How #nonprofits can use #hashtags to maximize #impact
When someone mentions hashtags, the social media site most people immediately think of is Twitter. It was Twitter, after all, that popularized the tag when it started supporting its use in 2009. Since then, though, several other social media platforms have followed suit (like tumblr, Instagram, Google+, and Flickr), and this week Facebook officially implemented hashtags into its platform. As a result, understanding hashtags is an important part of any nonprofit’s broader social media strategy, and not just for Twitter.
Hashtags are incredibly useful because they allow online users to sift through massive numbers of posts to find and respond to the content that is most relevant to them. From a nonprofit’s perspective, hashtags help people interested in the nonprofit’s cause to more easily locate information from that organization.
There are several popular and widely-used nonprofit-related hashtags that can increase your retweets, views and clickthroughs, encourage interaction with your followers, and help you tap into powerful currents of conversation and learning:
#activism - tweets about current events and advocacy
#csr - stands for “corporate social responsibility,” can be used in conjunction with a nonprofit’s corporate partners
#fundraising - to promote current and upcoming fundraising events, or search for fundraising tips
#philanthropy - best used for posts related to grantmaking, foundations, and donor trends/behavior
#volunteer - to set up volunteer opportunities or get in touch with volunteer coordinators
#nptech - everything Web 2.0. Stands for “nonprofit technology” and can be used in any tweet related to how nonprofits use tech and social media.
#charitytuesday - a hashtag started in 2009 that encourages charities to promote their missions to potential new followers every Tuesday
#sm4sg - “social media for social good”
#socent - for social entrepreneurs or social enterprises
You can also use hashtags that go with specific missions or interest areas, e.g. #eco, #fairtrade, #humanrights, #poverty, etc.
There are weekly chats on Twitter relevant to nonprofits’ missions that use hashtags:
#nptalk - nonprofit talk, which happens weekly Wednesdays, 3-4pm EST
#ynpchat - young nonprofit professionals (first Wednesday of the month, 4-5pm EST)
#npcons - nonprofit consultants (third Tuesday of every month, 4-5pm EST)
#socentchat - social entrepreneur chat, first Wednesday of the month, 4-6pm EST)
#smNPchat - small nonprofits chat (every other Friday, 12-1pm EST)
It can also be effective to create your own hashtags that your supporters can adopt and use themselves. These are especially useful for specific events and drives, as long as you tell and remind your followers what the hashtags mean. Using two hashtags in one post is also a simple yet reliable way to increase your message’s “reach.”
Finally, you can always use the hashtag #givingsomething in tweets, Facebook posts, and more to promote your GST needs list, send social media thank-yous to donors, and share donation stories. Doing so once a week or every few days is a simple yet powerful way to direct your supporters to your needs list, which in turn translates to more donations.