Historically, the majority of nonprofit organizations have relied upon a small, but strong, local foot-print to drive their mission and keep the vision going. All of this changed with the advent of the internet and even more recently as social media has infiltrated our everyday lives.
Marketing nonprofit organizations brings its own unique challenges, namely, creating a compelling story in a digital world. Some nonprofits do a great job of this, just think of puppies scrolling by as Sarah McLachlan sings, “In the Arms of an Angel.” But, other attempts flounder.
Great marketing tugs at the audience’s heartstrings and compels them to act. Organizations that are struggling with getting that story built or distributed to the right audience doesn’t have to go through the process alone. The Your Business Marketer team knows how to appeal to donors and positively impact the overall mission of a nonprofit.
Nonprofit Marketing Tools
Digital marketing tools have made leaps and bounds in recent years, making quality content available to all organizations regardless of budget. This shift, along with the ability to get in front of larger audiences, has helped smaller nonprofits step beyond their soapbox. These new channels offer the potential for exponential growth. Here are a few tools to consider:
- Demographic data via Google Adwords or Facebook Ads
- Email marketing tools like Hubspot or MailChimp
- Social media management tools such as Hootsuite or SproutSocial
- Content creation tools like Canva or Visual.ly
These five are just the tip of the iceberg. Niche specific tools make geeking out on analytics or content marketing easier than ever. Where many nonprofits struggle is in adapting a variety of these tools to an overall strategy. Some could stand alone, but there is no “one ring to rule them all” in digital marketing. That is why many choose to partner with an experienced team as they look to grow their organization.
Any business, regardless if they reside in the for-profit or nonprofit sector, should start with branding. For-profit companies have a little more wiggle room and can develop branding as they go, mostly because their product or service will dictate how a message is conveyed.
Nonprofits, on the other hand, must have clear branding right out the gate. This is largely due to the fact that nonprofit branding is almost solely based on storytelling. Every nonprofit has a mission: a greater good that they are trying to bring to the world. How effectively that story is conveyed can make or break the bottom line. Once identified, the brand story is a living and breathing entity that will inevitably evolve as the organization grows.
Traditionally, branding was a driving force for fundraising and membership growth. However, more nonprofits are starting to shift their branding outside of this confined methodology, pushing for their brand to create lasting impact on long-term social goals. This evolution began with the most well known nonprofits and has filtered down to smaller organizations across the world.
Marketing Lessons for Nonprofits
Having to build a brand and effectively communicate that with your audience is no small task. With so many moving parts, it can start to seem overwhelming, especially if you have not needed a dedicated marketing strategy in the past. Here are a few lessons to help get you started.
Understand Your Donors
Donors are buyers, point blank, and each person is driven by a different emotional response. The best creative marketing will connect with more than one persona to maximize reach and effectiveness. Consider including analytics in your messaging for donors driven by hard numbers. After all, most people want to know the money that they have donated is making an impact.
If you want a list of other “buyer” personas, check out this recent blog from the YBM team.
Perfect Visual Storytelling
Marketing has always revolved around some aspect of visual storytelling, but it has been thrust into the spotlight through the rise of social media. Few social platforms prioritize text based content. The biggest—Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok—provide users an opportunity to leverage visual storytelling to millions of other people around the world. Video has quickly become the king of content and resources should be devoted to using this medium to spotlight your organization and drive website traffic.
Mix Organic and Paid Advertising
A sound social media strategy should include both organic or paid advertising. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. Think of organic as adopting a pet parrot: it will require a tremendous amount of patience and it will be there your entire life but you will have a dedicated companion as your mission grows. Paid, on the other hand, is more akin to goldfish. They are flashy, but the turnover can be high. With both, perfecting the message along with consistency is critical.
You’re Either Mobile-First, or You’re Last
We have all encountered those clunky out of date websites that make things harder to find than your grandpa’s junk drawer. Taking a mobile-first approach will help those interested find your organization more easily, as well as funneling donors to the information that they need once they reach your website. Nonprofit organizations that have outdated websites are regularly seen as red flags, deterring would-be contributors and derailing a fundraising effort.
Begin to Love Analytics
Data is just as valuable as amazing content in the marketing world. The faster you accept that truth, the better you will be able to effectively communicate to your audience. The great news is that most platforms provide robust data that can be dissected to your heart’s content. Once analyzed, that data should direct your marketing efforts moving forward, allowing you the flexibility to pivot when needed.
Nonprofit Marketing Services
If you made it this far in the article, it is clear that you are dedicated to investing in a well-rounded marketing strategy. Many nonprofit organizations test these waters alone, only to find out that the resources needed to manage and deploy a successful campaign are overwhelming.
Rather than abandon hope, turn to a trusted source. The Your Business Marketer team has been helping nonprofit organizations build their brand and create a compelling story for years. Whether you are looking for content, SEO, or paid advertising to help your mission grow, our dedicated team is here to help. Give us a call at 800-499-1996 or visit the YBM website to learn more.