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A Rookie's Guide to Reddit For The Future of Nonprofit Fundraising

November 14, 2022
5 minutes

Social media is the future of nonprofit fundraising. There, we said it—but you probably already knew that. If you’re chronically online like most fundraisers, chances are you’re already leveraging digital marketing on platforms like Instagram and Facebook to generate the bulk of social donations for your nonprofit.

But if you’re only focusing your social media fundraising efforts on Meta-owned platforms, you’re not reaching a core audience ripe for charitable giving.

Enter, Reddit.

Founded in 2005, Reddit has innovated community-building and fostered new-age human connection by driving diverse discussion on the platform. With over 430 million active monthly users, Reddit is the fifth most-visited website in the United States—and the twentieth most-visited site in the world.

Sounds like a treasure trove of untapped generosity, right?

But wait, there’s more! Millennials and Gen-Z (also known as the most charitable generation) have the biggest presence on Reddit. Users aged 18-29 make up 36% of Reddit’s user base, which is the largest percentage of any generation on the growing platform.

So, if you’ve been trying to reach a new wave of donors with a passion for philanthropy—it's time you strapped on your headlamps and started spelunking the subreddits of Gen-Z.

For years, Reddit has been a mystery to fundraisers and marketers unsure of how to leverage Reddit’s uniquely user-driven community content to generate generosity on the platform. It's time to change that.

After years spent underestimating the power of Reddit’s body politic, it’s time to invest in Redditors and online communities as a new angle on philanthropy.

Buckle up, Fundraisers. We’re here to help you ✨memeify your KPI✨ with best practices to ignite the new movement of nonprofit fundraising on Reddit.

gif of a gamer saying "hello reddit"

A Rookie's Guide to Reddit 💅

Reddit is a unique lil lad. Unlike email and traditional social media fundraising campaigns, nonprofit fundraising on Reddit relies on being actively engaged in user-generated discussion.

So...you can't rely on your Instagram fundraising strategy to perform in the same way on Reddit. Sad face. But never fear! We're here with the best ways for fundraisers to make the most out of Reddit.

But before you can make an impact on Reddit, first create your Reddit ads business account. Your account will allow you to run paid ads, target donors, and measure success through analytics.

Now, whether you're a rookie Redditor or you've been sitting somewhere in an obscure subreddit since 2005—here are our best practices to making Reddit a core part of your nonprofit's future fundraising strategy.

Oscar Nunez lifting his head and hand and saying, "Showtime"

Subreddit Segmentation ⚙️

Subreddits are the best way to find your niche community and start meaningful conversations—the perfect tool for nonprofits looking to spread their message and drive donations! 🚀

Reddit is a platform that houses millions of subreddits. A subreddit is a forum about a specific topic. Each subreddit forum contains conversations and discussions related to the subreddit topic. Using subreddits, Reddit users can segment and customize the platform to meet their specific interests and build their own communities.

As nonprofiteers, subreddits like r/nonprofit, r/humanitarian, r/volunteer, and r/philanthropy are great forums to get started exploring and posting content related to nonprofits—and to join the massive nonprofit community that already exists on the platform.

But it doesn't stop there!

Narrow your search for prospective donors, allies, and volunteers with subreddit communities based on your location (ex. r/newyorkcity) or issue area (ex. r/foodjustice).

Before you make your first subreddit post, scan the forum to ensure that your post lands in a welcoming space. For example, don't post about your NYC-based nonprofit in a subreddit dedicated to NYC dinner reservations. It just doesn't fit.  

But don't worry—if you can't find a subreddit that aligns with your nonprofit, you can create your own subreddit and act as the moderator to facilitate new conversations and build your own online community. The bigger your community grows, the most potential donors you can reach!

Tracee Ellis Ros sitting in front of a row of hot sauces saying, "I love a captive audience. Love it."

Get Engaged 💍

Community engagement is the foundation of Reddit. Actively participating in subreddit discussions is the best, free way to build your Reddit community and increase awareness of your nonprofit.

