Today, social media is one of the most powerful and present channels of communication with the world. Social media allows any company or non-profit organization to reach the target audience that couldn’t be reached back in the day, when all you had as mean of communication were newspapers, brochures and TV spots.
Non-profit organizations have realized that, if they want to raise money for their campaigns, they need to communicate with their audience. Moreover, they need to guide them and make them understand why their small contribution matters in the big picture. And this is how the "Donate" button came to life.
World Wildlife Fund – The Website
To exemplify the importance of social media and well-prepared campaigns for these channels, I will talk about World Wildlife Fund, a successful non-profit organization that has won the hearts of its audience due to their significant campaigns and the way they interact with the public.
Since I am going to focus on the social media aspect, I won’t talk in detail about their website. However, I think it is very important to mention that from the website’s design to all the stories and very interesting information provided there, as well as the constant presence of call to action sections, I think their website is very appealing to the readers.
We know that non-profit organizations that focus on protecting the environment and wildlife are usually very popular among donors and manage to attract many participants to their campaigns. That’s because the environment is one of our top concerns these days, and we need to do everything to protect it. However, from reading about it to taking action is a long way, but World Wildlife Fund has managed to pave it flawlessly with good intentions and make it easy for everyone to step on it.
The World Wildlife Fund homepage focuses first on important environment-related news and fascinating information about wildlife, and leaves the call to action section for the bottom page. You might think that this is just not good business because readers usually focus on the info presented at level of their eyes, but this is not true.
World Wildlife Fund concentrates on showing first how fascinating nature can be, and how important is to protect it for the next generations and, only after showing that every contribution matters, invites readers to take action and get involved in fundraising campaigns – through the Take Action and Fundraise sections. Each section leads to extensive details about the ways anyone can help wildlife.
There is however a toolbar right on top the homepage that underlines the four most important aspects of the website: ABOUT US (includes everything you need to know about the organization) / HOW TO HELP (all the ways everyone can make a difference) / and then two orange buttons that stand out due to their orange highlighting: DONATE / ADOPT. So, readers who don’t have the time to go through the entire homepage or website, but want to get involved, can do it with one simple click of a button.
The website has three simple categories: Species, Places and Our Work. I really like their approach because it keeps everything simple for the reader, who will be able to find specific details about a species or a place he is interested in fast and easy.
Each category extends in many sub-categories for an easier orientation when navigating the website. However, each sub-category is approached in detail, focusing on an overview, threats and why saving the respective species or place matters for the entire world. They offer statistics, updated information and real data, as well as details about their work to protect and save those species and places. Basically, the readers have the chance to see what exactly happens with their donations and how the World Wildlife Fund uses their money.
Only after explaining everything in detail, the readers find out how they can help (by supporting World Wildlife Fund, adopting animals, fundraising etc.).
While on the general categories, the social media buttons were displayed at the bottom of the page, in small size, each sub-category ends with large and colorful social media buttons that invite people to connect with the organization and its supporters through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram. The small, grey social media buttons remain however on the sub-categories pages too.
Tip: While social media channels drive traffic to your website, your website can and will drive traffic to your social media accounts, with the help of buttons linked to the platforms where your organization is present.
World Wildlife Fund – Social Media
The World Wildlife Fund social media channels are used as communication and marketing strategies. The organization has a strong online presence due to their interesting articles and videos, important data provided and life-changing campaigns.
Their online presence at the moment (February 2015):
Facebook: 1,503,759 likes
Twitter: 539,000 followers
YouTube: 16,762 subscribers
Google+: 393,033 followers (6,750,331 views)
Instagram: 75,600 followers
I think these numbers are quite impressive, considering that we’re not talking about rock stars or celebrities.
Social media is a much appreciated innovation by the non-profit organizations, who manage to make their intentions and campaign known without having to spend a fortune on marketing strategies. They can make a statement even if they have tight budgets and limited staff, because social media channels are quite accessible.
However, this doesn’t mean they just share website articles once in a while and let the community do their work. As you can see from their social media channels, the World Wildlife Fund is present daily in the lives of their followers.
They post new information and call to action posts on a daily basis, on all their social media channels, sometimes even two, three times a day. They are interacting with their followers and answering questions, and this means that they respect and invite them to become an active part of the organization.
Tip: It’s a known fact that posts that include questions which start with verbs such as "would" and "should" attract more likes, shares and comments than simple statements. The followers love to have their voice heard and be a part of an online community.
