10 Awesome Marketing Ideas for Nonprofits
Finding new ways to reach volunteer and donor prospects can be challenging in the nonprofit marketplace. There are many nonprofits competing to catch the attention of your organization's prospects. In the U.S. alone, there are over 1.5 million nonprofits trying to gain exposure and live out their mission. How your organization plans and executes your marketing and exposure strategies could be the difference between creating sustainability for your nonprofit or not. Your organization needs to create a following and develop brand champions to represent your cause. Here are 10 awesome cost-efficient marketing ideas that can help your nonprofit cultivate a following and drive in new volunteer and donor prospects.
1. Leverage Your Nonprofits Existing Volunteer and Donor Database and CRM
If your nonprofit really wants to optimize your marketing campaigns for success, it is crucial to analyze your existing volunteer and donor database. Your organization can leverage your volunteer and donor data to identify relationship patterns that can be used to target similar prospects. Learning as much information about your organizations volunteers and donors can greatly improve campaign success. Data mining can help to create new competitive edges that your nonprofit has not leveraged in the past. Here are a few ways to use volunteer and donor data:
- Create personas based on your data.
- Better understand lead source success.
- See the entire prospect to volunteer or donor journey.
- Identify lead touchpoints and optimize process for success.
- Segment your database for targeted direct marketing.
2. Take Advantage of Google Grants If Your Nonprofit Is Eligible
There is nothing better, from a marketing standpoint, than receiving grant money to invest into your organizations advertising strategy. Google is providing qualified nonprofits with up to $10,000 a month in Google AdWords spend. This additional financial allocation can be used to bid on the keywords your prospects are searching for and place your nonprofits website link at the top of the search engine results page. If you are looking to pursue Google Grants as a marketing avenue, make sure that your nonprofit has the structure and expertise in place to make the most out of the Google AdWords spend.
In order to qualify for Google Grants, your nonprofit must meet the following basic requirements:
- Hold a valid charity status
- Agree to Google terms and conditions, certifications and donation receipt
- Have a live website with updated content
3. Invest a Little Budget in Paid Social Media Ads
Investing a little money in paid social media ads can go a long way. Your nonprofit can use social media to create targeted ads based on your prospects demographic. You can even localize posts to have the biggest reach within a designated community. Before investing some of your nonprofits marketing dollars into social media take some time to review your organizations Google Analytics account to see which social media profiles are delivering the highest conversion rates. If you are not tracking conversions, then your nonprofit should set up goals in your analytics profile.
Here are a few key benefits of social media advertising:
- Social ads can be used for market research.
- Segment your audience and ad copy by demographics.
- Increase your organization traffic and leads quickly.
- Boost or promote your organizations top performing organic content.
- Easy access to social media analytics.
- Options for minimal investment.
4. Add a Donate Button to Your Nonprofits Facebook Profile
Facebook recently released a feature to allow nonprofit organizations to add a “donate” button to their organization profiles. Adding this CTA to your nonprofits page creates a great fundraising enticement and can drive in new donor prospects for your brand. The process of applying for this feature could not be easier. All you need to do is head over here and signup. There are a few requirements that you must meet to be eligible.
5. Use Your Existing Nonprofit Content in New Ways
You would be surprised how many organizations are not using their existing content to create new marketing avenues for their nonprofit. Chances are your organization has a lot of content at its disposal that has been created over the past year or so. Why not develop your existing content in new ways? If your organization has a stockpile of blog content, maybe it is time to translate that content into video or infographics so that you can post it on new mediums. Here are a few ideas for repurposing your organizations content in strategic ways:
- Transform blog posts into PowerPoint presentations and upload them to SlideShare.
- Create an e-book using multiple blog posts around the same topic.
- Create a podcast to share existing content in audio form.
- Promote your blog posts in your nonprofits email newsletters.
- Refresh and update existing content to be relevant today.
- Turn your existing content into an email series or campaign.
- Create case studies out of existing content.
6. Create More Segmented and Personalized Email Campaigns
Taking the time to analyze and segment your nonprofits email lists can lead to higher open rates, more clicks and less unsubscribes. Segmenting your lists also can create a more personalized experience for your target prospects. Personalization leads to higher campaign success rates. On average, emails that are personalized to a prospect receive 41 percent higher click-through rates and boost open rates to 29 percent.
