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Community Engagement Tips for Nonprofits

May 1, 2020

During this unprecedented moment in time, our team has been truly inspired by how communities are coming together to care for one another through acts of kindness and generous outpourings of support.

We understand this is a challenging time for many organizations – but people are looking for ways to help, big or small. It’s important for nonprofits to find opportunities to further mobilize current and new supporters, share ways that the community can help and ultimately raise critical support for their missions.

In the spirit of community and recognizing that many nonprofits and organizations are facing extraordinary need caused by COVID-19, we wanted to share a few engagement tips and best practices to guide you and your organization.



Social Media Campaign
To ensure that you effectively garner community participation, your organization can implement a social media campaign to highlight your initiatives and designate how to support your cause. Give followers easy, specific instructions on how they can donate or take action, and utilize trending hashtags like #nonprofit, #covidresponse or #ThanksHealthHeroes as relevant. Include graphics with your logo or a photo representing your cause to stand out.

Media Outreach
You may consider outreaching local and regional media outlets, if they tend to cover community organizations, to bring attention to the community’s needs as well as to share your current efforts and ways to support. In addition to highlighting the importance of giving back, they may welcome such a story to help balance negative news.

Digital Engagement
Consider adding a pop-up banner on your website homepage or promoting your efforts via email and newsletter blasts. Utilize any channels you feel appropriate for talking about your organization’s mission, how your work has been impacted by COVID-19 and how the community can support you. While you may be unable to host in-person fundraising events, consider how you can gather your supporters virtually.

Non-Fundraising Activations
If you are hesitant about solely asking for funds, blend in non-fundraising-driven content such as:

  • Spotlight volunteers and donors/sponsors to highlight your
    efforts and their impact
  • Encourage supporters to share stories or photos of what
    your cause means to them
  • Amplify the work of other community partners by liking and sharing their content
  • Find a creative way to thank your supporters


  1. Highlight your current efforts. Let your followers and supporters know how your organization has been responding to and supporting COVID-19 efforts. Showcasing your work and positive impact will contextualize how donations will help the cause.
  2. Encourage community partners or major donors to match donations. Ask businesses or individuals to match donations to a set amount and cross-promote the fundraising campaign on their social media channels.
  3. Create a text-to-donate campaign. Using the Give Lively platform, this giving strategy is designed to let donors act immediately. Although text-to-donate contributions are typically very small – in the $5 to $10 range – they can add up. Give Lively typically offers free services for nonprofits.
  4. Set measurable goals. Setting a goal and explaining how the funds will be used can be a great motivator for potential donors. Don’t forget to report back after the campaign on your success!


  1. Share content across all channels. The best way to receive and generate awareness is through social media. Post across all channels using trending hashtags to reach a larger audience.
  2. Give context to COVID-19. Acknowledge how the pandemic has affected the organization and what you’ve done in response to support patrons, beneficiaries or other groups in need. Be specific. If this challenging time leaves you in greater need than usual, say so!
  3. Choose impactful visuals. Especially when soliciting donations, include images that showcase the impact of the organization and personalize your mission.
  4. Encourage team members to share your efforts. And make it easy to share. Whether utilizing their personal social media channels or spreading the word to family and friends, engaging employees, volunteers and friends of your organization is beneficial to generate increased organic awareness.



If you’re interested in learning more about best practices for fundraising, community engagement, social media activations or other areas of strategic communications, don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected].