By the time someone posts about a cause on social media, they’re fired up and want to tell others. For some, it’s their first “action” on the given issue, for others, it could be the 20th time they’ve talked about the cause this month.

Regardless of how often people post, when your supporters share their opinions about #Orlando, #ImWithHer, #DisarmHate or other causes on social media, they are motivated to take action. Our job as nonprofit professionals is to harness the passion from supporters who are actively talking about our issues on social, so we can move them to action today. Here’s how:

Know Who Is Posting About Your Issues

Tapping into the real-time passion of your supporters means engaging them when they are most fired up about the issue at hand. One of the best ways to get the pulse on your people is to catch them when they are posting about your issues on social media.

While it seems obvious, this task is harder than it sounds because most nonprofit databases don’t include social listening and only a fraction of your active supporters follow you on social. While you can use tools like Tweetreach, Hootsuite, and Tweetdeck, they will show you search results for everyone who is talking about your key terms, not just your current supporters.

As such, we recommend that you focus social listening on your greatest asset — your email file and current followers. The goal of segmenting by social listening is to allow you to put your talkers into a group such as “gun violence mentions” and engage them by email and social with personalized calls to action.

Here’s an example of how you can find everyone in your email file who is talking about your issues using


Email Your Social Mentions

This is where the real-time engagement comes into play. Now that you’ve found which of your supporters are talking about your search terms on social, send everyone who posted about these terms an email within 24 hours of the mention. It’s likely more people will take action on an issue they just posted about on social.

Instead of segmenting your next email by activity level, send by social mentions.

Ideally your search terms will illicit a clear call to action (CTA) relevant to your search terms that can be conveyed in an email. Your CTA will entirely depend on your campaign goals, but we’ve include a few ideas to get your realtime engagement juices flowing.

Call to Action Ideas

  • Tweet Congress. Email or Direct Message your action content like this snazzy “Tweet Your Members of Congress” from Everytown.
  • Send Content. Depending on your campaign goals, you could send a softer CTA such as a report, factsheet, blog, video, infographic, etc.
  • Sign the Petition. When American Rivers emailed everyone who was talking about “Grand Canyon” on social media, and asked them to sign their petition, they received an impressive 23% petition completion rate.
  • Share Our Message. If someone has already taken action, or is a social media influencer, ask them to share your message on Facebook and Twitter. Consider creating a landing page with sharable content.
  • Make a Donation. When someone mentions your terms, send them an email or DM asking for a contribution that’s directly related to the mention.
  • Invite to a Campaign Call. Remember, these people are fired up and are primed to take action. Consider inviting them to a call or video conference that explains how your organization is solving the issue at hand and how they can get involved.
  • Invite Influencers to Twitter Storm. Recruit social media influencers directly from your email list to amplify the reach and impact of your Twitter Storm.

Respond On Social Today

While it’s easy to see who in the universe is talking about your hashtags and mentioning your @organization, the real opportunity is see who in your email list is talking about your terms and hashtags. Are they donors? Is this a first time action or 20th? Knowing who they are informs your cultivation strategy.

Spend at least 30 minutes a day responding to people who are talking about your search terms. We call this social love and it makes a huge difference in cultivating your supporters. When using Twitter, make sure to slightly personalize each response so you aren’t penalized for sending the same message to hundreds of people. Use the CTA ideas above to respond directly to supporters on social via comments or DM’s.

Engage Your Influencers

Your social media influencers are best positioned to share your message to their own social networks, which allows you to reach an entirely new audience outside of your email list. If this VIP influencer below (the founder of Craigslist) was signed up for your email list AND was tweeting about your issue, you’d want to cultivate him as a messenger (or at least thank him).

After you’ve identified your influencers in your email file, you’ll want to know how to approach your influencers to share your content. Regardless of social influence, engaging your supporters when they are most interested in your cause is one of the best ways to move your people to action today.