How to Create Engaging Content on a Budget

Reading Time: 3 minutes


Having a strict marketing budget isn’t a foreign concept in the nonprofit world and because of that fact, I want to equip you with the tools to create engaging content on a budget that truly resonates with your target audience!


Visuals are everything when it comes to good marketing – the human brain only has 1/10th of a second to form an impression of something or someone. Solid branding photography and visual storytelling is the key to leaving an impact.

If you’re using your cell phone for the majority of your visuals posted to social, you can research a variety of photography best practices to ensure that you are meeting the mark on lighting and angles. If you’re unable to hire a professional photographer, consider tapping into stock photography or taking some lessons to master your own abilities on a DSLR.

In terms of stock photography, there are a variety of Creative Commons Zero (CC0) royalty-free images that you can use for commercial purposes without spending a penny – Unsplash is one of my favorites, but doing a quick Google search for “CC0 stock photos” will pull up a bunch of helpful resources. These photos are gorgeous, produced by everyday photographers and don’t look like stuffy stock photos.


A good golden rule to live by is to never share more than 20% promotional content on social. By mastering a balance of types of content, you will set yourself apart from the rest.

Share behind-the-scenes shots that allow your audience to see a glimpse of your world and the great work you’re doing. Invite the audience to engage with the purpose of building community by asking a question or starting a hashtag campaign. Inspire your audience to act with a feel-good quote or success story. Most importantly, educate your audience on your mission and actionable steps they can implement in their own lives to make a difference.

Always aim to get creative and switch up the types of content you’re publishing.


The algorithms are always changing, so much so that it can be intimidating to stay on top of them! A simple Google search every once in a while to inform yourself of the changes is incredibly helpful, then think about how you can implement some new tactics to leverage the algorithms.

For example, Instagram released the secrets about its algorithm earlier last year. They were clear that while they don’t hide any posts from users’ feeds, they prioritize the content that the algorithm thinks the users like most. The more engagements and connections you have with your audience means the more they are going to see your content.

We all also know that Instagram’s Story and Live/IGTV features can receive more reach than regular posts due to the placement within the app and the popularity of the features. Generate a schedule for your company to go live once every couple of weeks, or delegate the task of always having an engaging Story to one of your most creative staff members.


Content marketing is widely regarded as one of the most authentic versions of marketing – the act of sharing content that stimulates interest in a brand, but doesn’t outwardly promote it. In a nutshell: sharing content for free, no strings attached, that solidifies the know, like and trust factor for your company.

Blogging is one of the surefire ways to implement content marketing into your strategy and is a relatively easy way to educate your audience and inspire them to action without needing to come across as a bothersome car salesman about your cause. The connections are cultivated authentically and you get to spread the joy about the impact that your organization is creating in a meaningful, intentional way.


Canva is a wonderful, free graphic design tool that will transform your visuals within a user-intuitive platform that is easy to learn. Choose from their free templates or create your own, and bam! You have beautiful creatives.

Biteable is a great resource for video creation, and since Facebook (and the greater marketing landscape) is all about video in 2019, you’d be crazy not to tap into this tool. Biteable allows you to search for the types of templates that work for social and build stunning visuals… on your lunch break!

There is a plethora of ways to create engaging content while spending little to nothing, so don’t be discouraged! A small step today will create a ripple effect tomorrow.

If you’re still feeling a little stuck, my e-course The Ultimate Nonprofit Social Media Toolkit is here to help! In the chance that you are given a small paid ads budget, I will also walk you through how to receive the absolute best results from Facebook ads.


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