Why Summer is the season for building trust in social media

By: Lindsey Talerico-Hedren, Russ Reid Digital Strategist – Content & Social

Summer social media focus: Build trust

A long, long time ago social media existed for the non-profit marketing purpose equivalent to an add-on, or an extra touch to a marketing plan or campaign… a way to reach a “younger” audience and only a younger audience.

Today, social media exists for so much more. In fact, social media (with the right strategy and consistent execution) can play an influential role in your marketing… so influential that it’s key role is to inspire action from your supporters, donors and volunteers. Action that results in donations, upgraded giving preferences, or word of mouth/sharing.

This Summer, your focus in social media is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

First comes trust, then comes action

In the calendar of fundraising seasons, Fall is the peak giving opportunity. In social media, the best way to plan and prepare for Fall (and leverage the giving season) is to focus on the Summer by building trust with your social media audiences. Donor trust has a high and direct impact on donor loyalty, engagement, conversion, and cultivation.

When we implemented a month-long social media campaign with one of our U.S. Food Bank partners in Summer, we tracked a lift in their Fall online fundraising never experienced before. And that lift continues to improve for seasons after!

This Summer, lay the path for your Fall social marketing with a seasonal plan that captures the heart of of your organization and builds trust with your supporters online.

Trust-building social media tactics

  • Content that is educational – Positioning your organization as a key voice (or voice of reason) for the cause you represent builds the trust of your donors by showing you are an “expert” in your field/industry. Do you represent the hunger cause? Plan and publish content that works to educate your audience about the hunger issue nationally and locally. Do you represent wildlife conservation? Plan content that works to reveal endangered species lists and other issues impacting wildlife. Do you represent homelessness and shelter? Work to explain the complexities of the homeless issue in America or Canada. A better educated donor is a more informed donor. Donors who are more informed have greater trust with the organizations they support; and it shows in their donation history.
  • Content that is inspiring – Your organization is making an incredible difference. Talk about this. Promote it. Create blog posts and videos, tweets and Vines that show the extraordinary impact you are making in your community and in the world. When donors are inspired, they are more engaged and the more a donor is engaged the more they pay attention to what you have to say.
  • Content that is evergreen – Statistics, facts and even your Mission statement are some of the most well-“liked” kinds of content by non-profits in social media. Even though you might think your audience understands exactly what you do and what your mission statement or values are, they will surely benefit from hearing it again (or for the first time).
  • Content that emphasizes donor trust already – Do you have donors who love you? Social media followers who tag you in their posts? Volunteers who help share photos of their time at your warehouse or shelter? This kind of donor-generated content can create added impact in your marketing by showing other donors the trust and loyalty others have in you. Regram, retweet, and share those posts. Add your own comment of thanks.

Once you’ve laid this foundation of donor trust in your Summer social media marketing, you’ve opened the door wider to be able to solicit your donors for action-based responses (donations and otherwise) in the Fall. And they are more likely to respond! Because why? Donor trust.


Talk to us about growing your social media efforts and re-imagining your marketing. Contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President at Russ Reid) or Steve Harrison (Senior Vice President at Russ Reid).

Next, read “3 useful digital tactics to boost Summer fundraising” >>