9 Actionable Tips for Fundraising with Instagram

Content Marketing Marketing Tools & Tips Social Media Best Practices

Is your nonprofit struggling with fundraising? If so, you’re not alone.

Regardless of the cause, attracting and retaining donors can be a challenge. It’s common to see nonprofits and organizations running campaigns to help drive support. Social media has provided a way for organizations on shoestring budgets to reach new audiences with smaller budgets.

Social media has served as a stellar communications platform for awareness. How can social media help with fundraising? In many ways! It’s easy to get started fundraising with Instagram, and there are multiple ways to spread the word on a shoestring budget. Let’s get into it.

1. Upgrade Your Profile

If you’ve been using your personal social account to fundraise, it’s time to go public! Create a business account for your organization. Complete all the required materials, making sure to include a link in your bio to a landing page for your fundraiser.

With each post, direct people to the link in your bio or a simple shortened link where they can take the action you want them to take. Your bio is prime real estate; spend some time and thought to write an effective Instagram bio. Your profile, visuals, and links should be aligned with the “why” behind your fundraising efforts. What’s the cause, and how can you tell that story through your profile? You need to.

Rival IQ's profile on Instagram. A business account on Instagram is important for fundraising success.

2. Have a Fundraising Strategy

It’s always important to have a strategy. With fundraising, your end goal may be simple: raise a certain amount of money. However, the approach will differ between organizations, and each step along the way may vary.

Think about how you will communicate your mission and goals, what action you want people to take as your deadline approaches. What media types are you using in your campaign? Does your strategy involve photos of people in action, short product videos, interviews, or something else?

Have you mapped out who your support base is? It may seem as simple as driving awareness, but successful fundraising on Instagram requires a strategy aligned with your cause.

3. Use the Right Hashtags

You’ll want to have a catchy, easy to share hashtag for your fundraising efforts. You’ve likely seen some of the clever wedding party hashtags from friends and family. Look to create something fun for your own fundraising campaign that speaks to the cause.

The Keep a Breast Foundation uses #checkyourselfie to encourage young people around the world to perform monthly self-checks for breast cancer.

Common fundraising hashtags include: #fundraising, #fundraiser, #gofundme, #charity, #instagood, #donate, #foracause, and #bethechange.

Even if you aren’t running your campaign through these channels, you can attract audiences interested in giving to the cause they support. Research suggests not exceeding 10 hashtags per post to deter the perception that your post could be spam. (Bonus tip! Copy the above hashtags and save them to your phone for the next time you’re fundraising with Instagram.)

4. Utilize Instagram Stories

Instagram + Snapchat = Instagram Stories. Because Instagram Stories expire after 24 hours, it’s key that you choose your moments wisely. Some of the best times to utilize Instagram Stories include the launch of your fundraising efforts when any in-person or real-time events happen, and at the end of your campaign.

Dig into the latest Instagram Stories Benchmark Report.

Grab your copy here

Instagram Stories are best for events and “hot off the press” moments. Behind the scenes looks, sneak peeks, and the story of your cause are just some of the types of content you can share. Earlier this year, CNBC reported that Instagram Stories now has more than 250 million users per day. For comparison, that’s more than Snapchat at 158 million. If you’ve seen success on Snapchat with a series of content, it’s likely you’ll be able to replicate those efforts for Instagram Stories with success.

Instagram also recently rolled out donation stickers within Instagram Stories to make it easier than ever for supporters to donate to a cause they care about. Nonprofits can track the success of these campaigns within Stories, and encourage supporters to use these stickers to raise money on their behalf, similar to Facebook Causes.

5. Share Your Progress

Share your progress throughout your fundraising campaign and updates and photos posted from supporters (if available). In addition, think about how you can best present exciting milestones and encourage your current supporters to help raise even more money. This can help keep your campaign going strong.

Make sense of your Instagram metrics.

6. Have a Momentum Strategy

We’ve covered the necessity of having a basic strategy. Then what? While going viral is never a guarantee, having a momentum strategy in your back pocket is beneficial. Are you prepared to pivot if things pick up? Do you have a plan if things slow down?

Three people around a computer plotting Instagram fundraising strategy


Being prepared for momentum shifts is a must when it comes to fundraising. Can you leverage your paid team? Will you have assets on hold for the turns of the tide? A momentum strategy can help keep your campaign going strong. Consider planning for outcomes at both ends of the momentum spectrum.

Successful Social Media for Nonprofits

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As you head into prime fundraising periods like #GivingTuesday and end-of-year appeals, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what other nonprofits are doing. Use Rival IQ’s free Live Social Media Benchmarks for Nonprofits and get up-to-date metrics, hashtags, and social content in a few simple clicks!

7. Elevate Your Paid Strategy

Outside of awareness-focused paid social media campaigns, spend some time thinking about how you are going to retarget your audience for fundraising. You can retarget your donors using social ads on some of the most popular platforms, including Facebook Ads, Twitter, and Instagram.

With Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, the remarketing/retargeting options are stronger than ever. You’ll need to place a Facebook Pixel on your site and create your custom audience before dropping in assets and copy and kicking off the campaign. It’s straightforward to do, and you could have a paid campaign up and running in no time.

8. Spend Time Shopping

Or, at least use the shopping feature of Instagram. If possible—and if relevant—give the shopping functionality of Instagram a try. If your fundraiser involves multiple products, such as bracelets, water bottles, or some other types of swag, this feature could be highly beneficial.

Once a business account has a product catalog connected to the account, you can tag that product in your post and drive your Instagram followers to where they can make a purchase and contribute to your fundraiser. Use great product photos that speak to your Instagram audience.

Instagram's shopping feature can really help with fundraising, as seen here with this rack of clothes.

9. Work with Influencers

You don’t need to work with the likes of a pro athlete or model, but you can work with micro-influencers. Instead of hundreds of thousands of followers, these micro-influencers will often have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers.

Micro-influencers require a smaller budget from the organization looking to work with them and often have relevant audiences you may want to tap into. They can be more cost-effective. These micro-influencers may have higher engagement, may be more willing to create multiple pieces of content, and maybe seen as more trustworthy by the audiences you want to reach.

Bonus! Another benefit to working with micro-influencers is they often have platform crossover which can help boost your fundraising efforts on those other platforms.

Instagram is just one of the tools in your toolbox that you can use for fundraising. In fact, fundraising with Instagram is a way to reach new audiences through stories, micro-influencers, retargeting campaigns, and more. The tips we’ve covered can be executed on smaller budgets and larger budgets, and for a wide variety of campaigns with success.

This blog was originally posted on October 12, 2017, and has since been updated.

Erica Bell

Erica Bell is an engagement-focused marketing professional with 7+ years of experience in digital marketing. She's worked with a wide range of companies including startups and corporations in industries such as wellness, gaming, and commercial tech. Most recently, she's been working in an agency setting to support broad social initiatives such as influencer outreach, event support, social listening and intelligence, and process optimization.

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