Doing It For The ‘Gram: 12 Instagram Tips for Nonprofits

Instagram isn’t just a place for your best selfies and dinner photos. With over 700 million daily users (mostly between the ages of 18-29), the photo-sharing platform is host to a vast market of potential new supporters for your nonprofit. The ability to cultivate a social media audience is an important skill to hone as we continue in the digital age. As a platform, Instagram has also been playing a key role in social justice and activism, presenting the opportunity for messages of impact, humanity, and service to reach the masses.

Instagram is host to a vast market of potential new supporters for your nonprofit. Click To Tweet

But Instagram is easy, right? I just take a picture and post…

Not quite. As with any communications strategy, you want to be strategic about how share your mission, advocate for support, solicit donations, and demonstrate impact to your audience. To help you get started, we’ve pulled together a few tips to guide your Instagram strategy in the right direction. With these tips, you’ll be doin’ it for the ‘gram in no time.

1. Be sure to make your Instagram profile a Business Profile

Using the Business Profile option gives you insights on post performance, actions taken on your profile (like link clicks and profile visits), and Stories performance.

2. Make your logo your profile picture

Your profile photo is the first thing users see when they come across your profile, so you want to make sure your official logo is present. This helps build brand recognition and awareness. You can even have fun during major holidays — for instance, the Brooklyn Academy of Music changes the color scheme of its logo every June to reflect Pride Month.

3. Put a link in your bio

Be sure to put a link to your site’s homepage, about page, or donation page in your bio. This gives users instant access to your site without having to exit the app. If your website domain is too long, feel free to use a shortened custom link via Bitly.  

4. Make sure your profile is public

You don’t want to make your followers and potential supporters wait to see the awesome work your organization is doing by having a private profile. Make sure it’s public so they can get instant access to your nonprofit. Slippery thumbs warning: If you tend to switch between accounts, it can be very easy to accidentally set your profile to private.

5. Invite your Facebook followers to follow you on Instagram

If supporters already follow you on Facebook, they’re likely to opt into following you in Instagram too. To invite your followers on Facebook to follow you on Instagram, simply:

    • Go to your profile
    • Press the options button. On an Android it will look like 3 vertical dots. On an iPhone it will look like 3 horizontal dots.
    • Press Invite Facebook Friends
      • Note: You’re going to have to press invite for each individual follower

6. Post both photos and videos

According to a recent report by Sprout Social, photos generate 36% more likes than videos, even though video consumption has increased by 40%. To capitalize on this increase of engagement, be sure to post a healthy mix of both forms of media.  

7. Schedule posts ahead of time

Scheduling your posts ahead of time helps you stay on top of posting to Instagram. There are a number of free Instagram posting services. Our favorite is, but poke around the web to find the program most suitable for your needs.

8. Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is another way to share content on your profile. You can upload as many pictures or short videos as you want without over-saturating your followers’ newsfeeds — the images and videos will disappear after 24 hours. Bonus: With a Business Profile, you can post links within your stories, allowing your followers access to your site without having to go back to your profile. This is a great way to give your followers an inside look at your nonprofit, virtual access to a fundraising event, or share user generated content. Bonus-Bonus: Instagram recently included the option to save your favorite Story posts to your profile so followers can see it at anytime.

9. Use relevant hashtags

Instagram hashtags tags not only help organize and categorize posts, aid in content discovery and optimization. According to a recent report by Sprout Social, “Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without. And although each Instagram post allows up to 30 hashtags, research on the topic suggests that the optimum number of hashtags is 11.” It’s helpful to see which hashtags are trending — when you start to type one in the caption, Instagram will tell you how many others are using it as well.

10. Try Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads, much like Facebook Ads, lets you advertise to potential supporters in-app. You can advertising using still images and videos, a slideshow of images, or you advertise on Instagram Stories. You can boost posts directly within the app or you can set up ads via Facebook Ads Manager. Instagram Ads help drive awareness, increase your supporter list, and share your nonprofit story among a highly engaged audience.

11. Include post locations (when applicable)

Believe it or not, Instagram reports that posts with location tagging have 79% more engagement than those without. You can geotag your post before publishing by pressing “Add Location” underneath the caption box.

12. Post at the optimal times

Use Instagram Insights to see what time of day your users are engaging with your posts the most. This may be a different time as compared to engagement on your other social platforms.  

Are you double-tapping on any of these tips? Take them and start optimizing your Instagram profile and posts for success! And if you have any other tips, let us know! Tweet us at @wholewhale.