Segmenting your email lists does not have to be challenging. Here are a few ways to segment your lists today to get better campaign results:
- Ask your audience how often they want to hear from you and segment by communication preference.
- Segment by volunteer or donation patterns.
- Create a nurture campaign to segment leads that have gone cold or do not yet meet qualified criteria.
- Segment by email campaign engagement (clicks, opens).
- Segment by content that visitors are most interested in based on specific web visit patterns.
- Segment by prospect location (localize email content to create more engagement).
7. Use Facebook Live to Become More Humanistic with Your Prospects
Facebook Live is yet another social feature that nonprofits can use to build a personal relationship with prospects. Facebook Live allows organizations to stream video and engage with an audience in real-time. Using this medium can help your nonprofit to create a humanistic appeal with you target audience. Here are just a few ways your nonprofit can use Facebook Live to create engagement:
- Livestream Q&A sessions.
- Broadcast your volunteer and fundraising events.
- Stream organizational announcements.
- Survey your prospects and gain valuable project feedback.
Facebook Live is currently only available on mobile devices. To enable your device to support Facebook Live, you will need to have a supported device and enable Facebook permissions. Once those steps are complete, you can access the Facebook Live feature from your Facebook profile and begin to stream.
8. Create Social Media Contests to Excite Your Prospects
Creating contests can create instant engagement for your nonprofit. Contests can go a long way to drive in new connections and create virility for your social accounts. Keep in mind that contest prizes do not have to be expensive to generate a buzz for your organization. Here are a few social contest ideas:
- Engage your volunteers and donors with a photo contest that reflects your nonprofits mission.
- Create contest forms on social to capture information about prospects.
- Develop video contests (video is the most consumable content).
- Engage your nonprofits audience with trivia question contests.
- Ask your prospects to like and share your page in exchange for a contest entry.
9. Host a Twitter Chat to Increase Influencers and Build Partnerships
Hosting a Twitter Chat is a great way to engage with influencers and build partnerships in your space. Twitter Chats can give your prospects instant access to your brand and allow you to address any questions that they have about your organization. Before hosting your first Twitter Chat there are a few variables that you are going to want to keep in mind:
- How will you promote your Twitter Chat to your audience?
- Are you prepared to address any questions that come up during the chat quickly?
- Do you have enough staff on board to successful manage a Twitter Chat?
- How often will you host or sponsor Twitter Chats?
- What is the target ROI?
Once you address those questions it will be much easier to plan a strategy for Twitter Chats and make the use of the medium most beneficial for your goals. Here are a few ways your organization can use Twitter Chats to gain exposure and create relationships:
- Host monthly Twitter Chats to create a community and build trust.
- Ask partners to join in on your Twitter Chats and have guest speakers to increase interest.
- Sponsor other Twitter Chats and request sponsorship in return.
- Ask your nonprofit employees and executives to join in on the fun.
10. Write More Captivating Content and Tell Better Stories
Sometimes the best way to improve your online marketing exposure is to focus on the content that you are producing. Is your content engaging your prospects? Is your content sharable and unique? These are just two of many questions that you will want to ask when reviewing your current content marketing strategy and producing new content for your nonprofit organization. Honestly, almost all online-marketing success starts at the content level. If your organization is able to create great content you will increase your exposure. Here are a few tips for creating more engaging content for your prospects:
- Incorporate video and images into your content for more visual appeal.
- Drive content across multiple channels.
- Write content with purpose.
- Create guest blogging opportunities for thought leaders with a following.
Driving in and engaging prospects for your nonprofit organization does not need to be challenging. Yes, the process does take time and a lot of effort but focusing on strategic marketing can yield great results. Take advantage of the great social media features available, optimize and segment your email campaigns, write more engaging content and utilize grant money provided for nonprofits. These are just a few awesome strategies for increasing your digital reach.
Eric Burger is the marketing communications manager for VolunteerHub, an organization that provides volunteer management solutions for nonprofits across the globe. Eric has worked in the B2B software industry for the past two years and has over five years of experience in digital marketing.