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Planning an Influencer Marketing Campaign: FAQs

What are the benefits of an influencer marketing campaign?

Partnering with an influencer can allow your nonprofit to: 

  • Bring in a large influx of support for a specific campaign. Influencers can share links to your organization’s online fundraising campaigns with their followers. This can help your nonprofit reach its fundraising goal for a specific campaign. 
  • Expand your organization’s reach. When influencers regularly share information about your nonprofit, you can connect with a new audience of potential supporters that you might not have been able to access organically before. These individuals might have a strong affinity for your organization and the desire to get more involved. 
  • Enhance your nonprofit’s public image. Influencers build their audiences by being trustworthy and credible. When they show their support for your organization, it’s as if they’re giving you a vote of confidence that tells their followers that your nonprofit is trustworthy and credible, too. 

Influencer campaigns are especially effective if your nonprofit is looking to get in touch with a younger audience, since these potential supporters are most active on social media platforms. 

What are the different types of social media influencers? 

Social media influencers can range widely when it comes to their reach. Influencer tiers include: 

  • Nanoinfluencers: 1,000-10,000 followers. These influencers offer authenticity and are most cost-effective for your nonprofit. Plus, they receive the highest engagement rates on Instagram
  • Microinfluencers: 10,000-50,000 followers.  These individuals are often popular within a specific niche interest area. They are also known for being authentic and often have engaged audiences, even if their follower counts aren’t as high as other tiers. 
  • Mid-tier influencers: 50,000-100,000 followers. This influencer tier is also often made of people who focus on a specific niche area but have gathered a larger audience, usually from being in the public eye for longer. 
  • Macroinfluencers: 100,000-1 million followers. These influencers are often lower-tier celebrities, YouTubers, bloggers, and others who are just under the major celebrity level. 
  • Mega influencers (or celebrity influencers): 1 million+ followers. Mega influencers tend to be A-list celebrities and major public figures. 

Remember: a large following doesn’t always equate to a high level of engagement. Often, nano and microinfluencers have strong relationships with their followers because they can actually respond to and engage with individual comments. Higher-tier influencers have so many followers that individual interactions are less common. 

When it comes to choosing an influencer, affinity should play a major role as well. Engaging a nanoinfluencer with 3,000 Instagram followers who has a strong personal connection to your mission can be more impactful than working with a macroinfluencer who doesn’t have as much of a personal tie to your cause.

Nano and microinfluencers also tend to be much easier to get in touch with than macro and mega influencers. They’re more likely to respond to an Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter direct message than a major celebrity who may receive thousands of messages per day. 

What are common influencer marketing niches?

Within each influencer tier are individuals from a variety of backgrounds who create content focused on different niche interest areas. Some common niches include: 

  • Cooking/baking. Partnering with a cooking or baking influencer could be a good fit for nonprofits focused on issues like food insecurity and hunger.
  • Fitness/wellness. Working with a fitness or wellness influencer would be a natural collaboration for mental or physical health-related nonprofits 
  • Photography/videography. If your nonprofit’s mission is especially visually interesting, consider partnering with an influential photographer or videographer. For instance, environmental advocacy or conservation-focused nonprofits could partner with a photography influencer to get stunning photos of visual landscapes and better promote their cause through captivating images. 
  • Gaming. Gaming influencers, such as Twitch streamers and YouTubers, have raised millions in charitable donations simply by asking their large follower communities to get involved. Gaming influencers support nonprofits of all kinds and can be especially helpful in promoting online campaigns like crowdfunding campaigns. 
  • Fashion. A fashion influencer could be relevant to your campaign if your nonprofit helps gather clothing for community members in need. 
  • Pets. Some influencers rise to internet fame by documenting the lives of their adorable or quirky pets. Animal shelters, humane societies, and other pet-focused nonprofits could benefit from a partnership with an online pet influencer. 

When your influencer’s niche aligns with your nonprofit’s mission, you can more easily reach an audience that’s already interested in your cause area. 

What characteristics should I look for in a potential nonprofit influencer?

Let’s say you’ve found a potential influencer to help promote your nonprofit online, but you aren’t sure whether they’re the right fit for your campaign. Look for the following characteristics to determine if you’ve found the right influencer: 

  • Their audience would be interested in your cause. Explore the influencer’s previous posts to gain a better understanding of the type of content they produce for their audience and whether you think their audience members would be interested in posts relevant to your nonprofit. You’ll have a better chance of earning long-term support if the influencers’ audience is aligned with your nonprofit’s supporter personas. 
  • They receive high engagement on their posts. Compare the engagement metrics for the influencer’s posts to their total number of followers to get a sense of their audience engagement. For example, if an individual has 10,000 Instagram followers but only receives around 200 likes per post, that’s a sign that they probably don’t have a high level of ongoing audience engagement. 
  • They have a high level of credibility and trustworthiness among their audience. An effective influencer shares credible information and actionable tips with their audience members. If your prospective influencer seems to share plenty of research-backed information and insights from their personal experience, they could be a strong potential partner. 

