Getting heard in a crowded digital world is a challenge for everyone. Nonprofits with limited resources can find this especially challenging. Here are some digital marketing tips you can use to help you get your message out to your audience.
Tell Your Story
You know what makes your nonprofit organization unique. When you meet someone in person, what do you tell them about your organization? When someone visits your website or social media profiles, you want to convey that same passion to get them involved. Saying too little can leave people wondering what you’re all about; saying too much can cause information overload. Start with considering who your ideal audience is and how your organization encourages them to get involved. Then make your story a regular feature in your digital marketing strategy. People like to hear about the good you do in the community. How about starting by showcasing a success story each quarter?
Know Your Audience
One of the first steps defining or refining your digital marketing strategy is to identify your audience. Are you trying to appeal to volunteers, donors, clients, or all of the above? When you try to talk to everyone, no one hears you. The key is creating relevant content for your very specific audience. Create content that resonates with all audience types or for specific campaigns you want to implement.
If you’re trying to find people who are passionate about your nonprofit, hang out where they are! Sure that might mean in person, but that also means online! What social platforms you decide to focus on could depend on who your audience is. If you’re looking for younger volunteers you might have more luck on social platforms like Instagram or Snapchat where younger generations dominate. If you’re trying to appeal to donors, Facebook lets you create fundraisers to support your cause.
Grow Your List
With all the buzz around social media, it makes you wonder if email marketing is even worth your time. The answer is yes! On average, email marketing generates $38 for every $1 spent. Your email list is your owned traffic, meaning you can contact them directly. You should try to convert your organic (earned) traffic and advertising (paid) traffic to owned traffic (email list).
Those on your email list have requested to hear from you, and email gives you the opportunity to remind them why they should stay involved. You can also personalize emails for donors, supporters, volunteers, and clients depending on how you want them working with your organization.
A few things to consider when creating your email marketing campaigns:
- Keep your contact regular – Have a schedule in place so you become familiar and expected.
- Keep it short – You probably receive at least a couple of emails a day. So does your audience! Keeping your emails short and to the point helps ensure that they won’t get overlooked.
- Mobile-friendly – More email are opened and read on mobile devices than desktops. It’s important to consider how your email appears on mobile, not just on a desktop.
Don’t Neglect Your Website
Google shut down Google+ completely this year. This serves as a reminder that social media is rented land that you don’t have control over. That’s why it’s important to make your website, not social media the center of your digital marketing strategy. Use social media and email to promote the content on your website. How does your website appeal to clients? They will want to search for relevant content. What about donors? Potential donors will want to evaluate your website to see if they want to contribute to your cause. Do you make it easy to donate?
Plan then Execute
Creating content, emailing your list, posting to your website, and reaching out on social media can be daunting. Things go much better when you have a plan and a schedule! It’s OK and even recommended to use the same messaging across all your platforms. Create themes for your campaigns and content on a monthly or weekly basis. Then create your content.
Trying to come up with new content all the time can be really time consuming and keep you from other projects. Save yourself some time and effort by reusing evergreen materials you might have and creating templates for your content. Do you have any seasonal events? Use seasonal content to fill in any remaining holes in your plan.
Video isn’t just a useful trend for social media. You can also use screen recording to create training videos for your team.
Partner with Others
As a nonprofit, there are many opportunities to extend your reach by partnering with local businesses and organizations. Can you hold a fundraiser at a local store? Both organizations then promote one another on various platforms. A good choice would be a business that has an audience with similar characteristics to yours.
Locally, we have the TriCounty Network of nonprofit organizations that has a project called the Amazing Raise, a 24-hour giving challenge that brings together the TriCounty region’s (Montgomery, Northern Chester, Eastern Berks) nonprofit community to help raise funds and highlight the various nonprofit projects in the region.
There are also national events like Giving Tuesday, held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This charitable movement encourages people to get involved or donate to nonprofit organizations of their choice. Take advantage of the national advertising and awareness to plan a campaign for your local organization around this day.
If you’re searching for ways to promote your organization without spending a lot of money you should consider sponsorship. You can utilize sponsorship for the following:
- Have someone pay for your email marketing with a Newsletter sponsorship, and display their information at the bottom of your email campaigns.
- Website sponsors get their logo on your website, or their name on a feature. For example: “ABC Bank’s Adoptable Pet of the Week.”
- Campaign sponsors who give a matching donation to incentivize your donors.
Repetition is necessary to get your message across and ensure that your prospects remember you. What series of communications are necessary to maintain a relationship? Don’t forget to coordinate your campaign across all platforms and in-person. It’s not enough to put out a single email asking someone to join.
Don’t go to the other extreme however, and only send out content asking for money! Your goal is to be relevant, informative, or entertaining to your audience. The rule of thumb is 80% valuable content and 20% promotion.
Promote Your Events
Events are a great way to increase visibility for your cause. If you want to ensure that your events are successful it is important to promote them. Use email to get information out to people who have already shown interest in your organization. You can also create social media events and promote across platforms.
Whether you’re talking about email marketing or social media posts, it is important that your digital strategy is consistent. That is why a plan and calendar with a regular posting schedule is so important to getting traction.
A sample schedule might look like this:
- Blog post – one new one per month on the first Wednesday of every month
- Weekly email – every Thursday morning
- Facebook and Instagram – 3 posts per week on each platform
- Google Posts – 2x per month and to promote specific events
Accept Donations and Payments Online
So you’ve done it! Your audience is engaged, believes in your cause, and is ready to donate. You don’t want them to have to spend a lot of time searching for ways to contribute. It should be easy to contribute to your organization.
Here are a few different ways you can accept donations through social media, your website, and email marketing:
- Constant Contact Fundraising
- Facebook Donations Campaigns
- Instagram Stories Donation Sticker
Learn the Resources Available to You
There are many resources and discounts available to nonprofits online and in-person. The Google nonprofit program is free and includes things like G Suite for nonprofits, Google Ad Grants, and Google Donation Tools.
Take advantage of online tools that have discounted programs for nonprofits.The social media scheduler, Buffer, gives nonprofits a 50% discount on services. Nonprofits also get a 30% discount on email marketing services through Constant Contact.
Social media platforms like Facebook encourage charitable donation to your cause with projects like Facebook Social Good. Facebook Social Good lets you create a fundraiser for your cause and you don’t have to pay any fees!
You can also learn more by attending conferences geared for nonprofits.
In our area, I will be speaking on email marketing at Nonprofit University on June 10. Come check out the great day that is planned!