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How to use Instagram to boost your fundraising

Use photos to help tell your story

Young lady holding a smartphone

It can feel challenging trying to come up with creative ways to keep up the momentum of your fundraising. However, don’t feel stuck – using social media such as Instagram can rally the crowds, raise funds and have the added bonus of helping to keep you motivated too.

We caught up with Virgin Money London Marathon fundraiser Heidi Rayward. As well as being inspired to raise thousands of pounds for the charity Tommy’s, which raises funds to aid research into saving babies’ lives, following the tragic stillbirth of her son James, Heidi has also cracked Instagram to a T.

1. Use hashtags to get connected

It’s essential to find the right hashtag to connect with others. You need to find out what others are already using. Heidi says she uses #thisisforbabyjames to personalise her story and to make it easier to follow, and #marathontraining and #babyloss to connect with like-minded people.

2. Take people on your journey

When you share a photo, share the story behind it too. As a marathon runner, Heidi says it’s good to “find something memorable in your runs. People need to be able to imagine what’s happening. They need to find emotion, feel something and get lost in it. They need to connect with people.”

3. Choose your photos with a purpose

Sometimes a photo speaks a thousand words. Finding powerful photos really help tell your story. Heidi says, “pictures help you to find the words when you just don’t know what to say”. One of her photos is her Tommy’s running vest, which is covered in 63 stars; each one represents a child who was lost whose family she has met on her journey.

4. Connect with your charity

Tagging the charity you’re running for is a great way to keep up-to-date with what it’s doing, and this will allow you to share your learning with others and ensure you’re always creating new opportunities to fundraise. Heidi adds, “tagging can also be reassuring. It’s the opportunity to talk and be supported by your charity so you’re never on your own. They understand and they want to support.”

5. Share your target

When you share your target and your running total, it’s exciting for your supporters to see and creates a sense of urgency, encouraging people to donate now rather than put it off. Heidi says that she found sharing her target was a great way to keep everyone involved and focused on a collective goal: “it’s making everyone feel good and getting the buzz going. Everyone wants to be that person to get you over-the-line.”

6. Thank people

If you share your appreciation, people will be inspired to share your story again and feel a part of your team. Regular sharing also means you’re rarely out of sight or out of mind.

7. Make your Instagram public

Your donors may not just be limited to your family, friends and colleagues – anyone who has your charity close to their heart will also be interested in finding out more. So make your page public to open up your fundraising to a wider network. As Heidi says: “people want to get on board, and it’s contagious.”

8. Start posting early and post regularly

Make the most of the time you’ve got. Heidi started fundraising when her Virgin Money London Marathon journey started – even though the actual marathon day was many months away. By showcasing her whole journey she’s taken her followers on her journey with her. She’s a constant reminder to her followers of why Tommy’s is so important, and why they should donate.

9. Mix it up

A fundraising journey such as Heidi’s is not just about running. It’s about support, hard work, emotions, memories and more. She’s shared stories of raffles, new things she’s learnt about Tommy’s and those very special moments with her family that make it all worth it.

10. Always link back to your fundraising

Seize every opportunity to share a link to your fundraising page and include a link to your fundraising page in social posts or emails.

Photos on Instagram are a great way to raise awareness of your cause – but Instagram isn’t the only social media channel. Widen your social reach by checking out our tips on How to use video to fundraise, which looks at Facebook in particular.

Have you gone the extra mile to inspire more people to donate? We’d love to hear your story and top fundraising tips on Facebook and Twitter.

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