You can also look for potential partners who have supported other nonprofit causes in the past. These individuals will be more familiar with working with nonprofits and may be more receptive to your request. 

How can I find potential influencers for my nonprofit campaign? 

It might feel daunting to figure out how to wade through millions of social media profiles to find the right influencer for your fundraising or marketing campaign. Use these tools and strategies to narrow down your search: 

  • Leverage social listening tools. Social listening is the process of monitoring social media networks like Instagram and Twitter for mentions of your brand name, competitor brands, and relevant keywords. Social listening tools consolidate these mentions in one place to give you a bird’s-eye view of who is talking about your organization or topics related to your mission. Sprout Social, HubSpot, Buffer, and Agorapulse are popular options for social listening tools. 
  • Browse directly on social media sites. Log into your social media accounts and search for relevant hashtags on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. See if there are any potential influencers who are sharing information about topics that are relevant to your organization. 
  • Ask your staff members and volunteers. Your nonprofit’s team members might have family members or friends who are influencers. Ask if they would be willing to get in touch with these individuals to recruit them to help out with your campaigns. 
  • Connect with local celebrities. Almost all communities have either big-name celebrities who are from the community or locally-famous individuals who carry a lot of influence in the area. Get in touch with these local influencers by promoting your campaign as an opportunity to support and give back to the local community. 

When you connect with a potential influencer, make sure to clearly explain your nonprofit’s mission, the goal of your campaign, and how influencers can help. Describe why you think their unique platform and audience will be a natural fit for your campaign.

 

6 Best Practices for Building Relationships with Nonprofit Influencers

It’s important to promote a positive relationship with your influencers to ensure your campaign is successful and that influencers feel supported and appreciated. Use these best practices to manage influencer relationships effectively: 

  • Be clear about what you’re asking your social media influencer to do. For the best results from your influencer marketing campaign, be specific about how you want the influencer to support your initiative. For example, you might ask them to promote an upcoming fundraising event, help your organization work toward a fundraising goal for an online campaign, or raise general awareness for your nonprofit’s cause. Ask the influencer to share a specific number of posts so they know exactly what is expected of them within your partnership. 
  • Offer exclusive perks. To save money, nonprofits often ask influencers to help out without payment. But your organization should still show its gratitude by offering special perks to influencers. This could include complimentary merchandise, VIP access to special events like your annual gala, and exclusive tours of your nonprofit’s facilities. 
  • Don’t ask too much from your influencer. This individual is donating their time to support your organization. Don’t overwhelm them by asking them to share multiple a week about your cause. Clearly state a time-bound request, such as asking the influencer to post about your cause once a week for a month as part of an awareness campaign. 
  • Provide educational materials and speaking points to help your influencer promote your cause. Your influencer should be informed about your cause so they can share accurate information with their followers. Provide talking points your influencer can use in their social media posts, along with educational materials for the influencer to learn more about your cause. You might create a short informational packet or send influencers a link to your nonprofit’s about page on your website. 
  • Engage with your influencer online. Share your influencer’s posts and thank them for their support. 
  • Show your gratitude. Thank your influencer by sending messages that recap the individual’s impact on your cause. For example, you might let them know that 243 new donors gave to your cause after clicking on a donation page link in the influencers’ posts. Let them know how your organization will use this funding to further your mission. 

Creative Influencer Marketing Campaign Ideas

Besides just asking your influencer to share information about your organization, you can also ask if they’d be interested in offering a special opportunity for one lucky winner. For example, perhaps you can ask your influencer to create a personalized video message for the top donor to your online campaign.

Here are a few other creative ways to leverage your influencer’s reach and status: 

  • Influencer gift matching drive. See if influencers who have a large giving capacity would be interested in matching gifts made to your organization for a certain time period or up to a certain amount. 
  • Meet and greet opportunity. If you’re working with a celebrity influencer, ask if they can host a quick meet and greet with a lucky donor. 
  • Personalized consultation or training session. Fitness or beauty influencers can meet with top donors or randomly-drawn winners to provide personalized tips and tricks. 

Additional Influencer Marketing Campaign Resources