Instagram Stories 101 | How NonProfits Can Leverage Stories for More Engagement

Being on social media is somewhat of a love hate situation. You know you need to be there but it takes a lot of time and effort for seemingly little results. Part of being on social media is playing to the strengths of the individual platform and not blanket posting the same thing everywhere. There are two reasons for this! 1) By utilizing the platform the way it’s intended you’ll get better reach. 2) You’ll be engaging with your audience in the way they want to use the platform, making deeper connections.

This post focuses mostly on Instagram, specifically Instagram stories. This is how most people engage with the platform and a great way show you personality and impact.

Why You Should Care About Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is a feature that allows users to share photos, videos, and other content that disappears after 24 hours. Despite their fleeting nature, Stories are a powerful tool for nonprofits. Here’s why:

  1. Real-time Engagement: Viewers know they go away in 24 hours so they are more likely to engage immediately. It’s also great for people to feel like they’re following along with things you’re doing in real-time. You can share timely updates, event highlights, and behind-the-scenes glimpses in a way that feels authentic and in-the-moment.
  2. Interactive Features: There is a direct way you can encourage engagement on your Stories such as donations, polls, Q&A stickers, and quizzes. These features provide a unique opportunity to gather feedback, answer questions, and involve your audience in decision-making. The best thing is they automatically lead conversations into your DMs.
  3. Adding links: It’s easier than ever to link posts to your website. Post links on your stories to blog posts, donation pages, etc. Keep it in alignment with the goal of the post so when people click through they see relevant content.

Strategies for Nonprofits to Make the Most of Instagram Stories:

Create content categories for your stories just like you would for posts in your news feed or other social platforms. That way you can ensure you have regular content you can share mixed in with real-time content. Don’t feel like your stories must be posted in real-time. Some content might need to be but most can be planned out.

  1. Behind-the-Scenes Sneak Peeks: Show the human side of your nonprofit by sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses of your team in action, event setup, or day-in-the-life of your work. This gives your audience a sense of involvement and connection. These can be recorded in advance and shared as needed.
  2. Story Highlights: Don’t let your amazing Stories disappear after 24 hours. Use Story Highlights to curate and categorize your best content so that new followers can catch up on your nonprofit’s journey. Some examples might be; impact stories, event highlights, testimonials.
  3. Event Coverage: Whether it’s a fundraising gala, a volunteer event, or a community workshop, use Stories to provide real-time coverage. Show your followers what’s happening and how their support is making a difference. Think about this from beginning to end. Picking up silent auction items, thanking sponsors, table design ideas, these are ways you can shout out people that are involved and also have people engage with event and generate buzz.
  4. Educational Snippets: Break down complex issues related to your nonprofit’s mission into bite-sized, informative Stories. Use graphics, animations, or short videos to simplify concepts and raise awareness. People aren’t as involved in the work you do as you are. Get back to basics and keep it simple.
  5. Volunteer and Beneficiary Spotlights: Feature the people who make your nonprofit’s work possible. Share stories of dedicated volunteers, success stories of beneficiaries, and the impact your organization has had on their lives. Even better, pull them into the videos with you. Do quick Q&As that you can use multiple times.
  6. Announcements and Updates: Use Stories to share important announcements, upcoming events, and milestones. The urgency of the 24-hour timeframe can encourage followers to take action quickly. These could be exciting grant announcements, enrollment into your services, tickets sales, have fun with it.

Stories can be a combination of direct-to-camera conversations, pre-recorded videos with voice overs, or graphic elements. Create them specifically in Instagram so you can add the stickers and other elements to increase engagement.

Driving Website Traffic through Instagram Stories:

Getting people to your website is a great way to grab more of their attention. They will be able to dive deeper with your organization instead of getting lost in the next person’s Story. Again, it’s important that any links you add are related to the content you’re sharing. There are several ways you can drive people to your website.

  1. Add the Link sticker: This is the most obvious way. You can add the sticker and choose the URL and the text displayed.
  2. Ask a Question: Adding this sticker to your Story can allow you to engage with viewers. You’ll be able to see the answers and can follow up with them directly in your DMs. If you ask questions relevant to your blog post or long form copy you can easily follow up on their response as well as DM the link to learn more
  3. Track Performance: Instagram Insights lets you track the performance of your Stories. Monitor the number, link clicks, and overall engagement to refine your strategy.


Instagram Stories offer a dynamic and engaging way for nonprofits to connect with their audience and direct them to their website. By leveraging real-time engagement, interactive features, and links, nonprofits can share their mission, stories, and impact in a way that resonates with their supporters. So, start crafting compelling Stories and watch as your nonprofit’s online presence flourishes!

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