What does the future of social media for charities look like?

Zoe Amar discusses the importance of charities getting to grips with social media, as a vital tool in helping to develop successful campaigns

| 13th Sep 16

Zoe Amar discusses the importance of charities getting to grips with social media, as a vital tool in helping to develop successful campaigns

You may have seen that we have partnered with Skills Platform to create the Charity Social Media Toolkit. It’s a free resource to help charities get to grips with all aspects of social media, from developing a strategy to creating content and measuring success. But what could the future of social media look like? Here are a few ideas from the brilliant people and charities who have contributed to our toolkit.

  • For Generation Z social media is as natural as breathing. Beth Kanter, US based social media guru, says that, “This generation, born after the millennials, is defined by being a tribe of digital natives. They do not know a world without technology. To use these channels as part of everything they do is, for them, instinctive. It’s estimated that there are approximately two billion of them, accounting for 27 % of the global population. They are also characterised by having a large network of online friends, often from all over the world”.
  • The future may look challenging but social media is one solution. Brexit, the negative press of the last year and big questions about how the sector raises funds are just some of the issues facing the sector at the moment. But social media is one of the solutions to these problems. “We can all still achieve our goals if we work smart, be creative and become more agile. Charities need to seek out guidance and advice wherever available,” Megan Griffith Gray (Head of Digital and Communications at NCVO) told me. “Charities both large and small will need to scale up their communications at a time when they have fewer resources. Social media is one answer to that challenge.” Whether it’s targeting potential corporate partners, fundraising online or building relationships with influencers, charities need to be clear about their goals, then use social media to seize opportunities and mitigate risks.



  • Charities must use social media to futureproof their organisations. Ross McCulloch, director of Thirdsectorlab, says that charities must look to what’s coming over the horizon and have the confidence to try new channels. He told me: “While email and Facebook may be the two big online giving channels for your organisation right now, it is worth having oversight of the ever changing social media landscape. For example, various charities are starting to utilise Snapchat as a fundraising tool and Instagram has proven successful for many non-profits. Are your supporters on those channels? Can you tell your stories on there and drive online giving as a result?’ The key point that Ross raises is that you must stay close to how your audience is using social media and be prepared to experiment.”
  • Keep it simple. Excelling on social media to meet today’s standards may feel like a challenge it itself. When you start thinking about how much these channels may change over the next few years, it can feel overwhelming. So Beth Kanter has 3 user friendly tips for charities: ‘Produce content that helps Generation Z collaborate and communicate easily; be creative-this is a busy, sophisticated audience, and Keep pace with their use of channels.’ She says, ‘Why not bring together a panel of Generation Z stakeholders who you can kick ideas around with?’

The future of social media is exciting and hopefully not as daunting as it first appears. One thing is for sure though- people’s use of these channels is only set to grow. With 76% of all internet users using some form of social media, and research out there indicating that most people expect a response on social media within an hour — if not faster – it’s time to make sure your social media is in the best shape it can be.  Take a look at the Charity Social Media Toolkit and let me know what you think of it.