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It’s common in today’s digital world for businesses to reach out to online influencers to help effectively attract their target audience.

Online influencers can help bring awareness to a brand, engaging with their followers or subscribers and inspiring action using their power of persuasion among an often-substantial social media following.

Organisations that sell everything from lifestyle products to new media and everything in between are partnering with online influencers requesting the influencer reach out and connect with the organisation’s target market.

As a charity, engaging with an online influencer has the potential to leverage awareness of the cause and attract supporters and donations for little-to-no budget.

Charities can benefit from this approach by seeking an influencer who aligns with the brand, will share key messages and boost fundraising campaign results.

Research suggests that one in three social media influencers are supporting charitable causes through their social media platforms, which, in our digitally-focussed world, is excellent news for all charities.

How to identify which online influencers are in your network

Contrary to popular belief, online influencers aren’t necessarily celebrities or well-known media personalities.

An online influencer can often be someone who is dominant in their particular field, has a strong professional network, or who runs a platform with the power to capture a specific and relevant audience.

Capitalising on a wide variety of social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat to spread their message, influencer’s posts are widely read and shared, inspiring and encouraging their followers.

Modern-day marketing sees online influencers as extremely beneficial for helping charities grow their reach and increase fundraising results, but it’s essential to choose the right person.

Associating your charity with an influencer who doesn’t align with your brand or vision may have the opposite effect and can confuse your supporters or have a negative impact on your campaign.

Finding an influencer who is genuinely passionate about your charity and cause is imperative. The audience can tell immediately if the online influencer sincerely cares about the charity or not and any disconnect between the audience and the influencer will reflect on you.

Charities are less likely to use celebrities as online influencers than businesses whose core motivation is to sell a product. The good news for non-for-profits is that the online audience is becoming more likely to trust an average person rather than celebrities who often promote a range of brands in exchange for money.

Every non-for-profit has their own network of staff, volunteers, fundraisers, donors and participants, and these people may be significant influencers in their own personal networks. Paying close attention to this social network of your existing followers can be more beneficial than paying an influencer or trying to engage with a celebrity whose following may be larger but their influence within your targeted network, less.

To identify prospective online influencers in your network, use the media intelligence and analytics tools. These tools can highlight your charities top followers in the form of hashtags and @mentions, and the most significant engagements.

Ways to attract influencers to support your charity

For non-for-profits to have a successful social media campaign and attract appropriate social media influencers, they need to have an active presence on social media platforms. Once this has been established, tuning in to the community network that the charity belongs to and reaching out to influencers by tagging them online in posts is the logical first step. Be clear and detailed when asking the influencer to support the charity and slowly grow your relationships.

Offer and empower the influencers with compelling and bite-size information that they can efficiently distribute to their followers. This will allow public discussions to take place and help spread the word out about the fundraising campaign.

The right influencer will provide awareness immediately, and a bump in funding is likely to occur. The online influencer will work together with a charity and help deliver the right content for the cause. They have the ability to attract like-minded individuals to support the fundraising campaign and increase donations.

What is the next step for charities and online influencers?

Social currency is a real thing.

Having a social media strategy that attracts attention will mean that your message is heard and distributed to many potential supporters or donors. Engaging with the right supporting online influencers for the charity can provide credibility. The influencers are starting conversations with their own network of followers who in turn are engaging and can raise awareness of a brand.

If you’re not already harnessing the unlimited benefits of connecting with online influencers, start today by identifying your core followers and take the all-important first step to build genuine and authentic online relationships that can help you further achieve your mission.