Team Captains: Using Instagram to Promote Your Down Syndrome Fundraising Team

By Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

Key Takeaways

  • You can have more than one Instagram account: one for personal, every day use; one for fundraising.
  • Use bio to post the direct link to your fundraising site.
  • Photos/Captions: post clean, well-lit photos to catch followers’ eyes; include a “hook” in your caption to keep your followers’ attention.
  • Hashtags: leverage hashtags that are relevant to both your local community and the Down syndrome community to reach more people.
  • Instagram Stories: showcase short videos and un-staged photos for behind-the-scenes feel
  • Goal: build awareness around your fundraising and advocacy efforts

Social media has become an important aspect in our lives; we use it to stay connected or reconnect with family and friends, to keep up on important issues and trends, and even to amuse ourselves in our downtime. Did you know that social media can also be a key tool in fundraising for your local Down syndrome organization? In 2019, our data shows that 50% of Stride partners had traffic to their Stride fundraising sites from Instagram, with an average of 231 visits per site. This tells us that Instagram is playing an important role in fundraising! By leveraging your Instagram account to raise awareness about your event, and about Down syndrome in general, you can amplify your support for your local DSA.

Dedicate a Separate Account for Your Fundraising Team

Instagram allows users to have more than one account; this makes it possible to have one account dedicated to your fundraising team and loved one with Down syndrome, while keeping your other posts on a separate account. To establish an account for your team, you simply need another email address. The Instagram app makes it very easy to switch between accounts without logging in and out, which makes it convenient to manage both from your phone. Stride users can also connect their Instagram account right to their fundraising page, which allows your team members and donors to easily connect with your family. We recommend posting several times per week, year round, to your Instagram in order to keep engagement levels up. Besides, your followers will want to know what’s happening in the life of your loved one with Down syndrome!

Use the Space in Your Bio Wisely

When you are establishing your new Instagram, be sure to wisely use the space in your bio. By entering the direct link to your team’s fundraising page on the Stride site, you can easily guide donors and registrants to contribute. Remember, Instagram does not make links clickable in your photo captions, so you need to have a convenient place for supporters to find your site. An easy call-to-action directive for your posts might be “Register and donate for our event; follow the link in our bio!”

Carefully Consider Your Photos and Captions

With so many daily users on Instagram, your posts need to stand out in order to gain the attention of your followers. We recommend using simple, well-lit photos to catch the eyes of those scrolling through their feed. Typically clean, well-lit photos are the most eye-catching on this platform, so you’ll want to take that into consideration when planning your posts. Also, when writing your captions don’t forget that while you have up to 2200 characters, only 125 will show up before the caption is truncated. If you want to include a long caption, make sure there is a “hook” to the message to ensure followers will continue reading, and you may also consider adding your hashtags as a comment on the post to keep the caption brief. 


Speaking of hashtags, definitely include them in your posts! We recommend using a combination of local hashtags as well as those which are related to the Down syndrome community. Some posts will also easily lend themselves to popular hashtags like #ThrowbackThursday, #MondayMotivation, #TheLuckyFew, and countless others. If you are unsure of which hashtags to use, we recommend reviewing accounts that are popular in your greater community, as well as in the Down syndrome community, to see what others are using. This practice will allow more people to view your posts! As another quick tip, we encourage you to use camel case when posting hashtags, to make your posts more accessible to those who use screen readers (because #InclusionMatters!).

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is a very popular feature; there are 500 million daily users of Instagram Stories, making it a worthwhile trend to explore! Content for your Stories can be lighthearted and fun, and it’s a great place to feature short videos of your loved one with Down syndrome! If you’re unsure of what to include in your story, we recommend watching the stories at the top of your feed to see what others are posting. It may take some trial and error to find your groove, but it’s another great way to call attention to your fundraising efforts so we recommend giving it a try! 

Remember, the goal for this Instagram account is to promote your fundraising efforts for your local Down syndrome organization. During your “off-season” from fundraising, use the account to promote any advocacy initiatives you are pursuing, and to just brag about your amazing loved one with Down syndrome. Don’t forget to also link your Instagram account to your Stride fundraising site! 

By leveraging this popular social media tool to share information and seek support from your followers, you will succeed in supporting your local Down syndrome organization and help grow awareness in your community.

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