Also, very important, most of the times, their posts include questions in order to trigger reactions from their followers and determined them to get involved. The posts also include links to their website and details about how everyone can help the wildlife.
The staff in charge with Facebook posts make sure all their pictures are absolutely spectacular and of the highest quality.
Tip: Inserting links to your website in social media posts drives traffic and helps the audience keep in touch with the latest news and information related to your non-profit organization.
Example of a successful World Wildlife Fund campaign on Facebook:
2010 – The Government of Montenegro intended to build multiple hydropower plants on Morača River
March 29, 2010 – World Wildlife Fund – intervened on Facebook with a petition signing campaign meant to ask the Montenegro government to rethink the plan of building a dam in the Morača River due to the huge environmental and economic risks.
Less than three weeks later – The World Wildlife Fund collected nearly 15,000 signatures for the petition.
August, 2010 – the Government of Montenegro called of its original plans for four dams and announced a public debate on the issue
Facebook likes at that time: 738k
Twitter followers: 475k
Imagine what they can do with over 2 million Facebook likes!
World Wildlife Fund is very active on Twitter too, with daily tweets and interesting videos to watch. Of course, they are also promoting their campaigns and insert links to their website. The tone is friendly and fun, perfect for a social media channel such as Twitter. The news are so interesting and the data provided is so significant, that it’s virtually impossible not to want to re-tweet their information and get involved.
It’s interesting to know that some of their followers are people you may know, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen and Jessica Biel, celebrities who have the power to make the organization’s causes known, and bring in new followers and, consequently, new donations.
Tip: It’s an extraordinary thing for a non-profit organization to be able to benefit from the support of internationally known personalities who can add a capital of image to their campaigns.
The latest celebrity who has associated his name with the World Wildlife Fund is Jared Leto, a known activist for animal rights and environment protection.
The fact that Jared Leto is a WWF Global Ambassador has been announced on the organization’s YouTube channel too, and it already raised 19,848 views, being posted only 6 days ago (at the moment of when I’m writing this article). Once a celebrity and, in this case, an Oscar winner gets involved, it’s much easier to reach a wider public and raise awareness.
The YouTube channel includes many interesting video, which have the power to captivate the audience and help them learn new things. It’s easier to attract donors by telling interesting and touching stories, than by exposing boring numbers who no one can remember.
Tip: I love the fact that the organization put together a Thank You for Your Support Video that gathered until now 24,958 views. Sure, it’s not 500 millions views like the newest video of Taylor Swift managed to have, but for a non-profit organization dedicating to saving animals and the environment is something. Thank You posts or videos are a very inspired way to show your followers and donors that their help counts and that you appreciate their effort. It makes everything more personal and…real.
It’s true that the World Wildlife Fund is not as active on their Google+ account, as they are on Facebook and Twitter, but to be honest, neither is Google+ among social media channels. However, they manage to post interesting information every few months, and they have kept their followers number to almost 400,000 followers.
The World Wildlife Fund Instagram account has 169 posts and 75.6k followers. The posts are beautiful photos accompanied by call to action sentences such as "Like if we agree", "Follow the link", "Check out the video" etc. All of these sentences are meant to determine followers to find out the story that hides behind the picture and share the information.
They’ve also inserted links to their website and hashtags for a better reach of audience. Their Instagram account is considered by many inspirational and determines many of the followers to comment, share and get involved in their campaigns.
Tip: It’s true that one picture is worth a thousand words! Make sure your pictures are high quality and send a message!
Social media offers great channels for putting together polls and discovering the interests and preferences of followers and users.
For example, one of the Facebook polls planned by World Wildlife Fund revealed that a third of their fans have dolphins as their favorite marine animal. Following this discovery, the organization managed to appeal to people by making public a study related to the endangered Mekong dolphins. And this is how non-profit organizations create personal connections and raise awareness of their agenda.
Social media platforms should be used by non-profit organizations to built communities and engage people to discuss issues and feel determined to get involved. This means that followers need to be engaged by diverse content, such as blog articles, press coverage, news, information on upcoming events, stories about people helped and volunteers, and so on. Variety keeps the public engaged!
Also, non-profit organization should focus on presenting the ways the followers and fans can help, from donations and fundraising campaigns to banner posting and getting RSS feeds on their social pages.
Tip: However, make sure you don’t overdo it! Too many posts that invade the followers’ feeds may be irritating and determine them to hit the "Unfollow" or "Unlike" button.
by NJE Design