Many times nonprofits and charity organizations struggle where to start their marketing campaigns. As a charitable organization you have a compelling story to share with the world. Something that really matters in the world and that should be the driving force behind your nonprofit marketing strategy. Focusing on your story creates even more passion for your cause from your staff, volunteers, members, and potential donors.
People love helping others, in fact in 2017 people in the United States gave to charities a whooping 410.02 billion, and in 2018 the amount again increased. In fact every year since 1977, with the exception of only 3 years, charitable donations have increased year over year.
As a non-profit organization you already know the importance of online fundraising for charities not only from your own website but also using the power of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
With radio advertising, tv commercials, in person fundraising, digital fundraising and managing all of this on top of social media it can seem overwhelming and like you are always just chasing after the trends with not enough time to focus on growing each platform. Even with little time there are ways to increase donations online even if you don’t hire a nonprofit marketing agency.
We all know basically everyone has a facebook account, but did you realize on average people have 5 or 6 social media accounts and are active on half of them normally. It is evident your target audience is in the digital world and leveraging the power of search engines and your story with your marketing plan you can be sure to increase online donations and even reoccurring monthly donations.
With all this in mind we realize many nonprofits lack the funding, budget, and staff to effectively increase their online marketing. There are great programs to help charities, including Google Grants, which could help you to new heights in your charity with Google donating ad spend to qualified organizations.
Here are Right Meow Digitals top 10 Nonprofit Marketing Strategy Tips in no particular order, yes they are all important.
1) Promote user-generated content campaigns
User-generated content (UGC) is simply having your users and fans create content for you. It empowers your users to craft content for your charity to help spread the message in their own words. And as they are making the content themselves it saves your non profit time and money. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over other forms of advertising.
The ideas are endless when it comes to what to ask your users to generate for you. It can be asking for a short Youtube video on why they love your mission, the impact your organization has had on them, or it could be fun images like “Christmas out logo” or “Spookify our logo” where users use photo editing tools to add a splash of the holidays to your logo, or even a selfie with an item representing your non-profit or holding the email saying thanks for contributing.
You could even test the waters of boosting your reach by running monthly contests where the user who generates the most views etc is listed on your site as the Charities Ambassador of the month. People love recognition, especially for doing something good for an organization they care deeply about.
2) Know Your Donors
Knowing your donors is no different than knowing your customers on the for-profit side of things. To effectively market your mission you have to know who the people who donate to you are, otherwise how will you market effectively to them? Dive into the persona of the person who donates and understand what inspires them, what motivates them, etc. and use this information to help guide your content.
3) Tell your story and mission visually
Telling your story and mission is important and is what will help create emotional connections with your potential donors. This should not only be blog posts and social media posts but also videos, images, memes, graphics etc. According to Hubspot visuals are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than simple text.
One easy way to get started with video is to ask your volunteers, staff, and fundraisers to make 1-2 minute testimonial videos on why they love your organization and the impact it’s having or could have. You don’t have to break the bank creating these videos either. To start simply using a cell phone or video camera in a quiet well lit room will work just fine!
4) Stay in contact with your subscribers AND donors
You should be using email drip campaigns, email blasts, text messaging, and even hand written letters to stay in touch with your donors and subscribers. As the data suggests 73% of donors only donate one time. Staying constantly on your donors minds and informing them of the good their donations do is a great way to boost people donating more than once to your charity organization.
But pay attention to who you’re emailing or texting. You shouldn’t be sending the same email every time to a person who simply signed up to your list verses someone who is already a monthly donor. While of course these email blasts and texting blasts to everyone have their place you should also segment your list so you’re communicating the right message to each subscriber.
Set up an automatic “New Subscriber” email campaign. According to Mailchimp 88% of organizations don’t send ANY welcome emails and 37% don’t send a single email to subscribers in the first 30 days. People are the most highly engaged with your mission right after the sign up so don’t miss out and let their engagement and passion drop off by not sending them a welcome campaign.
You should also have campaigns to previous donors who haven’t donating in x amount of days, and test having early birthday campaigns where you remind the subscriber of your charity and that for their birthday they can ask friends to donate to your organization on facebook, which is gaining in popularity.
