Nonprofit Issue: #Hashtags

One of the many common attributes often mentioned when discussing the Millennial generation is their connection to technology and social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites have made it easy for Millennials to quickly learn about nonprofits and the work that these organizations do in their communities. These tools also create an opportunity for nonprofit organizations and businesses to easily connect with Millennials. However, the 2013 Millennial Impact Report says that Millennials only follow one to five nonprofit organizations.

 Did you know that there are an estimated 1.5 million nonprofit organizations?

 With this much competition, it is imperative that your organization be able to stand out and motivate the Millennial to learn more about your organization.

One simple way to do this: #hashtags

Yes, even your nonprofit can benefit from the hashtag craze sweeping social media. Just remember not to talk in hashtag in real life like Justin Timerlake and Jimmy Fallon.

First, what is a hashtag? According to Facebook, “hashtags turn topics and phrases into links in posts on your personal timeline or your page. This helps people find posts about topics they are interested in.” Hashtags make a great way to track and follow conversation surrounding your nonprofit or issues. They have become so popular that Twitter even provides a guide on integrating hashtags into your tweets. Check it out here:

RadiumOne, an advertising company, recently released results from a survey where they asked 494 participants (of all ages) about their usage and opinions of hashtags. Some of the highlights:

  • 58% use hashtags
  • 43% find hashtags useful
  • 42% click and explore new content
  • 30% use hashtags to identify new trends (your issues)
  • 21% use hashtags to find brands/products (your nonprofit)



They use websites and search engines primarily for information-gathering, finding volunteer opportunities, and donating online. They rely on social media and email for communicating and connecting with their networks, while mobile technology gives them instant access to all these channels.


Their interactions with nonprofit organizations are likely to be immediate and impulsive. When inspired, they will act quickly in a number of ways, from small donations to short volunteer stints, provided that the opportunities are present and the barriers to entry are low.


Peer influence plays an important role in motivating Millennials to volunteer, attend events, participate in programs, and give. Even if Millennials can’t give as much as other demographic groups, they nonetheless are willing to help raise funds for causes they care about, usually by calling on friends and family.

RadiumOne survey:

Ways to use hashtags:

  • Using the search feature, your pre-selected hashtags can be a great way to identify a new audience. Be sure to follow the user and direct them toward your website.
  • Find photos to repost and share. Everyone loves a shout out on social media, especially your Millennial followers!
  • Host an online event. Using your favorite platform, plan a social media gathering where organization staff and volunteers can engage in dialogue. Using hashtags are a great way to put all users in the same “room.”

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