Top Nonprofit Social Media Programs in the U.S.

Olivia Fuller / November 5, 2018

Social media makes it accessible for audiences to engage with all organizations, but for nonprofits, it’s an even more essential tool – it’s a vehicle for mobilizing supporters at little to no cost. Nonprofits, whose budgets are often tight and resources strapped, can broadcast their message, share events, recruit volunteers and encourage donors through social media without having to spend large chunks of precious advertising dollars.

As of 2018, there are 1.4 billion active users on Facebook, one billion on Instagram and 68 million on Twitter. With all this audience potential, it’s no wonder that nonprofit organizations have increased their social presence in recent years.

To grow a following and reach audiences effectively, nonprofits need a social media strategy that defines their value and communicates their mission through every post. Here are three nonprofit social media programs that go above and beyond in sharing their story and engaging communities.

  1. National Geographic Society


As an organization renowned for its stunning photography, it’s no surprise that National Geographic has the most Instagram followers of any nonprofit in the world, with 92.6 million. Through social media, National Geographic not only makes its breathtaking images accessible, but it also offers its followers something they can’t find elsewhere – the stories behind the photos. For most captions, the photographer writes about their experience taking the photo, such as how they got there, what they saw around them and why they snapped the image. With this strategy, National Geographic evokes emotion and encourages engagement from its followers while furthering its mission to explore and protect the planet by educating people about the global issues depicted in its photos.

2. American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society is effective in using a mix of strategies to encourage engagement and mobilize supporters. For example, it shares short, instant-play videos that capture the attention of someone scrolling through their newsfeed. The use of hashtag campaigns or questions in posts invite people to share their personal stories, which can inspire people into action, such as with the above tweet. Other strategies include celebrity partnerships, sharing the latest in research, quotes from cancer survivors, uplifting photos and stories and more.

3. Gates Foundation

The Gates Foundation uses its social media channels to share updates on its philanthropic work in a way that educates its followers on the issues it focuses on without appearing boastful. It shares research developments, overviews of program areas, articles about projects and insight from leaders including Bill and Melinda Gates themselves. Most posts either link to articles and websites with more information or include short videos with a summary of the most important details. This makes the content both easy for followers to digest and share with their networks.

Social media is an important tool for nonprofits to use to share their message and reach new audiences. By using strategies that focus on educating the public and creating awareness for causes they support, like these three organizations, nonprofits can harness the power of social media to further their mission.

Interested in learning more about how nonprofits can use social media and other PR strategies to further their mission without breaking the bank? Check out this article on our blog.