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Creating a non-profit digital strategy

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In order to make the journey of your non-profit organization, initiative, or project successful you will need to take some time and plan this journey. Most probably you already have a plan. Now it’s time to prepare a strategy as well. Today we will talk about digital marketing for non-profits that starts with a strategy.

We have mentioned the importance of creating the marketing strategy for a non-profit organization and its content in our previous articles. This one though reveals core marketing secrets that will help you create not just a strategic plan but a working strategic plan.

So what are the key secrets of strategic planning? Let’s take a look at TOP 4 ones that can bring you where you want.

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Trying to change the world could be a real challenge. And it actually is. An everyday challenge that you and your team are dealing with. Each project, each donor, each volunteer and supporter, – it’s a challenge to find the right approach and to put everything together so it would finally work as it should. The best way to get ready for challenges is to have a strategy. Wherever you are based and whatever goals you try to reach you will benefit from the technological opportunities available online. Digital world is full of efficient and amazing tools that are there for you. Why not use them?

In order to make the journey of your non-profit organization, initiative, or project successful you will need to take some time and plan this journey. Most probably you already have a plan. Now it’s time to prepare a strategy as well. Today we will talk about digital marketing for non-profits that starts with a strategy.

We have mentioned the importance of creating the marketing strategy for a non-profit organization and its content in our previous articles. This one though reveals core marketing secrets that will help you create not just a strategic plan but a working strategic plan.

Keep in mind that non-profit digital marketing strategy features both specifics of the non-profit industry and some universal marketing knowledge to cover the needs of non-profits in the digital space. For example, talking about communicational mechanics in digital marketing non-profits need to specifically concentrate on emotions and human values and how to pack them in their offer when scaling their activities or transforming it in different circumstances, including crises. When you are creating a long-term scenario of your activities you are basically forming your non-profit organization system. Each system needs development, features a certain structure, and is based on particular principles, you set yourself. Even the style of communication within your own team is afterwards affected by the strategy as it’s part of this very system.

Secret #1. One goal only principle

Before you start planning your activities and sit down to write a marketing strategy you should keep in mind only one goal in your mind. This goal is the same for all non-profits as it is the principle of their operation. Yes, further you will set up and list goals specific for your non-profit but that will come later. One goal principle for non-profits is that their service, product, initiative or project that is always valuable for somebody should be delivered to its target audience. It is never about testing or just trying something – it is always about trying your best and succeeding. Because what you do really matters. The world and people need what you do and failure is not an option as those people might fail without your help.

Secret #2. Triple targeting

Now that you have understood the basic principle you can proceed to the more specific goals. Usually there are three main ones non-profits need to achieve in order to succeed with their activities.

1.- Trust
People do not trust strangers. It is their basic instinct. There are too many risks that they can’t predict. This is why it is important to get in touch with your audience (we will talk more about it when discussing the next secret) and let people get to know you better – this way you will stop being a stranger and can start moving together in one space. Crossing this barrier is really difficult for non-profits in the digital world because the channels of data transfer are quite limited and narrow there. Text, photos, videos, and other media materials are part of the puzzle your audience needs to put together. When dealing with you in real life they can read you nonverbally in seconds while on the Internet the process will take more time and will need a different approach.

2.- Need
Each great idea proves its greatness only when solving a problem or giving / creating something needed by others.  Using non-profit digital marketing tools makes sense only when there is need in the product they are used for, be it a long-term or short-term initiative, one-time project, regular services, or something else. You need to know what your target audience needs to understand, if you can satisfy this need with your proposal and if yes then how.

Does the world suffer from certain consequences of climate change? They might use your system of climate change control. Small organizations have great ideas and motivations but are overloaded with volume of work? You can include them in your project for attracting volunteers. And so on. Need is not always material, like food, clothing, or money. Your audience might need time, energy, and attention as well! Show the value of your offer to your audience as it sometimes might be not obvious and people might be out of resources to dig into it themselves when trying to find it out. Your strategy is correct when your offer is precise and clear.

3.- Traffic
Even if your idea or project is absolutely great and one of a kind, and your team is the best  (and we are sure this is exactly how it is) you won’t succeed if you do not stand out. The best non-profit digital marketing services available to let people learn about you include setting up contextual advertising, targeted ads, search engine optimization, social media marketing, planning integrations with influencers, content marketing, influence marketing. You need to collect your audience and this is why you need the next secret.

Step #3. Understanding your audience

There are three audiences each non-profit has and which should be taken into consideration when completing a marketing strategy.

3 audiences for a non-profit

1.- Team
This is your power and your main strength. Your supporters, your friends, your volunteers, your employees – together you are a team that makes this social planet rotate. They should know how much you value them, how great and important your common work is and where you are going.

2.- Target audience
People who are going to actually benefit from your offer, people you are trying to help, people whose life you might want to change – this is the main target audience of your activities. When those people hear about you or come to check your website or participate in one of your activities – they should understand that what you are doing is what they need, and that it is being done for them.

3.- Donors
There is no foundation without funds! Charity foundations, youth centers, humanitarian projects, and other non-profits, – they all need funds to fulfill their plans. To get those funds you need to attract donors to your non-profit. Private and state foundations, private sponsors, donating supporters – depending on who is funding your organization your approach to them will also differ. Consider this in your digital marketing strategy, especially when deciding on how and where to find them.

After you describe all three audiences for your non-profit you will get clear portraits – user personas. Without them, it will not be possible to complete their journey maps to decide on how and where your activities and offer can touch them, what digital marketing channels you need to use, and so on. So do not ignore this secret. It’s of the biggest importance!

Step #4. Channeling your offer

There are many organizations that focus on one channel without proper pretesting and this is dangerous. Each marketing channel, especially when used for non-profit digital marketing, cannot be a core of your activities. It must not affect your goals and basic principles, it must not change the style of your activities. You can take its specifics into consideration and it is actually what you should do but the channel is always only one of the means you use while the basis is your organization yourself – your offer.

Concentrating on the channel rather than on the complete digital marketing strategy for non-profits some initiatives fail as they sometimes change the audience, the product, or the non-profit niche just because they can’t fit the channel. As a result, their activities cannot find supporters, cannot attract donors, simply as a non-profit can’t explain and deliver its expertise to them. This is the main reason why serious preplanning, better with the help of digital marketing experts, is a good way to act. Smoothly, efficiently and with a clear understanding of what’s there waiting for you and your non-profit.

How do non-profits search for digital marketing solutions? Many just google something like “non-profit organization digital marketing Springfield Missouri” and follow all related links, trying to understand what to do in this digital marketing world.  While some ask for professional advice and prefer to use the help of experts to be guided and get necessary results asap. Both approaches work. It’s just the results, time & expenses that differ. The most important for both of them is not to be tricked by easy solutions and big promises.

Take time when choosing and completing your strategy, follow basic principles, keep in mind marketing secrets,  plan carefully, partner with experts, and remember to focus on your goals. There are so many beautiful things you can do if you keep on moving forward.

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that your time is limited.

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