Published on November 22, 2022
When your nonprofit runs a campaign for fundraising, hashtags can help you stand out, attract the right audience, and bring in money.
Charitable giving has increased in current dollars nearly every year since 1977—and there’s a lot of money up for grabs. In 2017, people gave an estimated $410 billion to charitable causes.
Of course, that enormous amount of cash didn’t go to just a few nonprofits. It found its way to the more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S.
So, what does that mean to you? Your fundraising efforts have the potential to bring in a substantial amount of money—but you’re also facing a lot of competition from other organizations.
It’s time to stop relying on what your nonprofit “has always done” and think outside the box a little (but not so much that you scare your board of directors). A simple and effective way to do this is by creating and leveraging fundraising hashtags during your campaigns.
Why fundraising hashtags can be so useful
Nonprofits, charities, and foundations use hashtags on social media for many different reasons. However, they’re primarily used to increase awareness, engage potential (and current) donors, make announcements, and of course, raise money.
Hashtags make it easier to find and categorize information, as well as share value. This makes them perfect for participating in conversations related to your cause, monitoring donor sentiment, and building anticipation and excitement around events.
When you’re launching a fundraising campaign, there are two types of hashtags you’re going to want to use on hashtag-friendly social apps (like Twitter and Instagram):
1. Hashtags that already exist
2. Hashtags specifically created for your campaign
The hashtags that already exist are the ones you’re likely using on a regular basis—for example, #donate, #volunteer, and #nonprofit. You’re also hopefully using niche hashtags that correspond more directly to your organization’s cause. And jumping on popular global hashtags like #tbt (Throwback Thursday) and #GivingTuesday never hurts.
A fundraising campaign, though, takes those general hashtags and pairs them with a couple of fundraising hashtags that correspond to your current campaign.
Increase donations online by promoting a catchy hashtag, then keep track of your efforts by displaying everyone’s social posts in your office and on your website.
4 tips for developing memorable fundraising hashtags
If your plan is going to work, it’s your job to give your fundraising hashtags a fighting chance at helping to bring in an unprecedented amount of funds.
1. Research first.
There’s a lot to be learned from studying your competitors. See how they’re using hashtags for fundraising campaigns and take note of what catches your attention and what doesn’t. Use hashtag tools like Hashtagify to search hashtags, explore trends, and view top influencers.
2. Keep your hashtags short.
You may think you’ve come up with an incredibly clever hashtag, but if it’s too long, no one is going to remember it. Keep it as short as possible while still ensuring it makes sense.
3. Don’t forget about branding.
You may brainstorm a few “amazing” hashtag ideas, but if they don’t fit your brand’s voice or mission, they could still fall flat. Your fundraising hashtags should always be consistent with your brand.
4. More research.
Love your hashtag? Do some research again and make sure no one else is using it. Also, you want to make sure it doesn’t have some hidden meaning you weren’t initially aware of. Spending time to check and double check these things can save you a lot of headaches in the future.
This may seem like a lot of work, but tweets with one or more hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted. Don’t use more than two hashtags on Twitter, though—after that, engagement drops by an average of 17%. Instagram is where you can get slightly more liberal with your hashtag use, as interactions are highest on posts with 11+ hashtags.
You made your fundraising hashtags—now gain some traction
Once you’ve created your hashtags, you will want to figure out your strategy. Haphazardly adding hashtags to your social media posts isn’t what will bring in donations—it’s how you use and promote them that will.
How will people find your hashtag? Give your supporters every opportunity possible to see your hashtag and use it. This doesn’t mean add your hashtag to every single social post—it should pop up in different places. Online, add your hashtag to social bios, your Twitter background, your website, and emails. Offline, add it to marketing materials like flyers, event invitations, and press releases.
Why will people want to use your hashtag? Give people a reason to get behind your hashtag.
Tie it to a photo contest on Instagram, or a bigger community initiative. For example, FEED—a nonprofit that provides meals to families in America—was very successful when they asked supporters to host dinner parties and collect donations from attendees. FEED gave the hosts name cards, paper placemats, and facts about hunger. The organization asked the host to use the hashtag #FEEDsupper and share images of the dinner on social media. The campaign was so successful that FEED was able to provide more than 2 million meals for American families.
If you’re using your fundraising hashtags for a big live event, begin using it in all advertising/marketing leading up to that day so it’s top-of-mind for attendees. At the event, put the hashtag in can’t-miss places. Consider adding a social media wall to encourage attendees to use the hashtag and increase engagement.
A little strategy can go a long way with fundraising hashtags. Take the time to learn the competitive landscape and your potential donors—you’ll be amazed by how effectively social media can kickstart your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts.
Start building your social wall today, and get real-time analytics on your social campaigns. We track volume, unique reach, total reach, who the influencers were and more. And since we know it’s important, you can access that data anytime.
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