With hundreds of millions of active users, many of whom are young and open to new, inspiring causes, savvy non profits are jumping on Instagram. With quality visuals and inspiring messages, you can certainly build an audience for your non profit there.  Especially if you use the right hashtags, Instagram is great at intuitively finding people who will be interested in you. They do that work for you. As long as you can get a good quality picture, they do some of the audience building for you. The potential is only limited by your creativity, as long as you show, tell and engage.

1. Show

Instagram is a picture platform first and foremost. You need to be visually compelling. Users are almost always on mobile, with the pictures taking up the entire width of the screen. If your picture is compelling, they will stop and read, not vice versa. You need the wow factor. You can certainly post smart phone pictures and use a filter, just keep some of the basic photo rules in mind (have one focus, the rule of thirds, quality lighting, etc.). Instagram has design recommendations. You can post pictures with quotes related to your non profit from famous people, volunteers, the people you support etc. You can post pictures of successful fundraising events. Give people a window into your non profit.

2. Tell

Have good text on your images too. It shouldn’t just be all hashtags, but something powerful. Images will get people’s attention to the text, so use it well. Vary your message lengths – Instagram recommends around 125, but you can use 300 characters. Try not to overdo it with hashtags – 3 is usually a good number. And test out some call to actions to get people supporting you outside of Instagram.

3. Engage

Don’t just send out images and messages and leave it. Try to get dialouge going and keep it going. Posting inspiring messages or questions should get people talking. They will see your passion and respond likewise. Many people join forces with non-profits for the community. Show you want them to be a part of it.



Instagram should not be treated like other social media platforms. Spend some time learning how to work it personally (or ask someone who uses it), check out what other non profits are doing and then build it out for your non profit, with a strategy in mind. It won’t be for everyone, but if your non profit works with young people you should at least give it a try. f your non profit powerful.Check out what other non profits are doing.

Bonus: Paid Advertising

First build organically. If it is successful, think about paid advertising. Many non profits overlook paid advertising to keep overhead down, but no matter how you raise money, you need to spend money and/or time. With online advertising you can very easily measure the ROI and move on if it is not working. Instagram is certainly worth some experimenting, with very high click through rates that often times cost less than Facebook. You can even have a call such as Sign Up, Watch More, Learn More, etc. Video ads (limited to 30 seconds and counted as a view after 3 seconds) can be as little as 2 cents per view.