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Elizabeth Chung
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10 Amazing Nonprofits to Follow on Instagram

Photos. Everyone loves them.

This simple fact is why Instagram exists, and it’s also why this photo- and video-sharing app has been one of the most popular social networking services on the market since its launch three years ago. Having developed a cultish following of both amateur and professional photographers alike, there are now over 150 million people in the worldwide Instagram community. On top of its photo-editing appeal, Instagram’s capability of being shared across multiple networks has made it a dynamic marketing tool for nonprofit organizations.

Because Instagram is used heavily by younger people, leveraging this social network can be a great way to connect with millennial supporters and the rapidly increasing percentage of people relying on mobile devices to access the Internet. Instagram also helps drive engagement amongst your followers through its unique focus on visual content. According to statistics recounted by Hubspot 40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text. And because visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text, integrating Instagram into your marketing strategy can help your organization tell its story and create connections with viewers more quickly.

Below are 10 nonprofits to follow on Instagram who creatively and effectively represent their brands and are just flat out worth following.

1. charity: water

The @charitywater Instagram account documents the organization’s efforts to provide a higher quality of life through clean drinking water. We love how the charity:water uses photos to share the direct results of its programs, showing the faces of those who are being helped by its fundraising efforts. This is a great way to get viewers instantly connected to the cause on an emotional level.

2. Doctors Without Borders

Since 1971, Doctors Without Borders has provided independent, impartial medical assistance for people in crisis in over 60 countries. While effectively putting doctors and nurses on the ground where they are needed most, the organization also spreads awareness about the inhumanities it comes face-to-face with everyday. @doctorswithoutborders is the organization’s visual voice; its posts highlight vulnerable communities around the world to raise awareness and move people to action.

3. Pencils of Promise

Pencils of Promise aims to build lasting educational systems in communities throughout Laos, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. @pencilsofpromise provides a great channel for learning about the organization’s campaigns and the people whose lives are being impacted by the cause. By posting photographs of individual children and their hopes for their futures, the organization allows you to see the actual dream your efforts will help make possible.

4. National Geographic

At @natgeo, you’ll be taken all over the world to see what’s going on in the worlds of geography, archaeology, and natural science. You’ll also find visual promotions of environmental and historical conservation. We love how @natgeo’s photos take us behind the scenes of one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world. In this post, the organization describes an assignment its journalists are on in step-by-step detail.

5. National Public Radio

In its mission to deliver high-quality, critical news to the public via innovative digital platforms, NPR has become a leading news source both within the country and around the world. @npr serves as a visual repository for the chronicles the organization has caught on camera. Each picture tells a story, and the NPR gets you involved by asking you to submit your own entries for its monthly themed photo series.

6. Mercy Corps

@mercycorps documents people around the world who are overcoming crises thanks to the efforts of the organization and its supporters. Amidst these smiling faces, there are also descriptions of the organization’s campaigns and the specific goals it is setting out to accomplish in individual communities.

7. Oxfam America

Oxfam America has spent the last forty years working to end hunger, poverty and social injustice on a global scale. While @oxfamamerica highlights campaigns and fundraisers on Instagram, one of its most valuable practices has been to highlighting the impact its supporters are having on the ground.

8. National Wildlife Federation

@nationalwildlife takes its own spin on the #selfie with up close and personal shots of wild animals. Following this Instagram will definitely brighten up your day and your newsfeed. The fun and silly theme works to encourage awareness of wildlife protection and to emphasize the importance of preserving our beautiful outdoors.

9. Keep a Breast Foundation

The Keep a Breast Foundation focuses on educating young people about breast cancer prevention. @keepabreast inspires followers to raise awareness and take action against cancer, providing engaging visuals of fundraisers who are passionate about the cause.

10. Smithsonian Institute

The Smithsonian is the largest museum and research complex in the world. With its goal to expand and share our rich heritage, the institute uses its @smithsonian account to advance its mission on a more intimate level by sharing closer looks at artifacts and exhibitions. In this photo, we get a behind-the-scenes look at the unraveling of an ancient scroll in a painting conservation lab.


Every Campaign. Every Channel. #Winning

social media guide for nonprofits


Photo Credit: Jason A. Howie

  • I love this list! I think I follow 8 of these on my own Instagram.

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