Happy national nonprofit day! Well, almost.
It's not long until August 17th, which is a day anyone in the nonprofit sector should circle on its calendar: National Nonprofit Day. But it's important for any nonprofit not to make this just another day at the office. It's a day you can use to celebrate on social media, to engage more people with marketing promotions, and to have a positive impact on your brand. Here's why it's so important:
How National Nonprofit Day Got Started
National Nonprofit Day got started thanks to Sherita J. Herring as a way to celebrate the some-1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S. Sherita J. Herring's goal was to make this as important on the day calendar as other vital holidays we celebrate throughout the year. Whether that means celebrating charitable organizations, charitable institutions, or simply celebrating nonprofit professionals, it's a time to celebrate.
Nonprofits across the U.S. include food bank enterprises that help low-income people, local communities hit especially hard by issues since the U.S. recession, and more. Nonprofits help people deal with issues like slow growth in the gross domestic product since the great recession, but they do a lot of good even during periods of economic strength.
Here are some great ways to celebrate National Nonprofit Day without missing these opportunities:
1. Thank Volunteers and Give Something Away
Nonprofits often work because of the engagement of their volunteers. Statistics suggest that over a quarter of all U.S. adults volunteer in some capacity, which means that celebrating volunteers will engage a significant portion of the population. This is a perfect opportunity to not only thank them, but engage with them by giving something away.
Giving something away for free can be a bit challenging, however, so try to align that giveaway with a lead magnet strategy:
- Use the celebration to build your email list. By giving away a lead magnet for free—in exchange for an email signup—you can essentially use National Nonprofit Day as a way to promote your newsletter/emailing list.
- Use promotion codes to steer people toward your site. People love the exclusivity of promotion codes on specific days—like National Nonprofit Day—because there’s scarcity built right into these offers. They know that their opportunity will dry up tomorrow if they don’t take advantage now.
2. Use the Celebration to Build Social Media Content
Using the celebration as an excuse to share social media content is a great way to increase engagement with lagging Twitter and Instagram accounts. Invite people to behind-the-scenes looks at how your nonprofit is celebrating the day. Are there special items in your office kitchen? Are you celebrating with a unique outdoor event? Are you partnering up with another nonprofit?
If you can create useful content that puts National Nonprofit Day in the spotlight and makes people want to click on your blog or social media channels, you’ll do a lot to ensure that the day doesn’t pass you by.
You don’t have to overthink this. Just recently, Forbes celebrated National Tequila Day with 15 Veggie Cocktails. It’s simply a collection of recipes and photographs that celebrate tequila—yet it’s the perfect content for anyone who’s interested in tequila and wants to celebrate the day with a cocktail.
If you can create cross-channel content that’s specific to what your nonprofit does, all the better. That might come in the form of videos on your YouTube channel, stories on your Instagram account, or blog articles that highlight your achievements over the last year. You might even consider creating an infographic full of nonprofit statistics and trivia, just to encourage sharing.
3. Seize the Opportunity to Launch a New Initiative
Let's say that you have a new fundraiser in mind, and you're not yet set on the launch day. Is there a better time to get people engaged than on National Nonprofit Day? There might be one or two on the calendar, but you'll have to wait until they roll around.
August 17th might not strike you as a particularly strategic day, but it is ideally situated for getting a head start on autumn fundraising activities. And if you don’t have time to build a full campaign, you can use the opportunity as a “soft” launch, uploading an announcement video and sharing it on social media.
4. Highlight Important Stories, Volunteers, and Donations
National Nonprofit Day isn't just a day to celebrate nonprofits—it’s a day to celebrate the people who make nonprofits tick. Chances are, there are people within your sphere who have great stories to tell. Highlighting these important people is a great way to encourage other people to volunteer or contribute to a fundraising campaign.
There are plenty of ways to do this. You can do it low-key with a few social media posts (such as Instagram stories), or you can use cross-channel promotion to highlight someone’s unique story. You can put together ten-minute mini-documentaries and upload them to YouTube; or you can post fun, quirky Q&A sessions on your Facebook account.
Make sure that you include your own call to action to encourage people to be like these volunteers. That means including links to your donation page, your new landing page for a fundraising campaign, or simply linking back to your site for more information. You might also simply leave your business number available and let people call you with their inquiries about volunteering, donations, and more.
5. Make Full Use of the Coming Hashtags
If you want your voice to be heard on social media, it always helps to make strategic use of hashtags—especially if you don’t have a lot of followers.
- Use a tracking tool to keep an eye on emerging hashtags as the day approaches. You don’t want to put all of this effort into fresh content for your social media accounts, only to find out that you’re using the less-popular hashtag.
- Use A/B testing to try different hashtags as you lead up to the big day. Experimenting with hashtags doesn’t cost you anything and it gives you insights as to what will work the best when you have the most important content to share on August 17th.
You might also do some research to see what worked for brands last year. Using a tool like Google Trends will help you identify the seasonal search terms that got the most traction last year, which in turn can help you direct the tags and headers for your content.
Make National Nonprofit Day a Holiday—Even If It’s Just For You
National Nonprofit Day doesn’t have to be a national holiday for you to treat it like one. If you organize your content and social media channels in preparation for this day, it will help you capitalize on the natural engagement that spreads on social media. The only question is, will you be ready?