Your Guide to Threads for Nonprofits
Social media is an excellent way to connect with donors, but navigating the ever-changing landscape can be challenging. However, it’s critical for nonprofits to stay up to date on the latest trends to adopt emerging platforms and increase discoverability. Threads is the latest social media launch worth your attention.
Below, we’ll help you get started with Threads by covering what it is and why it’s a valuable tool for nonprofits. We’ll also give an overview of how to use it, including examples from nonprofits already leading conversations on Threads.
What Is Threads for Nonprofits?
Threads is the latest addition to Meta’s suite of social media tools, which also includes Facebook and Instagram. It’s Meta’s version of X Corp. (formerly known as Twitter). The platform focuses on bite-sized, text-focused content that facilitates public dialogue.
Threads posts can include:
- Up to 500 characters of text
- Up to 10 photos
- Videos up to five minutes long
You can also repost, like, and comment on your and others’ Threads, plus share your Threads to Instagram stories or as a post.
However, Threads does have some limitations. It currently doesn’t support clickable hashtags like other social media platforms, although this will likely change over time. Other features currently unavailable but that may be added in the future include:
- Direct messaging
- Pinning posts to the top of your feed
- Bookmarking posts
- Sharing user polls
- Creating ads
Instagram’s fundraising tools are also not currently available for Threads.
Why Should Nonprofits Use Threads?
Being an early adopter of Threads comes with several benefits for nonprofits. First, you can grow your audience by connecting with other early adopters and being established and ready to connect when more supporters join the app. Since Threads is part of Meta, it’s also worth taking advantage of the built-in audience the company has created through its other social media tools.
As an early adopter, you’ll also see the platform’s new features as the app rolls them out. This provides time to test different strategies to see what works best. By the time Threads is a more established social media platform, you’ll be one of its experts.
App Trends to Note
Threads launched its app in early July 2023 and saw 10 million users sign up within the first seven hours. By late July, that figure jumped to 100 million active users. To put that growth into perspective, it took Twitter 780 days to register its first 10 million users.¹
The momentum and excitement users have around Threads make it a great new place for nonprofits to share stories and create authentic connections with supporters. However, with every new platform comes a novelty phase, followed by growth numbers leveling out. Since its launch, Threads has experienced a lull in engagement, an increase in spam, and a few other issues with the app. This is common for new platforms, and Threads plans to resolve these concerns.
While we don’t know what the future of the app will look like, now is the perfect time to experiment with it. The worst-case scenario is the app doesn’t grow to be as influential as others. However, the best case is that it explodes, and you’ve already established yourself on the platform.
What Should Nonprofits Know About Getting Started on Threads?
To sign up for Threads, you’ll need an Instagram account. Your username will be the same for both accounts. Since Threads is connected to Instagram, if you’ve verified your nonprofit on that platform, it will transfer to Threads.
Once you’ve launched your Threads account, add a profile photo, brief biography, and a link to your nonprofit website like you would on Instagram. After this initial setup, post your first message to welcome your new community of followers.
Additionally, you can mass follow everyone you do on Instagram with the click of a button. Since many of your Instagram followers will likely use this easy integration, too, they’ll quickly start following you on Threads as well.
Note that if you later decide to delete your Threads account, you can’t do so without also deleting your Instagram account. However, you can choose to deactivate your Threads account without impacting your Instagram content.
5 Examples of Nonprofits Using Threads to Connect With Donors
Being an early adopter of Threads gives your nonprofit a chance to stand out in the platform’s early days. With playfulness, interaction, and timeliness, you can create posts that engage and delight your supporters. Here are ways five nonprofits already leverage Threads.
1. Offer a Welcome Message That Restates Your Mission
Your first Threads content should orient your followers to the new platform and let them know what they can expect from you there. This is a great time to reiterate your mission.
To Write Love On Her Arms (a nonprofit dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide) kept its message simple: “New platform, same goal of connecting people with hope + help.”
The nonprofit also shared an image of this initial Threads content to its Instagram feed, commenting about the fun, positive, and encouraging energy its community created on the new platform. This continues to build momentum, showing supporters why they should join them on Threads.
2. Use the Newness of Threads to Be Playful
Everyone is learning Threads together. You can use this novelty to sprinkle humor into your posts and share in community dialogue about the platform.
Legacy Youth Leadership (a nonprofit that works to build a socially conscious and active generation of young people) was an early adopter of Threads. Shortly after the app’s launch, the nonprofit posted playful messages wondering when celebrity favorites Rihanna and Beyoncé would join. It did this through posting on Threads and sharing the content of other organizations.
3. Interact With Other Accounts to Build Community
One way to increase engagement with your Threads content is to interact with similar organizations. You can like posts or re-share them and add your comments.
Thirst Project (a nonprofit that works to bring safe drinking water to communities around the world) reshared Threads content from US Water Alliance about the crucial roles water plays in everyday life. The nonprofit added emojis to the repost to show its agreement with the message.
4. Focus on Current Events to Gain Traction
Threads provides quick updates relevant to a moment in time. As the platform continues to add functions like searchable hashtags, posting content that taps into trending topics will get more eyes on your work. Consider what current events relate to your cause and talk about them on Threads.
Arbor Day Foundation (a nonprofit dedicated to planting trees) used the recent heat wave across the United States to champion its cause. It shared Threads content from The Weather Channel about being hot, adding that it knows something that can help, along with tree emojis.
5. Showcase Ways to Get Involved With Your Nonprofit
Once you’ve welcomed new followers to Threads and been playful with your content, include periodic messages about how your supporters can help your cause. These can be updates about your next virtual fundraising event or volunteer opportunities.
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley (a food bank in California) shared a photo of a volunteer at the nonprofit and added an inspiring message: “If you needed a sign to volunteer at your local food bank this summer, this is it!” The post offers a fun call to action for followers.
Leverage Threads to Expand Your Nonprofit’s Audience
Threads, the latest app on the social media scene, offers an integration with Instagram that makes uptake of the platform easy for nonprofits. With a few clicks, you can be an early adopter of the new app and connect with supporters excited to explore it, laying the foundation for building and strengthening donor relationships.
Copy Editor: Ayanna Julien
1. “Threads for Nonprofits: 5 Tips for the Early Adoption Phase,” Nonprofit Tech for Good, last modified July 21, 2023, https://www.nptechforgood.com/2023/07/07/threads-for-nonprofits-5-tips-for-the-early-adoption-phase.
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