What’s special about Instagram? For one, it’s the fastest growing social media platform behind Facebook, with 800 million users, 500 million of which use the platform every day.

That being said, according to the 2017 NGO Online Technology Report, only 39% of nonprofits actually use Instagram as a marketing tool. With so many active users, Instagram is a relatively untapped resource for nonprofit organizations, and this may be due to its relative newness in the social media scene. How can you take advantage of this incredibly popular platform? Below, we’ve outlined how to effectively use Instagram to spread your story and further your mission.

  1. Use visual storytelling to appeal to your audience. If you’ve ever logged into Instagram, you know that it’s all about the visuals. Instagram is primarily a photo-sharing platform, meaning that in order to use it effectively, you have to have visuals on hand that you can post. This isn’t always easy for nonprofits who are newly on the digital scene, but it’s never too late to start. Take advantage of Instagram as a way to emotionally appeal to your audience. Make sure you’re bringing your camera or phone with you to events, fundraisers, and more so that you’re always ready to capture the amazing work your organization is doing.
  2. Connect with your community. Like Twitter, hashtags are an important part of connecting with others on Instagram. Adding hashtags to your photos puts your photo in a stream with other related posts using the same hashtag, helping interested users find you, and vice-versa. You can also connect with users interested in your cause by searching certain hashtags on Instagram, such as “#socialgood” or “#nonprofits.” Click on the photos in the stream to discover other people doing amazing work who may be interested in connecting.
  3. Keep your fans updated. We know there’s not always big news or outcomes to post about on social media, but that doesn’t mean your fans aren’t interested in the day-to-day of your nonprofit. Instagram is a great way to add personality to your organization and let your community get to know the faces behind all the hard work you do. Post behind the scenes photos, photos of your staff, small accomplishments, fun times in the office, etc. to help your community get to know you better.
  4. Elevate your fundraising. Instagram can be a great way to promote your fundraisers and events. When gearing up for a fundraising campaign, put together a folder of compelling visuals you think you can use to motivate donors to get involved in your cause. Create branded graphics to promote your event in a dynamic way, and use hashtags to connect with potential donors. Additionally, tag potential partners and participants in your posts, and encourage them to post about your fundraiser and tag your organization as well. This will greatly expand your reach, getting a personal introduction into participants’ networks. As your event nears, continue to post updates about your fundraising progress, and after your event, dedicate a few posts to thanking your fans and showcasing your results.