School of Communication and the Arts


Doctor of Philosophy


Wes Hartley


compliance gaining, persuasive communication, nonprofit strategic media




Non-profit organizations utilize social media platforms like Instagram to reach the community, fundraise, convey their mission and vision, establish themselves, and educate others. This study examined whether the communication artifacts of selected nonprofit organizations employed Cialdini's (2021) compliance-gaining strategies through an eight-week qualitative digital content analysis on Instagram to address the problem of understanding how non-profit organizations use Instagram tools to influence and persuade their audience. Compassion International (@compassion), CARE (@careorg), and Direct Relief (@directrelief), the three non-profit organizations chosen in this study, demonstrated the usage of Cialdini’s (2021) compliance-gaining strategies within their digital media communication strategy. Non-profit organizations operate in a highly competitive environment, with many organizations vying for attention and resources from donors and supporters. They must understand how to effectively use Instagram and compliance-gaining theory to influence and persuade their audience, ultimately increasing their impact and reach. How are these three non-profit organizations engaging and mobilizing their audience through this influence and persuasion to support their respective cause? Are there commonalities in how each non-profit organization is using Cialdini’s (2021) compliance-gaining framework? This study showed that the three non-profit organizations chosen effectively used Cialdini’s (2021) compliance-gaining framework on Instagram to influence and persuade their audience, while also contributing to the existing literature on social media marketing, compliance-gaining theory, and digital content analysis. The analysis provided valuable insights for communication professionals, marketers, and non-profit organizations seeking to create compelling social media campaigns.

Included in

Communication Commons