Digital Marketing for Non-Profits

Digital Marketing for Non-Profits

Digital marketing for non-profits is a strategic option you cannot ignore. More and more commerce is done online every year—and that is as true for non-profit commerce as it is for any business. You type commerce might be different—getting attention, attracting donors and sponsors, finding volunteers, expand your reach, and activate on your mission—but the importance of online interaction and transactions is huge.

Non-profit digital marketing is an effective and cost-effective way for your organization to financially prosper and fulfill its mission. The digital marketing tactics businesses use to build market share and earn profits have direct application to your organization. In this article, we will explore how you can harness your web site, search engine optimization, email marketing, and social media to reach your markets.

Your website.

The days when your website was your digital marketing are over, but that does not mean your website isn’t still important. If you haven’t looked at your site in the last five years, you need a redo. Make sure your website has:

Non Profit Website - Digital Marketing School
  • Clear: People need to know what you are about instantly. They need to understand how to navigate your site. It has to be easy for them to do what you want them to do.
  • Mobile ready: More people, especially younger people, live on their phones these days. Your site absolutely has to function on a smart phone.
  • Timely: Your content has to be fresh and relevant. A static old-fashioned “brochure-ware” site cannot perform in terms of donations and volunteers.
  • Interactive: Make it easy for visitors to engage, whether making a donation, signing up for updates, or connecting to events. If you have nothing for people to do on your site, you won’t collect contact information of supporters or donations.
  • Search engine optimized: No matter how great your website, if no one can find it, it can do you no good. Every page should be built and written with a clear understanding of SEO best practices (and we can help you there with SEO training).

You will find solid tips for building your website right here.

Content marketing.

 Content is the way you attract visitors, establish your credentials, convey your messages, and engage supporters. Once you have your website site up, populating it with as much quality content as possible should be your top goal for non-profit digital marketing. If your non-profit site is a primary of source of information in your mission area, you will attract the right kind of attention from the right kind of people.  Good content marketing has these qualities:

  • Relevance: Information that matters to your market of supporters is key to attracting attention. Keep an eye on trends and headlines for ideas that can link your expertise and point of view to what people care about now.
  • Trustworthiness: Make sure your content is correct, up-to-date, and supported by facts—links to reliable sources help establish trust as they boost your SEO. Avoid bias and sensationalism.
  • Accessibility: Make sure your content is easy to find (yes—we are talking SEO again) and easy to consume. Write concise and easy to understand copy. Include subheads, images, lists, and interactive tools to drive home your point.
  • Authenticity: Don’t regurgitate the work of others. Don’t rely on stock imagery. Create in your own voice using images that are yours. A real picture is better than a fancy one.
  • Engaging: Tell a story with words and images that grabs attention and motivates—then make sure there is a clear call to action.
Online Donations for Non-Profits

Online Donations:

Make it easy to donate right from your web site. Make it fast and easy by not making potential givers wade through tons of text or fill out complex forms. Make sure you are using the latest in secure payment technology so that donors can trust your site. Consider offering a few options such as a one-time gift or recurring monthly payment. Recurring payments are a great way to keep givers engaged. Don’t limit yourself to just one “donate” page. Consider creating tailored and targeted donate pages that match specific outreach campaigns and appeals.

Called “squeeze pages” on business sites, various customized donate pages can appeal to specific donor segments and specific calls to action. Include social media buttons to make sharing donor pages easy. Never forget to acknowledge each gift with a thank you. Suggest they share the news of their gift on their social networks—many people do, exposing your cause to more potential supporters.

Social Media: Social media is a sophisticated way to build support for your organization. It provides numerous benefits:

  • Get attention: Social media is a way to broadcast—and narrowcast—your message to the right people. If you are lucky, your message will go viral like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon of several years ago.
  • Tell your story: Posting updates and images allows you to add to your story all the time with all kinds of rich media.
  • Involve people: Because social media is inherently interactive, it is a great way to open relationships with potential supporters. Make sure you listen as much as you post and react to what people say.
  • Raise money: Many social media properties have facilitated ways to donate without people having to leave your page. Facebook, for example, has a quick process to set up fundraising right on your Facebook page.

You can find more social media non-profit marketing help here.

Email marketing. Email is one of the older, but still highly effective tools for non-profit digital marketing. Use it to stay in touch with supporters and donors, to expand your reach and find new backers, keep people informed, and promote interaction. Any old email message won’t get the job done. Email marketing is an art in itself. How it is constructed matters:

Email Marketing for Non-Profits
  • Keep previews in mind. Your subject and initial lines of text are all many people see. If it grabs them, they might open the email. Otherwise they hit delete.
  • Don’t frontload with images. They increase the email file size, inhibiting deliverability, and they make recipients scroll to get to your message.
  • Put the call to action at the top and the bottom. If it is only at the bottom, you’ll only catch those few people who read your entire email.
  • Test! Try and A and B versions—don’t try to guess what will work best. Send both to a subset of your email list and measure what happens. You might be surprised that your preferred version doesn’t do as well as you expect. If you test, you know—and then you can keep testing and refining. Like everything in digital marketing for non-profits, things are always changing, so we recommend you give yourself regular email training and training updates.

Treat your non-profit digital marketing efforts like a for-profit business. With a steady and businesslike approach to digital marketing for non-profits, your organization and your mission will prosper.

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