You’ve all seen it. The pound sign…or as it’s become know in recent years, the hashtag. But what exactly is it and why is it used on social media?
For the purpose of this discussion, I will be referring to # as a hashtag. Hashtags are clickable links in social media posts that bring up all content that includes the hashtag. So for example, if you are on Facebook on a Sunday afternoon, you may see a hashtag about your favorite football team. If you were to click that hashtag, Facebook would aggregate all the posts about your favorite team.
So hashtags sound pretty useful in some situations, but how are they relevant to the nonprofit world? There are a few great ways that nonprofits can leverage a hashtag.
- Events – Using a conference, workshop, webinar or fundraising event hash tag can bring you great testimonials, help address issues at the event and increase awareness for your event. There are also services that can aggregate posts for you, so you can see a live feed of what people are saying as they say it. 40 Below, Marquette County’s Young Professional group, used a hashtag at their conference and created a video recap.
- Cause Awareness Days/Months – There are days and months dedicated to your cause. Hashtags help you take advantage of these days. You can contribute to conversation and educate your followers about an issue that affects your nonprofit. Nonprofit Tech for Good has put together a great list of Cause Awareness Days and their hashtags.
- Fundraising Campaigns – If you are having a campaign that engages millennials and/or online giving, creating a hashtag allows you to expand your network. #GivingTuesday is a day dedicated to giving back. If a person was interested in this movement, they could search the hashtag. In 2013, there were approximately 320,000 tweets that used #GivingTuesday. Talk about being seen by potential new donors!
Hashtags can be quirky, specific, long, short…anything you want them to be. Do some research and check out Public Interest Registry’s 50 Hashtags to Spark Social Change to find the hashtags that fit your organization.
Victoria Leonhardt is an Associate at GLCYD. She oversees the marketing strategy of the organization in addition to facilitating community mobilization in the Eastern Upper Peninsula.