Three Ways Your Nonprofit Can Leverage Influencers

Social media is no longer a novel concept, so you’ve probably seen firsthand the impact influencers can have. Experts and popular advocates will support the organizations they care about on social media and market that organization to their thousands — or in some cases, millions — of followers.

This trend has been made popular on networks like TikTok and Instagram. The concept, however, is effective on any marketing channel. After all, wouldn’t you listen to a message more intently if it was vouched for by your favorite actor, musician, or celebrity?

Generally, nonprofit marketing plans rarely take into account this impactful trend, choosing to rely solely on traditional strategies instead.

Don’t make this mistake! Believe it or not, your organization already has access to potential influencers who can help support your mission and further your cause. Let’s explore how to discover these influencers already in your Rolodex, then dive into how they can help support your nonprofit.

Discover the Influencers in Your Industry

Influencers aren’t just young adults posting videos of themselves dancing on TikTok. They also include sophisticated professionals who can help you promote your nonprofit’s various opportunities. As we mentioned, these individuals are probably already in your system! You can look for potential influencers by examining the followings of your:

  • Board members. Your board members have already shown their dedication to your cause and their consistent involvement with your mission means they have the latest insights on the subject. They can be powerful voices when they advocate or raise money for your nonprofit.
  • Keynote speakers. You likely recruit keynote speakers for your event when those speakers have a following that will excite attendees and a message worth hearing in relation to your mission. Ask these speakers to further partner with your nonprofit and get them involved as influencers.
  • Industry experts. Those who have written books about your mission, studied it in an academic setting, or otherwise gained insight on the subject can make great influencers as they have the industry experience and knowledge to share with others.

To locate the best potential influencers among your professional network, ask yourself who in your organization’s contacts is knowledgeable about your mission, a good representative of your cause, and active and well-known in the community.

It’s essential that people think of these individuals as authoritative on the subject of your organization and your mission. Plus, you need to be comfortable with them representing your cause, so your values need to align.

Supplement Your Other Marketing Efforts

Collaborating with influencers is a powerful part of your organization’s marketing initiatives. However, it should never become the sole portion of your marketing strategy. Rather, it should be combined with your other marketing efforts to create a multi-channel outreach strategy.

Some sources cite that 90% of customers prefer consistent communications across multiple channels. Therefore, your influencer marketing strategy should fall in naturally with your other marketing efforts, including:

  • Email marketing campaigns. You likely already send emails to your supporters, but you shouldn’t just send mass messages to every one of your contacts. Instead, segment your audience and only send them the messages that are most relevant to their interests.
  • Targeted advertisements. You probably see ads appear in the margins of the news you read or as you look up a recipe on your phone. These ads are often targeted based on the websites you’ve visited before, your geographic location, or interests you’ve expressed in the past. Nonprofits can also use the information you have on donors to create targeted advertisements to acquire new supporters and encourage current donors to contribute to your latest campaign.
  • Social media posts. On social media, you can do more than post updates about your organization. You can create groups, create advertisements, raise money, and more. Use social media to its greatest potential by leveraging several of these tools.

Think about how influencers can help each of these other channels succeed. For example, you might ask an influencer to provide a quote for your latest email, encourage them to like and comment on your social media activity, and even provide targeted ads that lead to custom influencer pages that reference and advocate for your nonprofit.

Leverage Your Influencers With These Three Ideas

Once you’ve identified your potential influencers, reach out to them and ask if they’d be willing to get more involved with your organization. If they say yes, offer to have a meeting with them to discuss the potential options to get more involved.

Before the meeting, have a few options for them to get involved and be ready to discuss them. Be sure each of these opportunities fits seamlessly into your digital marketing strategy. Here are our top three ideas for how they can get more involved with your initiatives.


1. Ask influencers to promote events

Allow influencers to create a dedicated webpage where they can promote your event by sharing the page with their followers on various platforms. This is a perfect opportunity to encourage your event speakers to get involved with your campaign, as they can promote their own speaking engagement at the event.

Be sure these pages all have a direct link to your registration page so that these supporters can easily click through to attend.

2. Launch a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign

Peer-to-peer fundraising is an effective strategy for nonprofits to raise money by empowering their supporters to raise funds on their behalf. Some organizations decide to leave it to the masses, asking any and every supporter to launch a campaign page. Others, however, decide to only ask a handful of well-connected supporters to act as ambassadors for the campaign.

This is where your influencers can be incredibly helpful. Ask them each to launch a campaign page and raise money from their followers and peers.

They can customize the page with information about the campaign, mission, and why they’re so passionate about it. Then, they can post that page on social networks and over email, telling their friends about it and asking them to contribute funds to the cause.

3. Ask influencers to participate in awareness campaigns

Brand awareness campaigns are designed to help your organization inform the community about your mission and pull at their heartstrings. Your influencers are the ideal marketers to help promote your brand.

Simply ask them to get involved with your current campaigns. For example, you might ask them to:

    • Re-blog or share your organization’s social media posts
    • Post a picture of them wearing your branded t-shirt
    • Ask them to host a webinar or create a video discussing your mission

Simply making people aware of your cause is essential for acquiring new donors, raising additional funds, and succeeding in your community. Influencers have the background and following to make a splash, helping you gain additional traction.


Influencers can help your cause by using their followings to spread awareness of your cause and raise funds and engagement among potential donors. After they help you with your campaign, be sure to reach back out to say thank you. You might even give them a shout-out on social media, on your website, or at your next event. Additionally, consider giving out branded merchandise and other thank-you trinkets. You never know — maybe those gifts will end up in a future post!


Aidan Augustin

Aidan Augustin is the co-founder and president of Feathr, an industry-leading tech company building marketing tools specifically tailored to the needs of associations and event organizers. Feathr has helped over 800 associations and 5,000 conferences, trade shows, and virtual events grow attendance, member engagement, and digital sponsorship revenue. Based out of their Gainesville, FL headquarters, Aidan leads the sales and marketing functions of Feathr and spearheads industry engagement. He is an actively involved member of both ASAE and IAEE and a regular speaker on the topics of digital marketing and event/association technology.