What DoSomething.Org Can Teach You About Snapchat

On a particularly bitter and snowy day last February, the rest of DoSomething.org’s staff was nestled comfortably at home.

But not Bryce Mathias, the digital content associate. Instead, he was dressed up as Cupid handing out Valentines on the street. Shirtless and in an adult diaper, he put on his wings in the snowy streets of New York City.

And it’s all in the name of Snapchat. “I’m basically humiliating myself,” he added with a laugh.


With Snapchat, all you have is a fleeting moment to captivate your audience. With a 10 second max, people send videos and messages that disappear after you open them.

For DoSomething.org, it’s an effective strategy. But there are also bigger takeaways for your organization about adopting the right social media channels. See what you can learn from DoSomething.org.

Snapchat Can Work for Your NPO if the Demographic is There

So why, you ask, would you want marketing for your organization that disappears in a flash?

According to Mathias, it’s all about the end-user.

“The key for us is to just be in tune with people,” he said. “We text over 1.6 million young people all of the time.”

Colleen Wormsley, DoSomething.org’s Marketing Associate, added that Snapchat’s demographic is the same as theirs. The target market for both DoSomething.org and Snapchat is 13 to 25 year-olds.

For Your Organization:

If the demographics are there, Snapchat is worth exploring. But use this bit of information as a larger lesson. Don’t waste valuable time and resources on an audience that isn’t there. Know the demographics of social media sites and use that to your advantage. We’re not advising you to avoid innovation, by any means. New social media outlets can be your best friend. Simply make sure your audience is there.

Focus Groups Can Be Your Best Friend

So, how exactly will you know if your audience are in the places where you’re extending your reach?

For DoSomething.org, Wormsley said they could use real-live focus groups. That’s because they always have high school and college interns around the office (once again, their demographic).

For Your Organization:

Something so simple that most of us fail to do is ask. Being the stubborn humans that we are, we like to think we have everything figured out. But it’s so simple for an organization to get a focus group together to talk about what social platforms work best for certain audiences, or even simply how you’re using the platform. Use volunteers, donors and anybody else that fits your demographic to find out what they want from your organization.

Now What? Interact!

Mathias said that one of the reasons DoSomething has such a high level of engagement was because they weren’t just peppering users with ads to do their campaigns. Instead, they actually interact with users.

With Snapchat, Mathias said you could quickly gauge a level of emotion that simple text messaging could not. That’s because Snapchat is a contextual way to message. For example, he says if somebody snaps to DoSomething.org that they’re sad, you can very quickly understand why, and to the extent that they’re feeling sad. He receives information quickly

It’s a very efficient way of messaging,” Mathias said. “Snapchat has not only gained popularity, but it’s gained some legitimacy.”

For Your Organization:

Find a way to reach your audience that conveys a level of authenticity and genuine feelings. Plus, don’t forget to actually interact with your users. Pushing out content and never responding to concerns or feedback will help you quickly lose a following.


To see what Wormsley and Mathias are talking about, add “dosomething” to your Snapchat friends list today. Lately, they’ve been up to making a Snapchat story in partnership with Sprint’s Backseat Adviser campaign, which helps discourage texting and driving.


Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

August 25, 2014

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