Social Media Content for Nonprofits: April Tips & Topics

Sharpen your pencils, do-gooders! It’s time to write your social media content calendar for April. Like the pollen outside, time to let the ideas fly!

Social Media Tip of the Month

Video doesn’t have to be a huge, stressful production, but they can be incredibly engaging and rewarding. Here are some videos ideas you can do with your phone (just don’t forget to shoot it holding your phone sideways) in under 60 seconds:

  • Mini staff interviews
  • Behind the scenes look at a project or initiative
  • Office tour
  • Treatment/Efforts in progress
  • Mimi interviews with the people you support

April Social Media Content Ideas

April 2: Children’s Book Day

The theme of last month’s Social Media Marketing World 2017 in San Diego was a refocus on being helpful to your community. Children’s Book Day is an excellent opportunity to provide resources to your followers by sharing book recommendations. You can do this with a blog post, quick video or even individual posts throughout the day. For example, the nonprofit I work for, MiracleFeet, will use Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories to show pics of our favorite clubfoot books for parents to read to their children.

April 5: Day of Hope

Started by Child Help, this campaign is to remember that every year millions of children around the world are victims of abuse and neglect. Remind your followers how they can get involved with your organization to help children in your community or beyond.

April 7: World Health Day

An event hosted annually by the World Health Organization and this year’s theme is depression. If your nonprofit is involved with mental health, today is an excellent way to join the conversation on social media to bring awareness of your efforts and how others can help.

April 10: Sibling Day

Always a trending hashtag on Twitter and a prime opportunity for sibling story telling. You could have one sibling interview the other or share a story of how helping one sibling helped the family as a whole. Endless possibilities!

April 11: Pet Day

Time to give some love to those service dogs! Oh, don’t forget to share any pics of the office dog (if you’re lucky enough to have one!).

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My buddies – Kevin and his service dog.

April 15: Microvolunteering Day

Besides being a crazy long word to type, your content on this day must showcase all the quick and easy ways your followers can make a difference without a huge time or monetary investment.

April 16: Easter Sunday

Don’t be that guy – you know, the brand that uses a religious holiday for self-serving purposes. Just saying.

April 17: Haiku Poetry Day

Who doesn’t love a haiku? Refreshing and fun way to share your organization’s message.

MiracleFeet Tweet
Similar example from World Poetry Day.

April 20: Volunteer Recognition Day

You should recognize your volunteers often and with sincerity and April 20th is no exception. Use social media to give your volunteers shout-outs. Just make sure they are ok with you using their photo and/or name.

April 22: Earth Day

Always a trending day! You could host an environmental campaign in your community and share live updates throughout the day on social media.

April 29: World Wish Day

In honor of the anniversary that inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish in 1980 this is a day of granting wishes for sick children and thanking those who made wishes possible. If Make-A-Wish has helped any of the families you support, today is a great way to thank them and stories of their share their wishes.

How Volunteering at an Animal Shelter Changes Your View on Life

Depressing. Scary. Dirty. Hopeless.

These were all the reasons why I resisted volunteering at an animal shelter. I’m irrationally emphatic when it comes to furry creatures, but that was the very thing holding me back from donating my time at a shelter. I had fostered dogs through rescue groups in the past, but with two senior, grouchy dogs my home was no longer a great option for foster pups.

A dear friend pushed me to shadow her during one of her volunteer shifts at the SPCA of Wake County. Despite telling her I wasn’t emotionally capable of seeing frightened and isolated animals, she kept reassuring me that I would be pleasantly surprised. She was right! Three months later, I’m an active, happy volunteer and have taken away valuable life lessons.

1. Assumptions are toxic.

Today’s climate is full of aggressive perceptions lately. Social media is a dark hole for politic argument and harsh judgement. In an attempt to avoid this turning into a politic post, I’m going to assume you can rationally connect the dots here…

I truly thought people who volunteer at animal shelters and don’t walk away emotionally wasted must either not care for animals as much as I do or they willing sacrifice their mental health, because they are freaking angels. Gah, I feel embarrassed to even admit that now. Stepping out of my comfort zone and turning my assumptions into different reality not only changed my view on volunteering at the SPCA, but opened my eyes to other areas of my life that may be constricted by tunnel vision.

2. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing.

