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For commercial brands, influencer marketing comes as a natural strategy to increase awareness and drive sales. However, you might be surprised by how many Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), charities, and nonprofits similarly harness the power of influencers as brand advocates.

Although the goals of NGOs differ from the conversion-driven objectives of commercial brands, there’s overlap in the influencer marketing approach and success.

As marketers continue investing in influencers, their followers will likely feel over-inundated with sponsored content. By working with NGOs on cause-oriented campaigns, influencers will be able retain their credibility in the eyes of an increasingly cynical public – and do good for the world at the same time!

We’ve talked to Beyond Type 1, a California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to uniting the global diabetes community and educating about what it means to live with chronic illness. Beyond Type 1’s Community Manager Mary Lucas shares insights into the organization’s influencer marketing strategy.

What was your biggest operational challenge that you aimed to solve with the use of InfluencerDB’s Influencer Community Management Software?

We needed a way to organize and keep track of the influencers we work with. We also are looking to find new social influencers who might be a good fit to work with in the future.

Previously we had done a lot of organic work to find these folks, but we wanted something to streamline the process. Using the Influencer Community Management Software makes it really simple!

How do you collaborate with influencers and how do you see influencers helping your brand?

Influencer work is core to our brand. We use influencers to raise awareness of our nonprofit and for our mission – who we are, what we do, fundraising, programs, and more.

They also educate their followers about diabetes, participate in awareness campaigns on social media, and fundraise for the organization. They help us get important messages and information across about what it means to lead a life with diabetes. 



How do you think influencer marketing for NGOs differs from influencer marketing for commercial brands? What are the specific challenges in influencer marketing in nonprofits?

One of the main differences in influencer marketing for NGOs compared to commercial brands is the product they are promoting. Our influencers are talking about a disease they live with, and that draws them to our nonprofit for a very specific reason. There is a lot of heart in our influencers’ posts, which makes them incredibly genuine and special. We work with people who really believe in what they are sharing, and that is why they do it pro-bono.

Of course, the challenges also revolve around compensation, as some influencers, especially high-profile with very large followings, do expect payment even for nonprofit work.



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Has it been difficult for you to find genuine influencers in the past?

Because we work with a very specific type of person – someone who lives with Type 1 diabetes, whether it is themselves or a parent, sibling, friend, etc. – finding genuine influencers who are interested in our cause and want to help isn’t too difficult. However, it can be a challenge to find and engage the right higher-profile influencers or celebrities.

Influencer marketers report that influencer marketing has become more and more expensive over the past years. Do you foresee a challenge for NGOs here when it comes to budgets?

As a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, we’re in a unique position of finding influencers who work with us because of their dedication to improving the lives of people living with Type 1 diabetes. We do not offer compensation for posts.

Where do you see the biggest benefit in using InfluencerDB’s Influencer Community Management Software?

The software has been particularly useful in finding new influencers, getting to know more about our existing ones, and in organizing and categorizing everything. The social statistics are very useful for learning more about the people we work with now. We’re able to make decisions using data to determine which programs and campaigns might best fit each person’s audience.


Mary was diagnosed with Type 1 in 1998 at the age of seven and has been active in the Type 1 community ever since. A dedicated philanthropist, Mary and her family have raised over $15 million for Type 1 diabetes efforts. She started at Beyond Type 1 in July 2015 as the Community Manager. She has run the 2017 + 2018 TCS New York City Marathon with Beyond Type Run, raising over $16K. Mary attended Parsons the New School for Design in New York where she studied fashion design with a focus in Childrenswear and studied abroad at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

Prior to Beyond Type 1, Mary was a freelance designer and photographer, working most notably with Myabetic and Refinery29. She has also worked at Women’s Wear Daily, Fashionista, and Mel Ottenberg Studio. Check out more from Mary on her Instagram @MaryAlessandraa

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