The 5C’s on How Social Media can work for your NGO (Part I)

Often, non-government organizations (NGOs) learn from marketing blogs written by commercial marketers on how to get a million likes and followers in their respective social media sites or how to make people talk about their organization through hashtags… and it can get kind of cliché. We are all writing and reading about the same thing, so it becomes this vortex of similar procedures and how-to’s that can be hard to select through to find things you didn’t already know. It’s hard to remember all those tips and it is hard to stay inspired, too.

There is a key that can help us get out of this vortex: The 5C’s. This is the part 1 on how NGOs can leverage social media, in an easy-to-understand and inspiring way. Connect, Communicate, and Content.


Non-profit organizations operating purposely for public welfare are most likely to get online interest of the people than traditional businesses trying to sell something. There are several social media which provides free sign-up for organizations like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and blogs, so go on and get involved with over half-billion more people currently using Facebook.


Your Facebook account can do more than just status updates, generate page likes, and photo sharing. You can use it to raise awareness of your upcoming events and garner more promotion to the interested individuals. Create your Facebook page and include your NGO’s official logo, contact number, address, photos and videos of your organization.

Most of the NGOs work specifically to be closer to homes thus going through local conversations in Twitter can start conversations around hashtags to get people talking about your cause. Habitat for Humanity Philippines successfully engaged their Youth Builders by encouraging the audience to follow or use #HabitatYB and #HabitatYBPhils.

In LinkedIn, you can find successful entrepreneurs with non-profit board experience so you may start engaging them in your LinkedIn account while blogs serve as your digital printing press. Use text, photos and videos to tell stories of the people you’ve helped, those who are still suffering and the impact you’re having on the community or the world.


The essence of social media is social. Some nonprofits often misunderstand the power of social media that they exist to broadcast only – one way communication. Simply having a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+ does not guarantee success for NGOs. You have to make yourself uncomfortable in social media conversations. By doing this, “you are taking down the walls, allowing people to participate in unusual and unpredictable ways, which is the only way creativity can thrive”, says Allison Fine

Social media is a key part of your overall communications strategy and it should be managed by people who know your organization, its culture, the culture of your supporters and your communications goals. They should be knowledgeable on how to respond to criticism and how to network on your organization’s behalf. Thus, there is nothing more fulfilling for a Facebook account to garner feedback and questions from the audience. It is important to acknowledge those who care about your organization whether that’s through a simple re-tweet or a liked comment in a Facebook thread. Let the audience know that you are not just playing the role of a person in the balcony trying to shout your message to the people, but an organization is which is approachable and cares.


If you desire to succeed in this point, it is essential that your social media volunteers have experience in writing website and blog content, managing online fundraising campaigns, publishing an e-newsletter, and working with digital photography and video. They should have at least the skills necessary in order to build a strong social media campaign.

For NGOs, having a strong online presence is principally important because your causes rely heavily (sometimes entirely) on your supporters. Update your blog post contents regularly, keep recent events posted and utilize tools which allow your blog visitors to easily share your story with their networks. The more shareable content you produce on your social media accounts, the more individuals will see what your organization is undertaking and be motivated to get behind it. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is an example of a remarkably successful social media campaign. They were able to drive traffic to their website, and subsequently attract donations, volunteers, and raise general awareness for their cause.

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