I would be lying if I said volunteering at an animal shelter didn’t have hard-hitting moments. However, it doesn’t come from seeing forgotten pets in the shelter rooms. It is the history that some of them carry: abused, neglected, used for breeding and then discarded, starved, etc…

During a recent shift, I was walking down the hall of the SPCA of Wake County and stopped dead in my tracks. A gorgeous gray pit bull was being brought into the shelter fresh from surgery. Her body was covered in several long, angry stitches. The staff didn’t know what caused her initial injuries, but she was a mess. To my novice eyes, they didn’t look like bite marks from a dog fight. Before my imagination conjured up a story, the pittie lifted her tail and moved toward me. She sniffed my hand and allowed me to pet her soft head. Regardless of the horrors she had experienced, she didn’t hold that against me. Animals possess an unearthly way of forgiving and accepting love. A lesson humans should exercise more often.

3. A little attention goes a long way.

We all hustle through life. We fall into routines and neglect the opportunity for little shared moments. Volunteering with animals reminded me how little gestures can go a long way.

Jess, a pit/lab mix is a perfect example. In her doggie room, she is very quiet and still. Usually asleep on her cozy bed, she looks pretty content. I’ve had the pleasure on working with her twice this week, but I was getting discouraged that she never wanted to play with toys in the yard. So, I took a different approach today. I just sat down on the ground and she immediately pushed her entire body into mine. She laid her head on my shoulder and I laid my head on hers and we just sat. For 15 minutes, we just cuddled and connected. At one point, she took a huge breath and exhaled. I heard her, “I just needed some loving attention.” Don’t we all, Jess, don’t we all.

4. Be you.

Some people have to sleep with socks on. Some people think sleeping in socks is some sort of torture device. We all have our “things.” Daisy, a hound mix full of personality, is the perfect example. She had to (had to!) be let out into the yard with her leash still intact. I can’t tell you why, but if you took it off (and I did, because I thought she was being ridiculous and didn’t want her to pee on it!) and she went bonkers. She ran around and wouldn’t let me get near her. I realized I was forcing my opinion on the matter on her and kept the leash on during my second round of outside time with her. All went well. She happily played with me…leash dangling like her super hero cape.

I imagine volunteering anywhere can remind you of life’s most important lessons. For me, getting over my ill-placed misconceptions and volunteering at the SPCA of Wake County has been a tremendously rewarding experience. I encourage you to do the same!

Visit the SPCA website for all their volunteer opportunities: http://spcawake.org/get-involved/volunteer/

#GivingTuesday Planning: Create a Standout Theme

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving after the sales and sparkle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, #GivingTuesday takes place on November 29, 2016. This social media event is a fun and easy way to kick-off your end of year campaign and engage your donors. There’s no excuse for nonprofits skip this event. Last year, over 70,000 people participated and raised about $116,000,000 online.

To ensure you make the most of the day, all your marketing efforts (social media content, emails, newsletters, etc…) should all be coordinated around a standout theme. You want your theme to match your brand voice, style and guidelines, but this particular campaign should be unique enough to shine above your regular content and cut through the abundant amount of content that will be pushed out that day by other nonprofits. Creating that stellar theme can be a bit daunting, so here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Cause & Effect

You always want to show your donors how their support makes a difference and #GivingTuesday is an excellent way to visually illustrate impact. For example, you can start each hour with a photo that shows something missing without your help, the call to action in your copy should be the dollar amount/action needed to satisfy the goal, then end the hour with the missing object fulfilled.

SPCA of Wake County mock-up example:

Add color to this pic! Donate $5 this hour to give our shelter dogs toys to pounce on. [link] #GivingTuesday

before SPCA

You did it! We raised $100 in an hour and now Bella and her friends will have fun toys to chase. #GivingTuesday

SPCA
Photo via @SPCAWake

Every hour can be a new black and white photo brought to life by your followers donations.

2. Humor

Humor doesn’t always have a place in the nonprofit world as their missions are usually very serious. However, if it is acceptable for your organization, #GivingTuesday may be the perfect opportunity for you to push the envelope a bit.

Pretty “ballsy” humor from the Alabama Spray/Neuter Program:

Balls

More subtle humor can work, too:

MJF

3. Milestone Moments

Keep momentum moving throughout the day by setting milestone goals and rewards. Set an hourly donation or volunteer sign-up goal and once that goal is reached, you can post a coupon code from a sponsor or a thank you video from a celebrity.

4. Challenges

Everyone loves a challenge, especially sharing challenges they accomplished. From walking challenges to photo contests, there are so many ways to ask your followers to step up on #GivingTuesday to help raise funds and/or awareness of your organization’s efforts.

photo contest

A well thought out theme will keep your #GivingTuesday campaign consistent and memorable. Regardless of your theme, remember to constantly engage and thank your participants throughout the day.

I’d love to hear what theme you picked! Share your ideas in the comments or tweet me at @daily_scramble.