While a nonprofit might not exist with the intent to make its leaders rich, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be run like a business. Some tactics might be different, sure, but at the end of the day your goal is to further the nonprofit's mission - and a large part of that is through getting the business in more people’s field of view. And how do you do that? That same way you would for a traditional business: marketing.
In order to continue growing the company and moving it toward its goals, it’s crucial that you have a comprehensive nonprofit marketing plan put together that is designed to get the organization moving in the right direction. Let’s talk about how.
While a lot of not for profit marketing might seem to focus a ton of social media marketing and search engine optimization, the truth is that a traditional email list can be an incredibly valuable tool for a Nonprofit.
You should start to prioritize building out an email list as quickly as possible - preferably with people that care a good deal about the nonprofit’s mission. It takes some initial investment of time and resources in order to get such a list off of the ground, but after you have a decent base you have an incredibly effective marketing tool - both in terms of cost and potential reach. It might take a little bit to craft the perfect email, but the investment in that case is a few man hours rather than paying out for a sponsored post or other advertisement.
There are a variety of ways that you can use email to your advantage. Keep volunteers updated on the current status of projects, or even kick off a new fundraising campaign with a simple message to potentially thousands of people’s inboxes.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that email can also harm a company nearly as much as it helps, and the main way that happens is through going overboard. No one wants 10+ emails a month from the same nonprofit, so you should ideally limit your correspondence to a few times a week. Consumers are resistant to marketing, and your nonprofit’s more noble goal doesn’t necessarily exempt it from overreaching with promotional materials.
While we just spent a good amount of time talking about how email is so great, it’s really only a single part of the equation. Unfortunately, a good nonprofit marketing plan can’t just focus on one avenue and call it a day. You’re going to have to tackle growth from a number of different angles if you want to keep seeing success on a regular basis.
There’s no denying the immense impact that social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have had on our daily lives. With billions of people around the world using these services, there is a huge amount of potential for a nonprofit to spread their message and connect with potential donors, volunteers, and supporters.
Spending time to build out a good social media presence with relevant promotional materials and keeping it regularly updated is a key part of online marketing for nonprofits. Many people, especially those who are younger, are spending more time on social networks and less time doing web searches. Any business, including a nonprofit, will have to meet these demographics where they happen to be rather than expecting them to materialize where the company already is.
Social media can also play a big part in improving the exposure of your website as well. Adding social media sharing buttons into key web pages takes just a few lines of code, but allows you to take advantage of the passion of your current visitors in order to drive more potential supporters to your online presence.
While having increased brand awareness may be a huge benefit to online marketing for nonprofits, the fact remains that many nonprofits are incredibly reliant on donations in order to keep the business running. Taking some time to make sure that the donation page is well-designed and optimized in a way to maximize conversions is one of the most important parts of growing a nonprofit.
There are some really simple things that make a huge difference. On the donation page itself, it’s important that the donation interface be quick and to the point. If people have already navigated to your donation tab, chances are that they have pretty good intentions of contributing toward your cause. The last thing you want to do at this point is bombard them with walls of text giving information that they don’t need in that moment. With a well-designed donation page that makes it easy to offer support, a nonprofit can see a huge return on their efforts with minimal investment.
Another important aspect to consider when designing the donation page is the importance of offering a recurring donation. Many people are willing in the moment to commit to a few dollars a month, and chances are that they won’t notice the money missing from their account at the end of the period. For a nonprofit with hundreds or thousands of small monthly recurring donations, however, these forgotten charges can make up a significant portion of a nonprofit’s income.
Long story short, make the donation process as easy as possible and incentivize monthly donations. That steady stream of donations can make all the difference when it comes to keeping the company stable.
There are a variety of ways that you can approach online marketing for nonprofits, but just as it is for traditional businesses, a huge part of what keeps a nonprofit relevant is producing content on a regular basis.
Chances are that you have a mission that you’re passionate about, so why not take every opportunity to provide valuable articles, emails, infographics, and more about what makes the nonprofit so great?
The exact algorithms behind Google’s search ranking system are anyone’s guess, but modern SEO practices make one thing clear: the search engine will regularly prioritize the site with more relevant and higher-quality content.
Building email lists, keeping active on social media, and optimizing donations are an important part of a marketing plan, but when you cut to the chase the missing piece is just staying active and publishing content.
Relying on a team of creators - such as a nonprofit advertising agency - to keep your nonprofit supplied with attractive and effective material can sometimes seem expensive, but it’s one of the most effective ways to continue the growth of your nonprofit both now and long into the future.
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