10 Social Media Marketing Tips Nonprofits Need for Holiday 2019

December 9, 2019

Your holiday campaigns are in full swing, but it’s not too late to make a splash on social!

We’ve dug through the “best of the best” holiday campaigns from across industries, identified the latest trends and pinpointed the coolest features across social platforms to bring you our 10 tips to execute right now to bring your holiday message to life on social (and support year-end fundraising goals, of course).

Happy holidays…and happy reading!  

 1. Decorate Your Profiles

Dress your profiles to match the season. Update cover photos and social bios with seasonally appropriate imagery and copy that aligns with your holiday campaign.

  • Twitter: update bio copy, cover photo, profile photo
  • Instagram: update bio copy, profile photo
  • Facebook: update cover photo/video, profile photo
  • YouTube: update cover photo, profile photo

lululemon updated its Facebook cover photo to promote its 2018 holiday campaign ‘Feel Good Giving’

The Gap updated its Facebook cover photo to align with its 2018 holiday message ‘Share Your Gift’

2. Balance Asks and Offers 

The holiday period for nonprofit marketers spans almost two months and covers four key moments in time: Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday, Holiday and Calendar Year End. Think about what you’re offering and what you’re asking for on your organic social channels throughout the season. Make sure to balance direct asks with content that adds value. Doing so will keep followers engaged, encourage social sharing and ensure audiences are primed and ready to give at the right moment in time. 

How can you add value? Well, stay true to your brand and your holiday campaign, of course. Remember, just because it can fit doesn’t mean it should. Then, think about what people need during the holidays: stress relief, encouragement, or even a good laugh.

PRO TIP: Find a way to give people something during a time when you’re asking them to do the same. 

Inspiring Examples:

  • The American Heart Association offsets direct-ask messaging with tips for making classic holiday recipes a little bit healthier.
  • The Boys & Girls Clubs of America launched a weekly Instagram Story series that focuses on sharing positive news from around the world every Sunday night. This series was easy to execute, easy to enjoy and tied in with the organization’s overarching holiday theme.
  • As part of its 2018 holiday campaign ‘Feel Good Giving,’ lululemon shared simple ways for followers to give themselves or another person a gift during the holiday season. One post encourages the viewer to “tag someone important to you below and give them a reminder of just how great they are and why,” while another post drives the viewer to a blog where she can access a free yoga practice to help keep her mind and body balanced during the hectic holiday season. The use of #FeelGoodGiving and consistent visual templates unify these posts as a series

Lululemon ‘Feel Good Giving’ social post samples

3. Encourage Social Sharing with Simple and Impactful Visuals

Your visual content mix is how you greet the world, especially on Instagram, where visuals are queen! Encourage followers to share your content by keeping it visually consistent and simple. 

Leverage a combination of seasonally appropriate photography (custom photos from the field or relevant stock imagery if necessary), influencer and/or user generated imagery, and text-based graphics to create a dynamic visual mix across your social channels.

As a best practice, photography and graphics should have minimal branding. Graphics should, however, maintain a consistent look and feel that aligns with your holiday campaign so that followers can easily recognize your content.  


  • Keep your top performing posts from the year or last holiday season in mind when building new visual assets.
  • Stay true to your brand look and feel, as well as any visuals specific to your holiday campaign.
  • Keep in mind how copy and creative play off each other.
  • Be bold! Don’t be afraid to try something different. Organic social is the place to test and learn.
  • Don’t over complicate it—simple is sharable, and sharable is what we want.

lululemon mixes holiday specific graphics with product imagery. A consistent color palette and graphic style unify these posts and connect them to the holiday campaign.

4. Join in the Conversation

One of the biggest mistakes you can make on organic social is forgetting to talk to who is already there. Don’t just post and hope your content “goes viral.” Engage in the conversations that are already happening to help drive engagement rates up.

Conversation Drivers…

  • Respond to your followers’ comments with questions to keep the conversation going.
  • Reply to messages on Instagram, especially when a user mentions you in their Instagram Story.
  • Like and comment on content from your super fans.
  • Re-post and re-story strong user generated content.
  • Ask questions in your copy and encourage users to respond in the comments. For example: What’s your favorite holiday tradition? What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?

