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5 Best Nonprofit Social Media Campaigns

Nick Rogers

Feb 18, 2018

Doing more with less is a hallmark of nonprofit campaigns, that's why social media has been a boon to the industry. While the strength of a mission doesn't keep the lights on, it does lead to success for those nonprofits that harness their dedicated community to creatively spread their messages. Here are some of the best.

Tip: Learn how Make-A-Wish America uses the Meltwater suite for their national communications strategies and PR campaigns.

Here Are 2 Modern Truths:

  1. Social media is an incredibly powerful way to reach audiences.
  2. Nonprofits are on a mission to make a positive difference in the world.

When you mix the power of social media with the world-changing missions of nonprofits, you get a combination of both reach and impact.

There’s so much we can learn from nonprofits and how they approach marketing. To inspire you (whether your business is a nonprofit or not), we’ve put together the 5 best nonprofit social media campaigns over the last several years.

1. Love Has No Labels (Ad Council)

Many Americans consider themselves unbiased. However, we, often unintentionally, make judgments about other people based on what we see—whether it’s race, age, gender, religion, or physical ability.

To help challenge our preconceptions, Ad Council created their groundbreaking campaign: Love Has No Labels. The goal was to help people rethink bias and  to “make love feel celebrated and more normalized.”

The campaign video was an instant success – recently hitting 160 million combined views. It was the most viral social media campaign ever.

Hundreds of celebrities shared the campaign, including former First Lady, Michelle Obama.

2. September Campaign (Charity: Water)

Charity: Water’s “September Campaign” is proof that nonprofit social media campaigns can be sustainable. Participants in the program raised more than 1.8 million dollars in 2015.

The September Campaign asks people born in September (founder Scott Harrison’s birthday month) to invite friends and family to donate to Charity: Water instead of buying gifts and share this story to social media.

This campaign demonstrates the power of social media as a word of mouth vehicle. When people witness the impact of donations made by friends family, and acquaintances across social media, it makes them feel compelled to help even more.

3. #MeToo (Just Be Inc.)

In one of the most successful (and unexpected) nonprofit social media campaigns of 2017, #MeToo became a rallying cry against sexual assault and harassment.

But we have to backtrack back to 2007 when Tarana Burke of the nonprofit Just Be Inc. launched the original #MeToo campaign. #MeToo was meant to be a movement that provides “empowerment through empathy” to survivors of sexual abuse, assault, exploitation, and harassment.

Fast forward to 2017 and Alyssa Milano Tweets:

Within days, millions of women and men used social media to share the abuse they’ve faced in their own lives. Of course, what Milano didn’t realize was that she was putting into motion a nonprofit campaign that was 10 years in the making:

The #MeToo campaign proves how powerful personal stories can be in igniting a movement.

4. Big Tobacco Be Like (Truth Initiative®)

The Truth Initiative® is on a mission to end smoking. Their social media campaign Big Tobacco Be Like was a creative and eye-opening take on some harmful misconceptions that younger generations have around “social smoking” (i.e., people who only smoke at parties or on the weekend).

At first, Truth started with YouTube videos, but the marketing team took the #BigTobaccoBeLike social media campaign to new heights when they began a massive influencer marketing campaign.

The Big Tobacco Be Like videos have now amassed more than 59 million views, but their biggest achievement might be the 55% increase they’ve seen in young people agreeing that, even if you smoke occasionally, you are still supporting Big Tobacco.

5. Earth Hour (World Wide Fund for Nature)

The World Wide Fund for Nature’s social media campaign “Earth Hour” is an example of nonprofits using social media to help change the world. Every March, Earth Hour calls on individuals and businesses to turn off their lights for one hour to symbolize a dedication to combating climate change.

In 2017, Earth Hour celebrated its 10th anniversary and 187 countries and territories took part in what was their most successful campaign. They Tweeted 105 times, receiving more than 23,800 interactions and 3,200 mentions during the event.

But our favorite part was their branded Facebook Frame:


The Earth Hour Facebook Frame reached more than 1,000,000 people across the platform – allowing people to share their own world-changing stories with their friends and family.

Marketing Lessons from Nonprofits

Every brand and business on the planet has a unique story to tell. To be successful in communications, you need to understand your unique value proposition and how to share that information with your chosen audience.

Examining and learning from some of the best nonprofit social media campaigns is a great way to expand your marketing toolbox and try others’ strategies for yourself.

When you’re ready to dive into the strategy of social media marketing to enhance your campaigns, learn more about boosting your brand awareness using our Meltwater Suite for marketing professionals.