Top Strategies for Nonprofit Marketing
Growing your nonprofit is not easy–it takes solid nonprofit marketing strategies to build awareness of your cause and generate more donations from new and existing donors.
If you work at or own a nonprofit organization, then you know effective marketing can be a real challenge. Most nonprofits are juggling multiple objectives, including:
- Reaching new donors who will support the cause and donate money
- Attracting those who need the services of the nonprofit
- Keeping the nonprofit’s board members happy
- Minimizing costs so that majority of donations go towards advocacy
- Writing and publishing content on social media for awareness of the cause and engagement with donors
To achieve these objectives and navigate the nuances of nonprofit marketing, apply these strategies for the best results.
“Always begin with the end in mind” – Dr. Stephen R. Covey
Develop your nonprofit’s marketing strategy
If you don’t know where you are going, you can’t see how far down the road you are. Therefore, the first step is to determine your marketing strategy, or goals. Avoid generalities such as “increase fundraising” and get very specific about what you want to accomplish. This is where the term “SMART” goal comes into play. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound. Next, determine what marketing tactics, or actions, you will employ to achieve your goals.
When developing your marketing tactics, think like a marketer! The best marketers always start with research. First, think about your target audience, think about who already supports your organization, and what audiences you haven’t reached yet but would be interested in your cause. Creating personas can bring life to your target audiences and help guide marketing communications specific to each audience segment. If you haven’t already, study the results of your past digital marketing campaigns, content marketing initiatives, and fundraising campaigns.
Learn from the results by reviewing why the campaign performed that way and what can be improved. Looking at what other nonprofits are doing to raise money is also an excellent source of information. Obviously, every nonprofit is different, but there are effective marketing lessons to be learned in examining the success (and failures) of others. Use your research to create a new campaign that helps you to meet your goals. Consider the hurdles that might stand in the way of achieving your goals and how you will address them.
After implementing new tactics, keep a close eye on your results. Give each tactic time to succeed, but if you don’t see results in a reasonable timeframe, don’t be afraid to adjust your marketing efforts.
“Behind every brand is a story.”
Create your Brand Voice
A Brand Voice guide is essential to the success of any nonprofit. The Brand Voice guide is a tool that everyone in the organization can use when communicating internally and externally about your projects. The most effective Brand Voice guides contain the story of the organization as you might tell it to a friend–free of buzzwords, hashtags, and industry jargon. The guide should include insights into your brand voice, and how you want to describe your nonprofit. Is there a personal aspect to the founding of the non-profit? Include that! Readers are drawn to and will remember emotional stories. The Brand Voice guide will inform all of your nonprofit organization’s communications, messaging, marketing, and fundraising efforts.
Polish your Website
Your website speaks volumes about your nonprofit, so make sure you start with a professional homepage. The homepage is your digital welcome and should include compelling content to raise awareness of your cause and attract potential donors. Information about your nonprofit’s story and how you fundraise should be front and center on the website. Include infographics where possible to provide a unique and attractive way to make complex information easy to understand. Provide a donate button to give users a quick opportunity to donate, as well as an option to become a subscriber and join an email list for more information. Always use the best hosting that your nonprofit can afford as you want your website to be up consistently and for pages to load quickly.
Your site must be mobile-friendly so that anyone who comes to your website, regardless of what device they are using, can quickly navigate to the information they need. Your website should be easy to understand, with the headers and footers replicated on each page so that users know what to expect. Create an easy-to-use navigation menu allowing users to get to your site’s most essential pages in 1 or 2 clicks. Make the donation page easy to find and include an option to leave a testimonial.
Choose photos that will have an emotional impact on your target audience. Use high-quality photos of real people whenever possible, and skip the stock photos.
“Content is king” – Bill Gates
Create Quality Content
Bill Gates said that “Content is king” back in 1988 but it still rings true today. High-quality, timely content for your website and social posts is critical to your content marketing plan. Focus on creating relevant content that your users are likely to search for and will want to see. Content also provides a unique opportunity to connect with your audience by sharing emotional stories that will encourage donations. People need to see and feel the heart behind your nonprofit’s cause. When you provide that perspective, people are more compelled to give.
High-quality content drives web traffic and is critical to building your organic search engine optimization (SEO). Remember to make your content work for you by including keywords. Start by developing a list of every possible keyword that someone might use to find your organization. Free tools such as Keywords Everywhere can provide insights into additional search strings. Then, start building your content strategy for your nonprofit around those keywords. You want to include keywords naturally, as part of the content on your website and blogs.
One of the easiest ways to add more content to your landing pages is to include testimonials. Whether the testimonial is from a donor or from someone who has benefitted from your nonprofit’s efforts, including a short testimonial and photo is a powerful way to show the impact your nonprofit has made.
Grow your Social Media
When using social media platforms, know your target audience and entice them to interact with your content to amplify your reach. What social media platforms does your audience use? It could be Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Tik Tok, or Snapchat. Identifying where your audience is spending their online time helps you focus your limited time and budget in the right places.
Wherever you decide to post, be consistent in your templates and your frequency. Use your Brand Voice guide to align your messaging with your brand. Create unique hashtags that are easy to remember so that your followers can add them to their posts about your cause. Make it easy for new supporters to donate to your cause from within the social media channels by including links, calls to action, and even birthday fundraisers.
If you need a growth hack for your social media, try a collaboration with a brand your non-profit partners with and that shares your same audience. It’s a great way to tap into new networks and grow your followers.
Capitalize on your social media marketing and outreach by engaging with your audience when they comment or share one of your posts. People will appreciate the follow-up.
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Take Advantage of PPC for Free
Write your nonprofit organization’s grant proposal so that you can qualify for free pay-per-click (PPC) advertising from Google and Microsoft. While educational institutions can’t apply for Google Ad grants, the company does offer a unique program called Google for Education.
Once qualified, your nonprofit organization will have money to spend on digital marketing–just as if you had put money into your account yourself! You can design the ads in any way you want, so be sure that you are continually testing new PPC ads to see which ones bring in the best results.
Create Inspiring and Emotional Videos
Inspirational videos are a great tool that should be a part of every marketing and fundraising strategy for nonprofits. People connect with personal stories, so take every opportunity to not only share the impact your nonprofit organization makes but also the lives you touch. The emotional stories of triumphs and tragedies are often what make the difference in a fundraising campaign.
Videos can be shared on websites and social media channels. It’s easy to increase the number of people seeing your video by sharing it on YouTube, one of the world’s largest search engines. You may even want to create your own YouTube channel where you can organize videos into playlists and post new content frequently. When posting to YouTube, be sure to weave your keywords into your descriptions so that YouTube knows when to display your video. One of the best things you can do to increase your viewership is to create an intriguing hook that will entice your donors to want to learn what you have to say.
Consider an Automation Tool to Streamline Donor Management
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool can help you manage outbound marketing efforts. Providers, such as HubSpot, provide tools for social media marketing, content management, web analytics, landing pages, customer support, and search engine optimization. Another option for nonprofit organizations is Auxilia’s donor management platform. Designed to be user-friendly, Auxilia enables non-profits to accept payments, track donations, schedule events, and host fundraisers.
An effective marketing strategy will result in increased fundraising and a stronger base of followers. Using these strategies will help build the foundation for your success.