Next Level Social Media: Learning to Livestream

Today, chances are that your nonprofit is active on a handful of social media platforms, most notably Facebook, Instagram and perhaps Twitter. There, you may post regular updates about events, fundraising drives, lessons learned and wins big and small. You may routinely answer comments and questions, and you may have also experimented with a variety of visual assets such as images, videos, GIFs and infographics. In today’s post, we’re going to explore another powerful way to engage with your audience: social media livestreams. 


Why Going Live is Key

The option to perform a livestream on social media has been introduced only recently, yet it is quickly surpassing all other formats not only in terms of audience reach but also of preference. Since Facebook launched Facebook Live, for example, 78% of online audiences are now regularly interacting with live events, which are seeing 3 times the engagement than regular video content. 

While social media continues to be an effective way to share information and be found, user habits are shifting radically and quickly. Think of these numbers reported by Hootsuite. Today: 

  • 80% of audiences would rather watch a livestream than read a blog post;

  • 82% of audiences would rather watch a livestream than see a social media post;

  • 67% of audiences who watched a livestream bought a ticket to a similar event the next time it happened. 

Livestreaming is the future of social media, and it may prove to be a powerful tool for nonprofits that are looking for ways to be discovered, to drive their engagement, and even to experiment with new fundraising options. In th next section, we’ll focus on setting up livestreams on two of the most popular platforms for nonprofits: Facebook and Instagram.

How To Go Live

Both Facebook and Instagram live are built-in streaming services that let you broadcast directly from your account. The platforms use the cameras found on your computer or mobile device to help you connect in real time with your followers. 

For nonprofits, livestreaming could be a fun and exciting way to host a conversation or a Q&A with followers, to organize a performance or invite audiences to a ticketed event, and it could be used for a number of other goals, such as fundraising drives and e-commerce purposes. When broadcasting live, participants can connect with you in the moment by leaving comments, questions, likes and other types of reactions that spark a sense of community and belonging.



If you are new to livestreaming, there is lots of step-by-step support that will help you get started, whether through the Facebook app or the Creator Studio app, both available on iOS and Android. Facebook also offers a helpful round-up of Live Streaming Best Practices that are sure to come in handy. 


Live streaming comes with a lot of great features, such as:

  • The ability to go live on a Page, in a group or an event on Facebook. Facebook Watch may then feature your content to help others find it more easily;

  • The ability to schedule events up to a week in advance using Facebook Live Producer; 

  • The ability to collect donations for a Donate button by using the Facebook app on mobile or Live Producer on a computer.

  • The ability to invite guests through the Live With function.

Looking for more help getting started? Check out this article written by our friends at TechSoup US, How to Broadcast a Facebook Live Event in 7 Easy Steps



Much like Facebook Live, Instagram Live is a powerful tool for driving engagement and for diversifying your outreach. As social media scheduler Later points out, “unlike pre-recorded Instagram Stories or IGTV videos, Instagram Live is a totally unedited stream for your followers to tune into and engage with — which can be a great way of showcasing the more human side” of your organization.

A key advantage of organizing a livestream on Instagram is that doing so could you be 'discovered', because every time you go live Instagram sends an in-app notification to your followers. It also bumps Live events to the front of its Stories feed, where others can see it up to 24 hours after your event has ended. As a bonus, Instagram livestreams can now be watched on desktop as well, making them accessible to a greater number of users.

Similar to Facebook, your organization can collect donations or organize fundraisers on the platform, too. Indeed, Instagram encourages giving by allowing users to post a “I Donated” sticker in their stories, and its countdown sticker can be used to generate buzz. What’s more, Instagram sends 100% of the donation money to the target organization, meaning that no cut is taken from the total. 


Further Reading 

Live Streaming Best Practices for Major Broadcasts (Facebook)
How to Use Facebook Live: The Ultimate Guide (Hubspot)
How do I start a live broadcast on Instagram? (Instagram)
How to Use Instagram Live to Grow and Engage Your Followers (Hootsuite)

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