Snapchat’s recent swell in adult users suggests the video-messaging app is not just for teens anymore. But should your nonprofit venture into the Snapchat’s rising pool of users?

Social media analysts say the app is on the verge of reaching its ‘mom moment,’ the point at which it takes off among a mainstream audience. While millennials and generation Z have dominated Snapchat’s user base since its launch in 2011, experts point out that social media platform fledglings typically soar when they reach around 15 percent of adult Internet users. Snapchat reached 15 percent of all adult users in 2015, and experts predict it will become popular among the 35-55 age group by September.

Snapchat streamlines sharing to photo and video ‘Snaps’ viewed from one to 10 seconds and collections of Snaps called ‘Stories’ viewed for 24 hours. Visual posts have already become the most valuable currency on Facebook, and Snapchat may soon surpass the social media giant at daily video views. Snapchat reached 6 billion daily video views by Nov. 2015, tripling from that May.

Snapchat’s emphasis on visual sharing and surge in growth presents huge potential to connect with your audience and share your mission. But nonprofits would be wise to assess how the app fits into their social media strategy before signing up. Here are four initial questions to ask your nonprofit before joining Snapchat:

  1. Does my nonprofit have an audience on Snapchat?

Snaps are sent directly to friends and followers, so you will need to assess whether your nonprofit audience is already on Snapchat. Unlike Facebook that allows nonprofits to curate a wall of perennially viewable content, Snaps disappear once sent. You can gain friends and followers over time, but aim to start with a solid audience to make the most of this platform.

Nonprofits should have a clear understanding that their audience uses Snapchat, and you can discover this through audience surveys, focus groups and demographic research. Beyond audience analysis, download the app on a phone that has your nonprofit contacts and Snapchat will find your friends. Once you connect with your audience, create a unique Snapcode so new friends can easily add you by taking a picture of your profile ‘ghost.’

The Snapcode for the President and the White House.

The Snapcode for the President and the White House.

  1. Does my nonprofit have the capacity for one-on-one messaging?

While you can send Snaps and Stories to an unlimited number of friends in your contact list, Snapchat thrives on personal messaging. If you get Snaps from your friends, you should have the bandwidth to cultivate relationships with responses.

The nonprofit giant DoSomething hired a ‘Snapmaster’ who creates content for thousands of followers and responds to the hundreds of unique Snaps daily. While DoSomething’s scale is huge, smaller nonprofits will want to make sure they have staff time to dedicate to the app.

  1.  Does my nonprofit have the capacity to constantly create visual content?

Snapchat literally disappears photos and video, so engaging your following means continuously producing original content. Some larger nonprofits have found great success with a visual campaigns, but developing high-level content in high quantity will demand a dedicated content curator. Many users instead leverage the ephemerality of posts to Snap informal videos and photos, such as nonprofit volunteers in action. Regardless if you develop formal or informal content, your nonprofit should be ready for a high-maintenance platform.

DoSomething's 'Snapmaster' Bryce Mathias had fun with a goofy visual campaign.

DoSomething’s Snapmaster Bryce Mathias had fun with a goofy visual campaign.

  1. Can my nonprofit do without analytics to track engagement?

Snapchat does not release analytics, which presents a unique conundrum for many nonprofits who rely on stats to track engagement. You can see how many people viewed your stories, opened your SMS texts and took screenshots on Snapchat. But to some extent, you will also have to trust the power of ephemeral content. Experts say Snaps are more personal and generate greater attention because they are fleeting.

Have you answered ‘yes’ to these four questions? If so, stick around in March for Snapchat Part 2 on the top four ways for nonprofits to use Snapchat.