13 Instagram Reels Ideas for Nonprofits
5 min to read ✭ In this post, you’ll learn 13 ideas that your nonprofit can utilize to create Instagram Reels.
What are Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels were first rolled out back in August of 2020 as a way to compete with the rising popularity of the app, TikTok. Essentially, they are short-form videos that are typically paired with a song, sound, or voiceover that are either 15 or 30 seconds in length. Instagram is prioritizing Reels from users, so they tend to get higher engagement than a normal post or story would. That means it can be a very effective way to increase your brand recognition and grow your audience right now.
“Viral” trends of these videos tend to be very common because users will reuse the same sound and put their own spin on it. Trends come and go extremely quickly and it can be difficult to stay on top of what’s hot. In this post, we’ll go over some concrete ideas that can be used no matter what is trending.
The Goal of Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels tend to perform best when the content is entertaining, educational, inspirational, or relatable. Be sure to have a deep understanding of who your audience is so that you can tailor your content towards what you think they would enjoy. If you aren’t sure what they enjoy, you can utilize the question box option in your Instagram stories to ask them or you can send out a survey using another marketing channel like email.
Once you fully understand your audience, consider using some of the following ideas for your content.
1. Introducing Your Organization
Who are you? What do you do? What is your purpose? The answer to these questions might be extensive but focus on keeping it as brief as possible. Think of it as a quick preview of who you are—something that will pique interest and lead the viewer to click on your username to learn more about you. Remember, you only have 15 seconds! You can create this video by simply showing your face and using your hands to usher text that pops up on the screen. You could also do this by creating a voiceover where you speak about who you are and pair the sound to photos and videos of what you do.
What goes on behind the scenes at your organization? Behind the scenes-style videos are great for showing the reality of a nonprofit—both the good and the bad!
Show your audience something they won’t necessarily see by looking at your profile or homepage. This could be a “day-in-the-life” style clip, illustrating where the donation actually goes, preparation for an event, a tour/walk-through of your location, a reaction of a recipient of a donation, etc. Remember, the key is to be relatable and inspiring!
3. Meet the Team
Who are the incredible people that power your organization? Show us their beautiful faces! This is a great way to humanize your social media and remind your audience that there are real people that appreciate their support! A quick video of each person smiling and waving with some catchy music behind would get the job done. (Don’t be afraid to get creative here! Wear funny hats, jump out from behind objects, do a little dance!)
4. Myths vs Truths About Your Cause
The goal for this one is to educate your audience about your cause. Are there any common misconceptions that you can bust? Are there any truths that more people should know about? This can be displayed by putting the myth/truth in the text on the screen and then flashing the answer over the screen a few seconds later.
How do you react when you generate a donation? With an office dance party of course! Let’s see those moves! Another great way to humanize donations and show your audience that it really does make a difference when they donate. This idea can be used to celebrate any wins, big or small! Use the prompt, “That feeling when…” to come up with more ideas to celebrate.
6. Impact Numbers
Did you have a really great campaign? Did you crush your year-end goals? Do you have qualitative results that your organization improved lives? Show us those impressive results in an Instagram Reel. Donors will feel more inspired if they are able to actually see the changes their contributions made.
7. Sneak Peek
This one is similar to the behind-the-scenes concept, but can be used more to build anticipation for an upcoming event or campaign. Whatever you’re working on or planning for your community, give them just a quick peek of what it might be! Get them excited or curious about what you have coming up.
8. Before and After
This is a good one to clearly demonstrate the change your organization has the ability to make. If your organization provides resources to people in need, pull on the heartstrings by showing us what their situation looked like before you helped them and after helping them.
Create a challenge for your community to participate in. Remember the viral #IceBucketChallenge from a few years ago? Something along those lines. It could even be incorporated into your P2P campaign where fundraisers create a reel to challenge others to join them.
10. Three Facts or Reasons
Another great idea is to educate your audience. Flash three facts on the screen about your cause, or give them three reasons why they should join your cause and community. There are probably more than just three reasons, so you can make multiple reels and spread them out amongst your content calendar.
11. Your Story
What made you so passionate about your cause? How did everything start? How far have you come? A popular trend across a few different social platforms has been “how it started vs. how it’s going.” This can be really inspiring to others that want to make a difference or join your initiative.
If you’ve watched reels on your feed, you’ve probably seen someone use the green screen feature. This allows you to put up a photo behind you while you talk. Using this feature, you can display a screenshot of an article your organization was mentioned or featured in and point it out to your audience. This could lead to sparked interest, and maybe the viewer will go read the entire piece. You can also use the greenscreen function to highlight photos as talking points in your videos.
13. Answer Commonly Asked Questions
Take a handful of commonly asked questions from supporters, or questions that you could assume someone who doesn’t know your organization very well might ask, and throw them together in a reel. Put the question in text on the screen and answer them out loud.
Reels can be challenging because they can be time-consuming to create, edit, and brainstorm for. They also require getting out of your comfort zone and showing your face. Reels are designed to be very personal and tend to show the creator’s face in almost all of them. Our best advice is to designate a spokesperson at your organization that can be “the face” of your reels. When it comes to creating and editing, we recommend purchasing a phone tripod, and possibly an app for video editing. Every reel will need to be paired with a song, so we recommend scrolling through your reels feed and saving songs that you think you might want to use. Watching other people’s reels can also spark some ideas and it’s totally okay to copy what someone else is doing. That’s how trends start, and it’s definitely the nature of the reels world to hop on a trend. Lastly, because they are time-consuming to create, designate a day to capture all the footage you need for the upcoming weeks/month and knock it out in one day. Planning ahead is key!