Instagram for Nonprofits: 4 Tips to Get You Started

instagram for nonprofits

As an organization, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the constantly evolving social sphere. You have a Facebook strategy. You have your plan for Twitter. LinkedIn is covered. But, Instagram? It’s just visuals.

Snap a pic, choose a filter, add a caption with a hashtag or two, hit “share” and your work is done. If you’re feeling fancy, you can shoot a 15-second video or make a Hyperlapse.

But, Instagram for nonprofits? Can you accomplish anything there?

It’s a fair question. If you’re going to be on Instagram, it needs to benefit your nonprofit. Can you have a strong presence there? Will you see a worthwhile return on your time and efforts?

With the right strategy, it’s possible. Instagram can be an awesome place to showcase your nonprofit’s impact.

Not sure where or how to start? Here are few tips to help.

Before Anything Else, You Have to Commit

There’s a deep, dark pit filled with too many organizations suffering from Instagram commitment issues. Don’t fall into it.

If your nonprofit makes the decision to jump on the Instagram bandwagon, you need to go all in. This means posting photos regularly, building up a community of followers and interacting with other users on the network. Instagram may be all about the visuals, but engagement still plays a huge role in your success.

There’s nothing worse than having a poorly managed, practically inactive social media account out there for visitors to stumble on.

Mission of Hope Haiti does an awesome job of posting compelling photos, engaging with followers and maintaining its community of followers by posting regularly.

instagram for nonprofits mohhaiti

Balance Consistency and Quality

This is where I think nonprofits struggle most. You need to post regularly enough that your followers remember they’re following you. But, your photos need to be compelling. There’s a balance in consistency and quality that you’ll need to find.

The prospect of having to post a powerful and engaging photo on Instagram every day of the week is probably a tad overwhelming and pretty unrealistic. This is where showcasing the different aspects of your nonprofit’s work and using Instagram as a promotional tool comes in handy.

Pure Charity gets creative with their posts. Sometimes it’s a snapshot of the people they’re helping. Other times, it’s a pic of their team, a promotional graphic or an inspiring quote.

instagram for nonprofits pure charity

Shaking up your posts by adding some variety is a great way to help maintain that balance between consistency and quality.

Tell a Story

Every post should tell a story about your nonprofit’s impact.

You might be limited to a photo and a caption, but, lucky for you, a picture is worth a thousand words. Use the caption to expand on your photo–tell the part of the story a visitor would never know from looking at the picture.

Doctors Without Borders always uses captions to give viewers the whole story. It makes already compelling photos mean so much more.

instagram for nonprofits doctors without borders

Not sure what type of photos to use? Your options are endless. Post a picture of volunteers at work, a compelling profile of someone you’ve helped, an engaging graphic for an upcoming fundraiser, an inside look at your team in action, etc. You can’t go wrong if you’re showcasing your nonprofit’s efforts.

Shooting a video? Provide context in the caption. Describe the events leading up to the moments captured in the video, or what happened shortly after. Mercy Ships does a fantastic job with this.

instagram for nonprofits mercy ships

Captions are an opportunity to make sure your viewers get the whole story, not just the moments captured in the visual.

Call Your Visitors to Action

Just because you’re posting photos, doesn’t mean you can’t ask people to act. Instagram doesn’t allow you to put active links directly in your captions, but that shouldn’t stop you from including a call to action.

Americans for the Arts posted a series of photos calling people to take action on Giving Tuesday, and directed them to the necessary link in the caption.

instagram for nonprofits americans for arts

Drive visitors from Instagram to your website by inviting them to learn more through your blog, make a donation, sign up to volunteer, etc. Let them know where to access a direct link. A lot of nonprofits will include a live link in their Instagram bio.

Hopefully these tips help your nonprofit get up and running on Instagram. If you have the visuals, Instagram is a powerful opportunity to share stories of your nonprofit’s impact.

Is your nonprofit on Instagram? Do you have any advice for nonprofits looking to create or improve their presence? Or do you have some nonprofits you love following? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.