This case study explores an innovative social media for nonprofits campaign developed by our agency for I Live Here, I Give Here, a prominent nonprofit organization in Austin, Texas.
Our challenge was to engage younger donors on social media and expand the audience for their annual event, Amplify Austin Day.
By shifting the focus from financial contributions to the emotional reasons behind giving, we designed a campaign that encouraged supporters to share their personal “why” behind their support.
This approach not only enhanced brand awareness but also significantly increased first-time donations and sustained engagement over a decade.
I Live Here, I Give Here is a major nonprofit in Austin, Texas with the “mission to amplify giving in Central Texas through cultivating and creating deeper connections for givers and the issues they care about.”
Established in 2007, their tentpole campaign is Amplify Austin Day – an annual, 24-hour festival of giving, designed to celebrate the nonprofits that work so hard to make a difference in Central Texas.
When they approached us, their challenges were not unfamiliar to the nonprofit space:
- Draw in younger donors
- Reach a new audience
- Take advantage of the low cost of social media for nonprofits
The overall ask was to create a nonprofit marketing strategy that would: reach a younger and broader audience, enable/encourage current supporters to spread the word about Amplify Austin Day, improve brand awareness of Amplify Austin Day, and grow I Live Here, I Give Here’s social media presence.
Agency’s Approach, Marketing for Nonprofits:
Most marketing agencies treat the symptom, not the issue.
Talking about money is a sensitive issue, and nonprofit giving is even more so. The root of the problem was that people take to social media to brag and show off… but how do you do that when it’s about nonprofit giving? People also don’t like seeming braggy.
The challenge needed to be reframed: how do you enable people to ‘show off’ their financial support of their favorite nonprofit(s), without touching on the sensitive issue of money OR of seeming braggy?
Like most good solutions, the answer was deceptively simple.
People don’t really want to talk about the money they gave – they want to talk about the WHY they gave. Nonprofits exist in an interesting space, where people are most often involved in causes not for practical reasons, but for emotional ones. They feel personally touched by the organization’s mission – so, giving is an emotionally-driven behavior.
Our mission was then to tap into that emotion so people could share their WHY behind giving to a particular cause.
An additional element of this strategy was to enable participation – a driving force of the digital age and of social media is the element of taking something and adding your own spin. After all, that’s the jet fuel behind the popularity of memes!
For more detailed insights on creating impactful social media strategies, check out our comprehensive Social Media Best Practices Guide.
We designed a simple printable template with the message “I Live Here, I Give Here because…”
That “because” is the catalyst point.
This simple message then enabled nonprofit supporters to print it off, write their “because”, and snap a selfie to share on social media. (Enabling that participation driver we referenced earlier!)
The organization printed off hundreds of these for their use, and distributed them both digitally and physically to their hundreds of participating nonprofits.
The campaign took off, with nonprofit staff, supporters, and Austin residents sharing their “why” behind their support of these causes.
Results and Impact:
Every year, hundreds of people and organizations utilize this campaign to share their “why.”
Even celebrities have joined in on the fun, like Kendra Scott, Aaron Franklin (of Franklin BBQ), Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker, and more.
I Live Here, I Give Here continues to use this social media campaign, almost ten years since its introduction.
27% of donors in 2021 reported their gifts as first-time donations, which is about the average number of first-time donors since the campaign was introduced.
To learn more about how to elevate your social media engagement, read our blog post on Supercharging Your Social Media Engagement.
Social Media for Nonprofits, Analysis and Learnings:
The campaign’s success hinged on understanding the nuances of social media behavior and donor psychology. Key learnings include:
- Emotional Connection: Highlighting personal stories and emotional reasons for support proved more effective than focusing on monetary contributions.
- Participation and Engagement: Providing a simple, customizable template for supporters to share their stories fostered a sense of community and personal involvement.
- Long-Term Impact: The campaign’s adaptability and resonance with a diverse audience ensured its longevity and continued relevance.
A marketing campaign has to be more than cheap tricks to temporarily boost engagement – it has to be a strategy that aligns with the values and behaviors of the target audience, and take online culture into account.
The social media campaign for “I Live Here, I Give Here” stands as a testament to the power of strategic digital marketing in the nonprofit sector.
By focusing on emotional storytelling and participative engagement, we not only met the immediate goals of expanding the donor base and enhancing brand awareness but also established a lasting impact that continues to drive the success of Amplify Austin Day.
Are you looking to elevate your organization’s digital presence and connect more meaningfully with your audience?
Contact us to discover how our innovative strategies can amplify your message and achieve remarkable results in engaging donors on social media.
Let’s create a campaign that resonates with your supporters and sustains your mission for years to come.