Home Blog How Paid Ads Help Connect Nonprofits With New Stakeholders, Expanding Audience Reach

How Paid Ads Help Connect Nonprofits With New Stakeholders, Expanding Audience Reach

Paid Ads on Social Media

To reach younger audiences, it’s important to recognize the limitations of such traditional marketing activities as word-of-mouth, print ads, fundraising events, and brochures. Today, with the pervasive influence of technology, people are continuously connected through their smart devices, making social media a powerful tool for nonprofits. It offers an opportunity to reach new donors, recruit volunteers, and share your mission.

Advertising on social media is a strategic way to build relationships with key stakeholders and future donors. In our tech-driven society, paid ads can help target the right demographics for your fundraising, awareness, and social media engagement goals. In fact, according to the Giving Report. 29% of online donors say that social media is the communication tool that most inspires them to give.

In the U.S., the number of social media users at the start of 2024 was equivalent to 70.1 percent of the total population while globally the number of social media users grew from 4.72 billion in January 2023 to 5.04 billion in January 2024. Social media is a force to be reckoned with, so it only makes sense for nonprofits to find authentic, creative ways to reach potential donors and volunteers where they are… on social.

Advantages of Paid Ads on Social Media

One key advantage of running paid ads on social media is that it can generate leads and help with fundraising. We’ve provided examples below. Platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and even YouTube offer special features such as call-to-action donation buttons that make it easier for potential donors to give. Another advantage of running paid ads is that you can share compelling stories, including human-interest narratives that emotionalize the nonprofit’s mission. This platform is obviously metrics-rich; organizations can monitor how many people they’re reaching, monitor engagement rates, share donation goals, and engage more deeply with their communities.

Successful Nonprofit Social Media Paid Ad Campaigns

With more than 2.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook continues to be the most popular social media channel. In an in-depth 2022 survey, data reveals that 99 % of nonprofit organizations in the U.S. were using Facebook.

The Humane Society of the United States was an early social media adopter. The organization has an active following on several platforms but thrives on Facebook paid ads. During Giving Tuesday, it secured nearly 5% of donor funding in 2013, with donations totaling $200,000 for this single campaign.

Another compelling illustration of using effective paid ad campaigns can be found in Charity: Water, a nonprofit committed to providing clean water worldwide. Notably, in 2009, the organization led a groundbreaking Twitter fundraiser, reaching users from 200 cities and raising more than $250,000 and significantly boosted global awareness of the water crisis. As part of its strategic social media campaign, the nonprofit orchestrated a Twestival (Twitter + festival) to mobilize Twitter communities globally.

Keep in mind, social media advertising offers both opportunities and challenges for nonprofits. Limited budgets and concerns about rogue social users’ content, and the necessity of constantly monitoring social commentary can deter nonprofits from pursuing this marketing communication channel. Conversely, social media advertising provides invaluable avenues for nonprofits to raise awareness, attract donors, and mobilize support in alignment with their mission and values.

Future Social Media Ad Trends and Opportunities

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok collectively provide unique opportunities for nonprofits to connect with audiences. Staying updated on platform algorithm and tool availability changes is vital for nonprofits to effectively leverage these tools in their marketing communications. Emerging trends in social media advertising for nonprofits include storytelling through short-form content and impactful video narratives while social commerce and peer-to-peer fundraising offer new engagement and donation avenues.