3 Nonprofit Digital Marketing Tactics (Ideas, Tips, and Tools)
December 7, 2021
With over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S., the nonprofit sector has developed into a noisy and saturated marketplace.
Although many are worthy causes, it’s still a competitive landscape to rally donors and volunteers. And most often, there are common challenges that plague nonprofits —insufficient funding, lack of engagement, and shortage of qualified staff.
With a little bit of strategy, digital marketing efforts offer powerful solutions to these challenges and empower nonprofits.
3 Nonprofit Digital Marketing Tactics
Digital marketing efforts run a vast gamut ranging from easy to complex.
Before jumping in, it’s important to understand what digital marketing is. Digital marketing is the exchange of value between two parties, through online media channels.
For a deeper understanding: Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing
The most common tactics that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing include: Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Video Marketing, Marketing Automation, Email Marketing, and Influencer Marketing.
We’ve narrowed that list down 3 tactics that have the potential to influence nonprofit organizations in monumental ways. Content Marketing, Video Marketing, and Email Marketing.
1. Content Marketing
Content Marketing is the process of producing and publishing digital content that adds value to your audience while raising awareness for your business/organization.
This tactic is extremely important for nonprofit organizations due to the opportunities it offers to share their stories, capture emotions, and rally public interest in their causes.
The type of content that an organization produces should always align with their desired objectives. For nonprofits, if raising awareness and increasing donor acquisition is the goal, the content should be meaningful to effectively connect with the desired audience.
“Producing meaningful content should inspire your audience, provoke emotion, and generate action.”
Content Marketing Examples:
- Long-form blog posts (2,000+ words)
- Case studies
- Social media posts
- White papers
- Trends analyses
- Video series
The list doesn’t have to stop there though. Essentially, content can include any digital asset – just as long as its purpose is to add value to your target audience.
Check out how this 501(c) organization, Back to the Bible, offers a comprehensive 21-Day Bible Reading Challenge to their audience. This content offers a direct solution to searchers looking for devotional plans.
✔️ Valuable content
✔️ Aligns with organization’s mission
✔️ Matched user intent
✔️ Smooth user experience
How to Distribute Content:
- Leverage your website and social media channels to execute the distribution of your strategically curated content.
- Frequently update your website’s blog to tell your visitors that they should come back for valuable resources.
- Utilize your social media profiles to offer your followers quick easily-digestible content that keeps them engaged.
Allowing your website and social media profiles to work in tandem offers your organization the best foundation for acquiring and retaining supporters, and ultimately, driving profitable action. Use social media to generate leads and your website to push conversions.
“For best results, distribute valuable, relevant, and consistent content.”
Advanced Content Marketing Tips:
- Perform keyword research to curate specific content that your target audience is searching for.
- Boost SEO by creating quality, engaging, and relevant content that reflects your authority in your field.
- Use gated content to gain contact information and grow your email list.
- Produce evergreen content that holds authority on a topic and remains relevant regardless of how much time passes.
- Update older content with relevant information (i.e. statistics and industry trends), and repurpose content by using different mediums to engage your audience.
2. Video Marketing
Although video content can naturally fall under content marketing, as internet trends change, prioritizing video becomes increasingly important to nonprofit digital marketing strategies.
Video marketing is the use of video to promote one’s brand on digital channels.
Nonprofit organizations should leverage video content to tell stories of the ministry’s impact, reach fundraising goals, increase mobilization numbers, and spread awareness of the cause — all while evoking empathy.
If producing meaningful content is meant to inspire your audience, provoke emotion, and generate action, then what better way to do that than through video?
According to a Google survey featured on Fast Company, 57% of people who watch a video for a nonprofit then proceed to make a donation.
Let’s hear the facts:
According to a list of shocking video statistics by WebFX –
- Adults are spending up to five hours a day watching videos.
- Brand awareness increases by 140% after watching a video.
- 92% of video consumers will share that video with others.
- 80% of Internet users remember a video ad seen in the previous 30 days.
