Social media training for charities

Social media training

Social media platforms can help charities connect with a broad audience and build a following. But maintaining a good social media presence is often time-consuming and can sometimes feel aimless. Most small charities create profiles and try to post regularly but don’t have an overarching goal for their presence on any given platform. 

This post will help you decide what training you need and where to find people to help you.

Types of social media training

Social media training will help you understand the differences between social media platforms and what return on investment you can expect. Good training will help charity staff to invest their time prudently in ways that have a demonstrable impact on your organisation’s top objectives. 

As we discuss in our social media guide for charities, choosing which platforms to ignore is a helpful first step. If you are considering social media training it’s worth considering the stage you are at in your thinking, any progress you have already made and areas you most need input. 

General strategy

  • What are your objectives for using social media?
  • Which platforms should you invest in and which should you ignore?
  • Which staff can speak on behalf of the organisation?

Platform specific

  • What is my current level of competency with the platform?
  • Are there specific skills I am lacking?
  • Is there advanced functionality we are not utilising?
  • Are there other tools I can use to automate processes?
  • How can I share or reduce the workload?


Consider the specific situations under which you are using social media and seek relevant training. Examples include the following.

  • Trying to handle bad publicity
  • Broadcasting news and information
  • Entering into conversations with clients or supporters
  • Promoting fundraising campaigns
  • Taking polls or gathering feedback

How to choose a good training provider

Good training will help enable your staff to use their time more efficiently and ultimately help you achieve your social media objectives. You should consider the time you invest in training and make sure you feel confident you will see a return. Here are some factors to consider.

Training expertise

Training and teaching is an important skill in itself. Just because someone has used social media effectively themselves does not mean they will be good at teaching others to replicate their success. Look for people or organisations with a track record of training. They are also more likely to have good quality resources and a well thought through training plan. 

Sector experience

As a charity engaging with social media one of the biggest challenges will be avoiding vanity metrics and understanding the real impact of the time you invest. The people most able to help you do this will have a deep understanding of what charities and nonprofits are trying to achieve (donations, volunteers, policy shifts, etc). See if you can find someone who has a track record of working with charities and understands what success looks like for you.


It’s good to be aware of why the organiser is putting on training.

It may be a gateway to their other services. This is fine - they are incentivised to do a good job in order to impress you - but you should also expect a sales pitch. Some companies may run charity events as part of the corporate social responsibility agenda - don’t expect them to have a deep understanding of your sector. 

Professional trainers will be making their living providing training. You may pay a higher premium for their services but you will probably get a more personalised service and better outcomes.

Group training vs personal training

Group training is generally the more cost effective route but it will contain more generally applicable advice. If you’re just starting out with social media then a group-based crash course could be perfect. If, however, you already have a social media strategy then group training agenda may not meet your needs and you may be better off working one-to-one with an expert who tailors their training to your specific circumstances.

Where to find social media training for charities in the UK

A broad range of training with lots of interestingly specific topics like vlogging and crisis management.

Refreshingly, they provide face to face training right across the UK and not just in London. Topics tend to include social media but be focused around clear objectives like fundraising. 

Don’t tend to run specific social media training but they do put on a broad range of training, conferences and seminars throughout the year. They tend to be based in London but are always targeted at small charities. 

Offer a broad range of courses, some of which cover social media. Targeted at social enterprises so includes topics like driving sales. They occasionally run a ‘Kickstart your Social Media’ workshop.

Alex is a social media specialist who speaks widely and provides training in the Manchester / North West.

Hel runs a range of social media and charity communications sessions across the UK and available for tailored training sessions. 

Zoe is a thought leader when it comes to social media for charities. She speaks widely and helps a wide range of well-known charities with their social media strategy. 

12 September 2018