Large nonprofits usually have the expertise and resources necessary to launch and maintain successful online communications and fundraising campaigns. They’ve been able to hire some of the most well-trained and experienced staff, consultants, and designers that work in the nonprofit sector. Small to medium-sized nonprofits with small to medium-sized marketing and communications budgets may not have the resources that many of the larger nonprofits do, but that doesn’t mean your online communications campaigns can’t be as good.

Your nonprofit can learn a lot from the 11 (mostly large) nonprofits listed below by simply following, liking, and subscribing to their e-newsletter, blog, Facebook Page, Twitter, YouTube Channel, etc. and then studying and duplicating their methods. How I chose the nonprofits is that I have a basic set of criteria that I use as a litmus test when I audit nonprofits and their social media campaigns. A small selection of that criteria is as follows:

  • Consistent use of a visually compelling square avatar across all social networks
  • Custom-designed Twitter and YouTube Channel backgrounds
  • Consistent publication of fresh content to a blog or website
  • Their website, e-newsletter, and blog all include links to their social networks
  • Their blog has an e-mail newsletter subscribe option and a “Donate Now” button
  • They consistently get retweeted, repinned, and reblogged and have an active fan base on Facebook and Google+
  • They have found the right balance of what kind of content to post on their social networks and how often
  • They are early adopters and boldly pioneer the Social Web

That said, none of the nonprofits listed below met all the criteria (all are at 90% or more).  There’s always room for improvement since social media best practices change as often as the tools themselves. Many social media best practices that were tried and true just 6-12 months ago no longer apply. A good social media manager understands this and evolves with their communities and quickly adapts as the tools themselves change – and it’s clear when you study the nonprofits below that their social media managers not only understand this, but embrace it.

Finally, it was very tough to narrow it down to just eleven nonprofits. A hundred nonprofits could have easily made the list, but I’ll tell you this: If I couldn’t find links to their social networking communities on their website’s homepage, then the nonprofit wasn’t even considered. That’s a very basic must-have criteria in my book, literallyHint, hint.

1. AIDS Healthcare Foundation ::


2. Amnesty International ::


3. CARE ::


4.Field Museum ::


5. Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) ::


6. London Symphony Orchestra ::


7. Media Matters ::


8. Nature Conservancy ::


9. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) ::


10. Project Aware ::


11. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ::

Related Links:

Social Media and Mobile Technology Webinar for Nonprofits
Social Media for Social Good: A 268-Page How-To Guide for Nonprofits