Gramming for a Cause

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Admittedly, I was skeptical that a social media platform seemingly made for the everyday consumer would evolve into a tool worth consideration in advocacy campaigns. But, communicators can't ignore the trend of using visual imagery to convey an idea. With 400 million monthly active users, Instagram has turned into a powerful tool - if you know how to use it.

However, with that many users, and that many images, you need compelling content to cut through the clutter. On Instagram, it's important to increase the quantity of the content your organization creates, while also to engaging your advocates on the platform.

One organization that does a great job of this? Charity Water. Take a look at the image and assessment below for some pro-tips on using Instagram for advocacy:


  1. Compelling composition. Even with the dark background, this photo jumps off the screen. Charity Water uses yellow accents to draw attention to the action that most aligns with their mission. It does a great job of telling Charity Water's story and by not using a stock image, they make it more immediately relatable to their audience.
  2. Campaign connection. Build rapport with your advocates by constructing a campaign that involves them and their use of Instagram. You can create these campaigns for the purposes of working with the advocate or possibly tying into a larger initiative at the company. In September, Charity Water ran a campaign called #nothingiscrazy. They challenged people to do crazy things for clean water. And it worked--they raised over $1 million. By adding the slogan of the campaign to this photo, they reinforce their campaign message.
  3. Convincing caption. While your photos should speak for themselves, a description can add context and value. Just make sure that your words help tell your organization's story along with the image that you've shared. In this case, Charity Water's caption explains the text overlaid on the photo and it uses the hashtag for the campaign, #nothingiscrazy.
  4. Captivating call-to-action. Since we're all searching for engagements, it's important to note that adding a call-to-action to your photo can boost interaction with your community. Include the link to your site or specific campaign page, but keep your URL short and memorable because Instagram does not support clickable links--your viewer needs to remember it and type it in themselves.

You certainly don't need to be a professional photographer to successfully use Instagram. Following these tips can help you grow your followers and generate engagement during your next advocacy campaign. For more ideas on how to use other social media channels, check out the resources at the Digital Advocacy Institute.


These are so useful. Thank you for helping !