Also the pen is strong in the digital age. Not printing that looks like handwriting (yes we can all tell) and not printing a letter where someone simply fills in the name by hand. Writing a quick thank you card to your donors can really draw them in, make a lasting impression, increase loyalty, and increase donor retention. These can be simple where you set aside a little time each week for your volunteers and staff to hand write thank you cards to mail out.
5) Make sure you donation page is branded
We all know branding matters. The data suggestions especially when it comes to charity donation pages. Data shows that a branded donation page versus a standard non branded page raises nearly $15,000 more and collects 5 times more gifts.
Be sure to utilize the same or similar copy and images used in your email requests, social media requests, etc. Crafting a branded donation page that matches the look and feel of the marketing material used to get the user to the donation page creates a seamless donor experience and helps sustain their engagement and emotional connection while filling out their donation info.
6) Test, test, test.
Testing is important in all forms of marketing. It is the easiest to test digitally. When you find a campaign that is working you should try some A/B tests to see if changing a few words, the color, an image, a video, etc increases or decreases your goals. It is important to remember to only test 1 small change at a time so that you can confidently connect the test to a specific area of your messaging.
7) Keep everyone updated
As a non-profit charity you need donors. Making it very clear to the world how your donations are used, your financial information, and any progress in certain drives is vital. Never try to hide any of this information and make it super easy for everyone to find. The problem with financial statements and the reports made from them, is that they are ugly, wordy, and normally written in words not used by the majority of your donors. Obviously make these boring reports available but also use the information contained in them to make jaw dropping, or at least easy to digest, visual images. He easier your info is to digest the better conversions you will have.
You can utilize something that everyone is familiar with like a report card to update quarterly, or a paint by number partly filled in representing the progress of a special campaign, and even super easy to understand pie charts. The easier to understand and the more visualizing appealing data has a much better chance of being shared by your subscribers and donors.
8) Have a marketing plan for your nonprofit
Marketing plans aren’t just for large fundraising, franchisee marketing, or start up non profits. Having a simple but documented marketing plan helps keep the entire organization, board members, staff, and volunteers, on the same page working towards the same goal. We know creating a marketing plan sounds like one of the most boring and time consuming task you can do when you have a million other things that need to be done. But taking a few hours out of your day and creating even a simple 1 page plan will certainly pay for itself, saving hours and hours of wasted efforts and split efforts working towards different goals.
9) Social Media
Get on social media. Let your trusted volunteers and staff post on your social media accounts utilizing your non-profit charity marketing plan. This helps your social media stay constantly updated and your donors updated on the behind the scenes with no additional payroll funding needed.
On your Facebook page make sure you get and use the “Donate Now” button. While simple it is often overlooked but it gives your visitors a super easy to see and understand call to action. Also utilize live streaming when possible, like behind the scenes at events, or setting up an office etc. Facebook live videos get 6 times the interactions as a standard Facebook video.
Keep your Instagram posts and stories flowing. While many complain that instagram stories are just Snapchat for Instagram, the data paints a different story. Instagram stories have over 400 million users day, more than double Snapchats entire platform.
Consider hosting live Twitter chats where you allow users to ask questions while you answer in real time, whether it’s from a certain member of the organization, or a celebrity endorser, thi can be a great way to spread your message across Twitter.
In all social media remember to use Hashtags! Hashtags are how your posts are found by new people that may have never heard of you before. Use hashtags that are more generalized in addition to your specific organization hashtags (if you have any) This allows for a broader reach. And as all things in marketing make sure the hashtags connect to what you are posting and test using different hashtags.
Try to reach out to local social media influencers (micro-influencers) to your cause. Tagging, tweeting, or emailing are great ways to grab the attention of a local social media influencer and let them know you would love to talk to them and why you think your organization aligns with what they are doing.
10) Apply for Google for Nonprofits
Google for Nonprofits are a set of Google tools that nonprofits who qualify can apply for and use free of charge. They include:
Google Ad Grants, Youtube Nonprofit Program, G Suite for Nonprofits, Google Earth Outreach, and Google One Today. With these platforms your organization can have access to unlimited email addresses, video chats, advertising money, special Youtube cards for your videos, fundraising, mobile apps, and visualization and mapping of your supporters and your charity's impact.
If you need further help with marketing for your non-profit charity click here to discuss Google Grants management.