Being authentic on social media

No matter what your personal opinions are, when it comes to social media, if you’re a charity leader, you can’t afford to miss out on the wealth of opportunities social media has with regards to bringing donors, income, service users and new opportunities to your door.

Don’t believe me? Here’s some food for thought

The number of social media users worldwide in 2019 is 3.484 billion, up 9% year-on-year (source: Smart sight.)

Let that sink in and now let me ask you this, do you think that figure will reduce anytime soon or in the future?

My answer is of course no, which is why my advice to any charity leader not taking social media seriously would be that now’s the time to start.

I know it’s easy for me to say that, I use social media as a part of my daily role, but to help you out, I’ve created a run-down of the three things you need to start thinking about to get you started on your social media journey.

These are:

1: Defining your target market

2: Which social media platform is best for your charity.

3: How you are going to measure your efforts.

Your social media voice

After concluding the above, another area of focus is thinking about your brands’ tone of voice on social media.

To help you think about your brand voice, Stephanie Schwab of Crackerjack Marketing produced the following four-part formula focusing on character/persona, tone, language and purpose.

Each area can help you get an idea of how to assert their brand online, to communicate with donors and create multiple types of content, that will engage their online audience on a consistent basis.


The one way you can begin to connect with online audiences is to focus on your target market and how your cause aligns with their values.

It’s important to realise that creating social media content is not just about relaying information about the benefits of your work, it’s about knowing how you can make a difference to your donor lives. You can do this by having them at the heart of your content and giving them the information they need to make a decision to donate, whatever they entails.

Your potential donors are looking to engage and find information online, so the best thing you can do is engage them and provide them with details of how your charity makes an impact in their lives throughout your content.


You can do this by creating posts with:

👉 Attention grabbing headlines

👉 Using creative and engaging images and videos

👉 Link to interesting content on your website e.g. blog

👉 Using fun and light-hearted content

👉 Using statistics

👉 Creating helpful content e.g. how to set up a fundraising event

👉  Running competitions

👉 Asking questions and using polls

👉 Creating stories within your posts e.g. human- interest stories about beneficiaries you’ve helped, your ethos and stories from staff.

Examples of great content:

Using all of the above in a timely and planned fashion will give you the opportunity to find multiple ways to connect and engage with potential donors and gain insight from responses.

Being transparent

The thing with social media nowadays (and marketing for that matter), is that it depends heavily on being authentic and transparent about who you are and what you do.

Your potential donors are looking for charities who appeal to their sense of morality. This includes being open and transparent about what your charity is and isn’t.

Now, some charities can become guarded when it comes to being open, but the way individuals you are looking to connect with view it is, if you can’t be transparent, then you may have something to hide.

If you do have something to hide, how long can you afford to keep whatever it is that seems worthy of secrecy a secret?

I ask this, not to instil fear, but to get you thinking about the bigger picture.

Being authentic doesn’t mean losing out, it merely means having a firm idea of what you stand for, owning that fact and being aware enough to consider how to appeal to your target audience.

Authenticity in the midst of a crisis. Your reaction matters.

 Oxfam social media crisis response

After The Times ran a news story exposing inappropriate sexual conduct by senior leaders, Oxfam took to social media to explain its stance on the situation and how it aimed to manage the crisis. A full statement was created to provide the public with details of how the Charity would conduct a full investigation and review; updating the public, the Charity Commission and the Department for International Development.

Not only has their response helped them to begin rebuild trust by being transparent and accountable, it also ensured they were open about  implementing preventative measures to eliminate similar events occurring in the future. 

 It appeals to interested parties sense of morality, helping them to see that responsibility has been taken and making them more open to trusting Oxfam to do the right thing in the future. 

 Would you react the same way Oxfam did or not?  

If not, you could be operating from a place of fear, which is where my ‘Wake Up & Smell the Income’ coaching will help you and your team transition to being authentic on social media.


iDeal Directions marketing empowers and helps overwhelmed business leaders gain clarity around marketing. Making doing the right thing simple through building meaningful connections with your customers.

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