How to integrate User-Generated Content to promote a Nonprofit

A non-profit’s marketing strategy is one of the most essential features. It could be the reason why your organization does or doesn’t forge a trusting relationship with your audience, donors or the community. This means that your entire marketing strategy should be placed on promoting your brand and building trust with your community.

In order to really make your marketing strategy a great one, you need to use User Generated Content (UGC). This ensures that relevant traffic will be driven to your site, engage your online audience and increase the number of donations you receive — which is the primary goal, after all.

UGC is super powerful, with the potential to completely change how your organization appears online. Here’s exactly how you can integrate user-generated content, turning it into a promotion for your non-profit.

What is user-generated content?

Let’s begin with the basics — just what is UGC? In its simplest terms, it is content that has been created by unpaid contributors or, in better words fans and followers. This can be anything from pictures, videos, blog posts, tweets, reviews and anything and everything you can think of.

It’s simply the act of the online users, that aren’t directly involved or employed by the brand, free, effective promotion.

It might seem like another one of the ever-growing marketing terms, but UGC has actually been used for the majority of internet life. We can chase it right back to 2009 when Burberry asked all their fans to upload pictures of themselves wearing their iconic trench coat.

Burberry picked their favorites and showcased them on their Facebook page. The fact is, it works.

“Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful tools for brands, even in a digital age. When people are deciding where their money will go, it’s easy to understand why UGC is so important.” — Amanda Sparks, digital marketer and author of TopDownWriter.

What can User-Generated Content be used for?

Now that we know just how powerful UGC can be, we need to know just what to do with all that power. It’s not that easy and, surprisingly, takes a lot of effort from the marketing team. Building a strong community, that will engage with your brand requires unique content, regular updates, and exciting engagement.

Research shows that 84% of millennials said that UGC has influenced them to make purchases or donations on non-profit sites.

With this in mind, not only can UGC be used to build up a following, attract more traffic, but it could also lead to more revenue. Isn’t that just incredible?

People love to share

It’s crucial that you also understand why consumers share. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to accurately predict which content will entice people into sharing, liking and engaging.

It boils down to simple psychology — people love to tell other people what they’re doing, supporting and spending their money on. We’re social creatures. Here are just a few reasons why people share content online.

  • Contribution– Humans love to play a part in contributing to something bigger and more worthwhile. They love feeling more attached and fulfilled. This would explain why so many people sign petitions online.
  • Their own personal brandSocial media has given every individual their own “brand” if you like. When people share something, they want people to know that there are attached to it, in some way.
  • The social contest — It might not be the most selfless of reasons, but it’s natural. Social media has given us all easy access to bragging rights. People are in a constant battle with others to be better.
  • The goodwill — Our personal favorite reason, especially for non-profits. Humans, in general, are inherently good natured. We want to help others, we want to spread the word about good organizations, and show support for those doing amazing things.

With these factors in mind, you can start to consider just what content you can create to create a successful UGC campaign.

How can non-profits encourage people to create and share content?

Be on the same platforms as your target audience

What social media platforms are you using? You don’t have to be using them all, but maybe it’s time to wander outside of your comfort zone. Do a little bit of research, find out where your demographic is, what platforms they’re using and where your new customers are coming from.

“It’s always a good idea to be on the main three social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Most people will tag brands and businesses in their media related to an organization. If you’re not on social media, it’s just a missed opportunity.” — Alan McGill, senior marketing manager at Top Australia Writers.

Hashtag campaigns

If you already have a devoted set of followers, it might be time to start a hashtag campaign. This is simply where you encourage your audience to use a specific, unique hashtag. This could result in your social channels and consequently, your organization, to be pushed to the top of trending pages.

This is a really great way to appear in the feeds of new people. This will increase your followers, traffic and, hopefully, profit.

This is also a super way to engage with your existing followers, letting them know that you appreciate them. Reposting their photos or videos, with the designated hashtag, will create a real relationship.

Create a contest

Everybody loves free stuff, people love winning and most people love a contest. You’ve more than likely seen and even participated in a social network competition — they really do entice people.

To do this, simply create a post that offers something great, establish some guidelines and wait for the reaction. Perhaps the rules could be “post a picture, tag us, like us and share this for your chance to win.”

These types of competitions can direct numerous new customers and loyal followers to your website. As a non-profit, people might even feel compelled to donate a little bit of money. It’s a win-win for everybody involved.


“If you don’t ask, the answer is always no” — wise words from Nora Roberts, and extremely relevant in this context. There’s absolutely no harm in asking people to like, comment and share. If you get one new like, it’s a feat.

Ask the team members, volunteers and customers to spread your message. Non-profits have such a good reason for wanting to spread the word, most people would be super happy to help too.

Another way you could use the power of asking for UGC is with reviews.

“Encouraging your audience to leave reviews about your organization could really raise your user-generated content. This could be on social media channels, Google or other business websites. Remember, if you get a negative review, don’t sweep it under the carpet — confront it head-on,” says Natalie Andersen, the CEO at

Engage with people

If you follow the steps above, you might just be receiving a lot of attention. The best way to keep up with it all is with engagement.

Thank people for following, sharing and liking. Follow people back. Repost other people (and give credit) and check all your tagged content. If you began a hashtag campaign, make sure to check up on it regularly.

If you keep engaging, you’ll keep getting new followers. Social media users don’t react to robots, they want real-life interaction and engagement. This also ensures that people will keep tagging, liking and sharing your posts too.


As a non-profit, you can inspire and touch people with your message. Blogs, photos, and videos are a great way to create a human response.

“A combination of content and UGC marketing along with a strong social media presence could completely elevate your brand, placing you on an amazing foundation for more opportunities,” States Ethan Coy, social media manager at BestWritersCanada.


If your non-profit is looking for new ways to increase its online presence, develop the community behind it and drive in more donations, then UGC campaigns could be the way forward for you.

This approach has worked for big and small brands alike, as a cost-effective, practical marketing campaign that saves time and engages with your audience.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started with UGC marketing today, and see just how it can bring your brand to life.

Author bio

Natalie Andersen is the chief content writer and enthusiastic blogger. She believes that everyone’s life has to be the result of the choices they make but a helping hand is always welcomed. You can connect with Natalie on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Over to you

Share your thoughts about using user-generated content to improve the brand awareness of your nonprofit in the comment section below. I’m really looking forward to reading your comments.

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Originally published at on January 13, 2019.

Founder You have a story to tell. We want to help. Let’s create memorable content. #Nonprofit #SocEnt #Charity