Before you get engaged, it's important to understand the voice of Reddit users and what language is most likely to generate a response.

Reddit users are largely considered "offbeat, quirky, and anti-establishment". They value brand transparency and often use Reddit to research products and brands before investing or supporting.

So, nonprofiteers, Reddit is the perfect space to leverage your most ✨authentic✨ brand messaging and find users most closely aligned with your mission who are ready to get engaged. Woohoo!

Monica Gellar shouting "I'm Engaged!"

A Crafty Campaign 🔨

Now that you're engaged with your new subreddit communities, you can start crafting your new fundraising campaign on Reddit through promoted posts!  

Building an ad campaign on Reddit is similar to other social media sites. Once you've logged into Reddit's campaign management tool, you can set up your advertising campaign in 3 easy steps:

Who will see the ad?

First, segment your audience based on categories like interests, location, and subreddit membership.

When and how often will the ad be seen?

Then, schedule the time of your campaign and determine your budget (how much money you're willing to pay per thousand impressions)

What does the ad look like?

Next, upload your ad content. Choose between a link ad (an ad that links externally to your donation page) or a text ad (an ad that links to another Reddit landing page).

Choose a notable headline for your fundraiser and upload any images, graphics, or videos that tell the story of your nonprofit and why you're fundraising. This is the space to leverage the your storytelling skills! Make an emotional appeal that will resonate with the audience that you segmented or the subreddit community that you know so well... and link them directly to your Funraise donation page so they can make a direct impact.

When you're done creating your ad, submit it to Reddit for internal review and approval within 24 hours. If Reddit approves your ad, it will go live on the platform!

Peter from Family Guy as a news anchor saying, "Wait we're live"

The Making of a Meme 👑

You can't fundraise (or exist) on Reddit without memes. If you've been actively online over the last fifteen years, you're probably familiar with the almighty internet meme.

Memes are funny, clever commentary that the New York Times has coined as "conduits for cultural conversations" through humor. While memes weren't born on the Internet, they've certainly found their home here. And there is no greater home for memes than the r/memes subreddit.

Started in 2008, Reddit's forum for memes and internet culture has amassed an audience of over 22 million users and is one of the most popular topics on the platform.

Break time! Here's a ✨lil fundraising meme✨ created by our Social Media & Community Manager, Mel:

Meme of a woman screaming at a white cat who is sitting at a dining table. She says, "Start planning for Giving Tuesday" and the caption above the cat says, "Me: It's January 1st"

If you got a laugh (or a brief war flashback) from this meme, you probably feel like you're in on the joke when it comes to nonprofit fundraising. ...And you are!

That "in on the joke" feeling of community generated by sharing relatable memes can be harassed by fundraisers looking to build community on Reddit.

Lean into humor that aligns with your mission or pokes fun at an issue that your nonprofit addresses. Levity goes a long way when it comes to generating donations—especially if your nonprofit already uses humor on other social platforms.

Meme generators like Kapwing and Imgflip are free tools to help you capitalize on popular internet trends to make your own memes!

So, sprinkle little meme fun into your Reddit fundraising campaign and watch what happens!

The sprinkling guy gif

By now you know that Reddit is a unique, untapped resource for  nonprofit fundraising ✅

And if community engagement is your fundraising strategy, Reddit should be a major player on your roster.

By connecting aligned values around shared knowledge and information, Reddit brings people from around the world together to start important cultural conversations. These conversations are vital for nonprofits to engage with and learn from—and the perfect place to turn collective outrage into direct action.

Cultural humor, shared experiences, levity, and human connection are all generated on Reddit. So, as you're building out your next fundraising campaign, remember that there's a community of Redditors eager to contribute to your cause—and don't even know your nonprofit exists yet. How exciting!

We hope that this guide made using Reddit for nonprofit fundraising feel less intimidating, and more... dare we say... fun? We're called Funraise, for crying out loud!

Now get out there and make your next nonprofit fundraising campaign a meme-ingful one 💙 We can't wait to see it.

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