Social Media Lessons from Canada’s Top Charities

Published by Engagement Labs on August 1, 2014

This week #engagementlabs is very proud to be participating in the 10th Celebrity Sport Mixer organized by Kids, Cops and Computers, a program created by the Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation of Toronto. In the spirit of this charity event, we looked at the social media pages of some of Canada’s top charities. What we saw was a mix of inspiring content and some top notch social media marketing. Here are some lessons that other charities (and private companies) may want to borrow.

Focus on the good you do, not the money you need.

All organizations need money to keep the lights on and run their programs which makes it tempting to ask your followers to donate. The charities that had the most activity on their profiles were those that focused on the work that they did and the impact it made. Individuals are likely to have a stronger emotional connection with these organizations and likely support them financially also. If you have to ask for additional funds, try to keep the requests to a minimum. An annual drive for donations is far better than weekly nagging.

Highlight your volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of any organization. By highlighting the volunteers you have, you are giving them the recognition they deserve and motivating others to donate their time. The best stories focused on the personal experience of the volunteer rather than the volunteer’s impact on the program.

Think outside the box

Expand your activities beyond status updates and frequent tweets. Look at a problem from another perspective or give an inside view to the work that your organization does. Two of the best examples we noticed were WWF Canada’s Google hangout with Polar Bear experts and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s amazing live tweeting of an open-heart surgery.

Mix your messages, but aim straight

A huge part of aligning a charity with prospective benefactors is tugging at a person’s heartstrings. Even if your charity is dealing with heavy stuff, sometimes you want to be more lighthearted. Why? Because in addition to spreading hope for your cause, it’s a great opportunity to have fans share content and improve your visibility. The BC SPCA and Montreal Children’s Hospital both do an excellent job of this.

Be Open

There is no better content for a page, or motivation for supporters than hearing stories and thanks from beneficiaries. The War Amps and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre reviews and comments were particularly amazing. If you don’t tear up from these responses you might be a robot.

Use What You Have

Not every organization is going to have a large or dedicated social media team. Many charities may better serve their communities by focusing on other aspects of their operations. Don’t think it’s all or nothing; posting occasional updates that highlight your initiatives goes a long way in keeping your charity top of mind and your stakeholders engaged. Kids, Cops & Computers and Santropol Roulant do a great job of leveraging their events despite their modest Facebook followings.


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About eValue™:

The eValue™ score measures the effectiveness of a brand’s overall social media performance on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and provides a score from 0 – 100. It’s the aggregate of the three subscores including Engagement, Impact, and Responsiveness that work together to create one top-level KPI. Our subscores are calculated by using hundreds of sub metrics which are then benchmarked against a hand-picked database of 75,000 verified brand accounts on each channel.

Engagement: Measures the level of interaction generated by your content and how well your community reacts to it.

Impact: Measures how many unique users have potentially been exposed to a piece of content posted by the channel’s admin through organic, viral and paid reach.

Responsiveness: Measures the rate, speed and quality of your responses to fans.