M+R Benchmarks: How Nonprofits are Partnering with Influencers

M+R Benchmarks: How Nonprofits are Partnering with Influencers

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It’s important to set your influencers up for success. Doing so requires a clear understanding of your organization’s goals – audience size, key demographics, overall views, daily engagement, donations, etc. – and how best to put your creators to work on each platform in order to achieve them.

The recent M+R Benchmarks 20224 study shows that influencers make the biggest impact promoting nonprofit goals when they are posting on platforms and in communities where everyone is eager to engage. According to the study, “in 2023, TikTok audiences for nonprofits grew much, much faster than any other major social media platform. The number of followers on TikTok more than doubled in 2023, with 112% growth on average.” Even so, in 2023, only Facebook and Instagram has nearly unanimous and universal adoption by participating nonprofits. 90% of study respondents used Twitter/X, but only 39% used TikTok, showing that nonprofits still have a long way to go before they realize the full potential of this newer platform.

Across all social media channels, “the most common use of paid influencers was to increase visibility for a nonprofit brand, cause, or campaign — 79% of nonprofits with influencer campaigns did narrative change or persuasion work,” according to the study, while “promoting volunteer or advocacy actions was close behind at 75%. And among nonprofits with paid influencer partnerships, half relied on influencers to promote fundraising.”

Here is a distilled breakout of the study’s most important findings:

  • Roughly half of the study’s participating nonprofits worked with influencers in 2023, with 17% prioritizing paid campaigns and partnerships and 30% combining paid and unpaid campaigns and partnerships.
  • 77% of participating nonprofits worked with influencers with fewer than 10,000 followers and 85% worked with influencers with 10k–100k followers. In many cases, these smaller influencers are active in issue areas relevant to a nonprofit’s mission or are able to reach specific audiences. 47% of nonprofits with influencer campaigns worked with influencers that had more than a million followers.
  • As noted above, TikTok audiences for nonprofits increased by 112% in 2023, far faster than other social media platforms. Facebook and Instagram follower counts were a distant second, growing by 6% and 11% respectively. Twitter/X followers declined by an average of 1%.
  • 13% of study participants with active Twitter/X accounts are planning to leave the platform or sunset the account in some way, and 62% of nonprofits active on Twitter/X reported that they have started building a presence on other emerging platforms.
  • Among nonprofits with paid influencer campaigns, 50% used those partnerships for fundraising, 75% for advocacy or volunteer requests, and 79% used them for educational or persuasion purposes.

These findings demonstrate the continued interest in spreading and engaging with authentic messaging. We have to meet our audiences where they are in order to accomplish our goals – and this can all be done through strategic influencer partnerships.