On the flip side –
- 62% of people will have a negative image of a brand if the video is bad quality.
- 4 out of 5 users will navigate away from the page if it takes too long to load.
It’s no secret that consumer behavior leans in favor of video content, but it also holds the power to negatively affect a brand if there’s no execution. A high-quality organization needs to produce high-quality videos.
If done correctly, video content can communicate a nonprofits purpose and vision better than any article ever could. The facts show that videos are more memorable and generate actionable results more effectively.
Video Marketing Examples:
- Behind the scenes
- Event highlights
- Stories and testimonial
- Vision casting
- Campaign launch
- Conference/speech openers
- Brand video
As long as the concept reinforces your goals, there is no limit to the type of video content an organization could produce.
In efforts to pivot to a virtual fundraising event format, during COVID-19, our team produced a conference opener video for Cru Inner City.
✔️ High-production value
✔️ Brings awareness to the cause
✔️ Short and concise
✔️ Narration without sounding scripted
How to Distribute Video:
- Website – Integrate throughout your written content to retain visitor’s attention.
- Social Media – Strategically target people, on different platforms, with specific content.
- Email – Increase click-through rates, conversions, and brand awareness by capturing attention.
- Vimeo – Allows you to embed your videos on different platforms.
- YouTube – The second most popular search engine. Leverage for SEO efforts.
These distribution platforms can be used in isolation or in conjunction with one another. However, it is recommended that a mix of distribution channels are used to deliver the most comprehensive approach to reaching one’s target audience.
“Rule of thumb: Post where your audience is and where you want them to be.”
Advanced Video Marketing Tips:
- Develop a video strategy to effectively tell your nonprofit’s story.
- Write a script to avoid missing your video’s point and losing your audience’s attention.
- Use clear call-to-actions at the end of your videos to tell your audience what to do next. Want them to donate? Tell them where they can do that.
- Outsource an agency to ensure high-quality video execution.
3. Email Marketing
Now that the audience is captivated and inspired by the cause, how will a nonprofit keep them engaged? How are those leads going to be nurtured?
Email marketing is the use of email to promote an organization while building loyalty, trust, or brand awareness. Its purpose is to maintain relationships, a critical aspect in the nonprofit sector.
Often, since people have to opt in to emails by providing their email address, there is already a level of investment into the organization. Capitalize on their interest by meeting them where they’re already at — their inbox.
- Grow a loyal donor base
- Expand reach
- Raise more donations
Email Marketing Examples:
- Welcome emails
- Confirmation emails
- Gated content
- Organization updates and news
- Offer emails
- Lead nurturing
- Promotional videos
Nonprofit agency, WWF, leveraged their email marketing by sparking thought and calling for urgency using this poignant letter.
Email Distribution Tools:
- MailChimp – Create personalized email sequences and schedule for automatic sending. Includes customizable design templates.
- Hubspot – Easy to use software to design, optimize, and send email campaigns.
- MailerLite – Offers personalized email automation, advanced segmentation, and A/B testing.
Choosing the right distribution channel depends on budget size, but most platforms offer trials and free basic plans. It is highly recommended that nonprofits use a system/software that allows them to organize their email lists and deliver personalized, timely, and quality information to their audience.
Read for comprehensive list: Top 40 Free Email Marketing Tools for 2021
Advanced Email Marketing Tips:
- Use segmentation to create different email lists for the varying connections people have with your organization.
- Include links to your website and social media buttons to prompt further involvement.
- Test your subject lines and preview text with TestSubject to see how mobile-users will view your email.
- Measure email performance by analyzing engagement metrics that show what works and what needs improvement.
The Bottom Line
Investing in digital marketing tactics has the power to increase funding, rally engagement, and step in for where staffing lacks.
The nonprofit sector varies in resources and abilities to execute new initiatives, but implementing digital marketing tactics is the key to surviving in the digital age. Producing valuable content and effectively distributing it should be on top of the priority list.