6 Ways Nonprofits Can Use SnapChat

I’ve been writing about how non-profit organizations can leverage social media for quite a while. The industry, as a whole, has truly matured in 2013 in its ability to use the platforms available to market important causes and advocate for critical campaigns.

Could it be that it’s time to look beyond the core of Facebook, Twitter and Youtube? Maybe our industry should take a few risks by integrating some of the newer platforms available?

For organizations just getting comfortable with the basics, I’d suggest sticking to developing their core brand and building their communities before venturing into unchartered territories. But for those organizations that have a solid community and are interested in engaging the millennial population, here are some suggestions on how Snapchat may be the ideal platform.

Especially since many Facebook pages have seen a significant drop in their level of engagement due to changes in algorithms, diversifying online communication channels may offer a unique and creative mix to engage critical markets.

Here are a 6 ways non-profits can use SnapChat and engage with the millions of users primary millenials that are quickly abandoning the more traditional platforms (that was fast wasn’t it?).

Going Behind the Scenes

So many organizations run interesting events, dinners, and fundraisers. SnapChat can offer organizations to engage with followers by creating some pre-event buzz by ‘leaking’ exclusive behind-the-scenes footage that includes new merchandise or a sneak-video- welcome from a VIP.


At most events, organizers are busy with running the event. Empowering the audience to snap pictures, enables the audience to take an active role and provide some great content throughout the event. User-generated content, albeit momentary, offers an important level of engagement that every organization is interested in, and at the same time, provides a unique perspective on what their audience views as interesting.


Wouldn’t it be interesting to see users snapping and sending pictures as they actively volunteer in support of the non-profit’s mission? So many food banks, community harvesting programs or soup kitchens could benefit from such images. How could the organization respond? A ‘thank you’ snap that includes a coupon code to a local supplier or merchant would be an excellent touch.


To help brands tell their story better, SnapChat released in October a Stories feature to build a string of narrative that emerges over the course of a 24 hour period. With this feature, stories can be viewed as many times during that span and then they will disappear. Each snap is removed as the time limit of 24 hours approaches, thereby allowing newer ones to become part of the story cycle. Organizations could easily show progress and development of a program in a 24 hour cycle. Storytelling could be critical and make a significant impact for organizations that focus on rehabilitation or emergency relief.

Note: Organizations interested in integrating Stories need to build a following first. Non-profits will have to commit to providing regular content on SnapChat. Including the audience in the development cycle of the organization’s Snapchat profile may actually be a good tactic of engagement.

Instant Gratification

Imagine if an organization used Snapchat to offer a note with instant gratification snaps to donors. On the snap would be “quick thanks for your support” including an image of a recipient of the funds. A more classic thank you letter would obviously need to be part of the follow up.

Mobile-Only Offers

Any organization and brand is fully aware of the increase in mobile usage. Organizations could leverage their existing database of mobile numbers by inviting them to join SnapChat. Each new user would receive some mobile-only offer that shows the organization’s appreciation. Request for instant response to an emergency campaign could be a creative application of this suggestion.

The lack of tangible ROI associated with SnapChat will be difficult for some non-profits to grasp since SnapChat does not offer a way to track metrics and record engagement. Community managers will have to track the activity via other social sites and have a good grasp n the other social platforms.

Only innovative organizations will take advantage of this platform and raise SnapChat to a whole new level. I believe that this year will be huge for SnapChat, and as non-profit marketers we need to be where the user’s eyeballs are.

How do you think organizations can benefit from SnapChat?

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