The Power of the Picture: 4 Tips for Instagram Success

Managing multiple social media platforms for your nonprofit organization is no small task. Here are four quick tips for launching a brilliant Instagram account for your nonprofit.

By Maddie Bro

Variety is the spice of life. This idiom rings true in the world of social media. Status updates, tweets, snapchats, and vines provide a medley of options that nonprofits can utilize to communicate their values and goals to current and future supporters.

However, managing several accounts for your nonprofit can be stressful. For instance, just as you’re getting the hang of Facebook and Twitter accounts, your boss suggests you set up an Instagram for your organization. Taking on another project can be overwhelming. Not only that, you may ask yourself, how can I appeal to donors with just photos?

Britt Vogel of Wired Impact, a webdesign company specializing in nonprofit organizations, outlines four steps that will put you well on your way to mastering Instagram.

  1. Commit. Many nonprofits have great enthusiasm when first using social media but soon neglect them, Instagram in particular. Staying committed to your accounts will put you a step above the rest. Sharing photos and interacting with followers on a regular basis will help foster an online community. This can be helpful when making donation asks down the road.

Instagram in Action: Vogel recommends checking out the impactful visuals and thorough supporter engagement seen on Mission of Hope Haiti’s account.

  1. Ensure consistency and quality. Share photos often so your followers remember your organization has an account. However, make sure your pictures have the purpose to inspire, not just to make a deadline.

Instagram in Action: Mix it up! Planned Parenthood’s Instagram account is a great example of how to nonprofits go beyond the common snapped picture. Share contributed photos, inspirational quotes, and infographics.

  1. Tell A Story. Vogel reminds us that a picture is worth a thousand words. Moreover, Instagram allows you to add captions to your posts. This allows you to provide context that the follower wouldn’t otherwise conclude from just looking at the photo.

Instagram in Action: Humans of New York is arguably one of the best photo storytellers on social media today. In addition to capturing compelling images, HONY makes use of captions to allow the subjects to share their experiences on their terms.

  1. Call to Action. After building a community of followers, be sure to ask them to take the next step: donate or volunteer. Put your organization’s website URL in the bio or location box and direct your followers to this link.

Instagram in Action: In preparation for Giving Tuesday in 2014, Americans for the Arts asked its followers to donate in a series of shots posted to Instagram. Note that this organization used the posts’ location boxes to share its website’s URL.

Instagram’s visual, storytelling, and interactional capacities make it a great tool for connecting to existing and potential supporters. Following these four steps will give you peace of mind that the hard work you put into your social media accounts will help your organization reach long-term success.

About the blogger – Maddie Bro is a third-year undergraduate student studying journalism and gender/women’s studies at the University of Iowa. Following graduation, she aspires to attend law school to pursue her interest in studying civil rights law, free speech issues, and equal opportunity policy. Maddie enjoys swimming, running, reading, and catching up on CBS’ The Good Wife in her free time.


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