How Snapchat is Revolutionizing Modern Day Advertising for Nonprofits

Social media in general has had a profound impact on the way that people interact and do business, but many people have overlooked its effects on nonprofits. Social media ads and sharing have increased awareness for organizations in a big way in the past few years, but how far can that concept stretch? For instance, would using Snapchat be worth it for nonprofits? When done right, all evidence points to “yes.”

Why might Snapchat be worth it for your organization? Here are some of the ways in which the platform has changed the fundamental way in which you can connect with your audience:

Short Ads Provide Incentive for Quick Action

Unlike most traditional online ads, Snapchat’s particular format doesn’t allow you to run ads that can then be looked up later. This means that users who want to respond have more drive to do so quickly, lest they forget.

This is also the perfect medium for promotions that will be running for a limited time. Say you are having a fund drive over the weekend. You can create a series of individual Snapchat messages encouraging people to donate, and post one every half hour to hour or so for the duration of the drive. You can update them to reflect the amount of money needed during each segment to reach your goals.

Succinct Messages Pack a Punch

They say sometimes that “less is more” and that is certainly true when using Snapchat. With only 1-10 second viewing for every standard snap, whatever you post has to grab attention immediately in order to be effective. However, sometimes the brevity of these posts can actually be an advantage.

 (Credit: Image courtesy of World Wildlife Fund)

Snapchat Stories Open the Door for Longer Narrative

Take, for instance, the 2014 #LastSelfie campaign by the Danish chapter of World Wildlife Fund. They created Snapchat ads featuring a number of endangered species and taglines such as “Don’t let this be my #LastSelfie.” This was a masterful stroke on the part of WWF that perfectly illustrated the potential decimation of these species by associating it with the image’s swift disappearance from the platform.

To those who feel that their organizations couldn’t benefit from such short messages, Snapchat does offer a slightly longer-form option. Their Stories allow you to add snaps to a collection, which can be viewed over a 24-hour period before disappearing. This is especially useful to nonprofits who want to show the progress of something over the course of a few hours or a day. Anything from a cleanup job at a local park to coverage of one of the many political debates we’ve been seeing lately could be featured to show the event’s progress. In fact, a number of presidential candidates only recently joined Snapchat, reinforcing the idea that the platform is both relevant and useful for campaigns.

Platform Connects to Younger Demographics

Snapchat is the social media platform that you are most likely to have heard your 14 year-old daughter gushing about, which is a reflection of the generally younger user base that the platform commands. Therefore, it might not be much use to a nonprofit trying to wrangle donations from a predominantly middle-aged crowd, but will be a must for those aiming at the 18-25 sector, even in part. Millennials, in particular, are far more socially and politically active than most previous generations. In fact, according to the Case Foundation, 84% of millennials donated to charity in 2014. Thus, ads aimed at this demographic utilizing one of their favorite social media tools may have a larger impact than you might expect.

These are just some of the ways in which Snapchat is changing the face of nonprofit ads, and organizations as well as their marketing agencies are taking notice. All it takes is a creative touch to utilize these ads for your next campaign!


Brittany Goodwin is a digital marketing professional and freelance writer in the Greater Philadelphia Area. She enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors. Brittany holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Rutgers University.