan. The temporary nature of the snap may even compel you to make it that much more memorable and impactful.

Because snapchatters know they only have a certain amount of time to look at the photo or video, they pay more attention than the average viewer, meaning this audience is more likely to get your message. Studies have shown that Snapchat has a very high viewing rate. You can’t tell what the snap will be about until you open it, so many people will open snaps more often than emails that contain generic titles and content teasers.

Snapchat for nonprofits is still a bit of a hidden gem. However, if your nonprofit is trying to reach young people, the app holds a lot of potential. The ability to actively engage with people on their own terms should never be discounted.

Does your nonprofit use Snapchat? How have your supporters responded to it? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.