5. Leverage Influencer Partners 

Further amplify your holiday message by inviting influencer partners to participate. This could mean sharing specific holiday assets on their own social profiles to increase your reach or even creating custom content that aligns with your holiday theme.  

As you continue building brand awareness through your influencer network, leverage your strongest influencer partners to fundraise on your behalf at key moments in time.

Influencers can…

  • Host a Facebook Fundraiser on your behalf.
  • Drive donations with the donate button on Instagram Story.
  • Feature a custom donate link via swipe up feature on Instagram Story.
  • Feature a custom donate link via Instagram bio link.

Laura (73.3K, @codergirl_) posted in support of Boys and Girls Clubs of America to raise awareness for STEM programs and the BGCA Youth of the Year Gala in June 2019.

Addison Peacock (5.7K ,@Addison_Peacock) hosted a charity stream online for Planned Parenthood that fit within a Halloween Horror theme.

6. Drive Person to Person In-Platform Fundraisers 

Facebook Fundraisers and Instagram’s donate sticker for IG Stories empower fans to fundraise on your behalf, but many users don’t fully understand how to use these tools. Make it easy for followers to host their own fundraisers by showing them just how to use the tools and making clear the impact they can have.

Top Tips for Driving P2P Fundraisers:

  • Proactively educate and encourage supporters to create their own Facebook or Instagram fundraisers to support the cause. ​
  • Create fun, friendly content that teaches users how (and why) to take advantage of in-platform fundraising tools. ​
      • Instagram | featured screen recording IG story that shows the user, step-by-step how to use the donate button. ​
      • Facebook | super simple (and screenshot-able) graphic that gives users some “tips” for hosting their own fundraiser. ​
    • Engage and steward individual fundraisers through third-party chat bot/AI technology​.

7. Host Your Own Social Fundraiser & Drive In-Platform Giving 

Inviting followers to leverage IG and FB fundraise tools on your behalf is extremely valuable, but you can utilize the tools, too, and host your own in-platform fundraisers at key moments in time.

Top Tips for Hosting In-Platform Fundraisers

  • Launch Facebook fundraising campaign through your national Facebook account.
  • Leverage unused paid media budget to sponsor your fundraiser and boost reach.
  • Utilize organic social content to drive participation.
  • Enroll followers with a public, timebound goal– e.g. “help us reach 200 donors by 2pm”.
  • Provide real time updates to engage and reinforce sense of urgency.
  • Celebrate progress to goal and encourage social sharing.

PRO TIP: On October 16, 2019, Instagram publicly expanded its “Donate” call-to-action button, enabling nonprofits to add this CTA to their Instagram profiles, making it even easier to fundraise directly from the platform. Make sure you’re set up and ready to leverage this exciting new feature!

8. Give Your Top Posts a ‘Boost’

Brands duke it out for social real estate on Facebook all year long, and the battle intensifies during the holiday season. Give yourself an edge and connect with those hard to reach users by boosting your top performing organic Facebook posts.

PRO TIP: Keep an eye on what’s working throughout the season and allocate a portion of your advertising budget for those top performing posts.

9. Gift Guides Aren’t Just for Retailers 

Turn the traditional gift guide on its head with a “Gifts for Good” style guide in which you give followers ideas for giving back to their communities this holiday season. Include actionable ways your followers can get involved and give back, whether that’s volunteering, donating supplies, or even making a financial gift on someone’s behalf. This is a tactic for encouraging donations while also adding value.

10. Reflect and Project

The last week of the calendar year is often a time of reflection, so join in on the introspection with a dedicated ‘year in review’ post. This could take shape as a blog post that you drive to via social and email, an Instagram Story series you then pin to the top of your feed, or even a simple post to each of your primary social channels.

These reflection style posts give you a final opportunity to highlight the great work your organization did this year and position that work amongst other big cultural moments from the past year. In doing so, you can position your organization as relevant in the world today.

After you reflect, it’s important to also look forward and project. What can followers expect from you in the coming year? What lies ahead? Tease out what’s coming from your organization and inspire followers to stay tuned for more.

Thinx reflected on its own accomplishments from the year in this look back style blog post.

As we head into the rest of the holidays, consider using these 10 tips to maximize your social media potential right now. It’s the most wonderful time of the year to make an impact for your organization across your social channels.

May your engagement rates be merry, and your timelines be bright!

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