Non-profits are a force for good in our communities. Whether it’s educating kids about the importance of healthy eating or providing shelter to those in need, non-profit organizations make it possible. One of the biggest challenges these organizations face is building awareness and increasing their reach. Luckily, with the power of digital marketing, it’s never been easier to get the word out about your organization and attract new supporters.
In today’s episode, I’m going to cover the six things you should know when it comes to digital marketing for non-profits.
The power of email marketing for your cause
There’s no denying email marketing’s efficacy. According to MailChimp’s State of Email Marketing Report, about two-thirds of respondents send at least once a month, and 31 percent send three to five times a month. These results suggest email marketing is not only effective but an essential part of growing your non-profit’s visibility.
Keep in mind, that they also reported that non-profits had a 25.17% open rate and a 2.79% click-through rate.
According to a digital marketing study from MarketingSherpa, 89 percent of email subscribers unsubscribe if a promotional message comes too frequently or is too long. Consider that as you conduct your digital marketing strategy for your organization. If you want to increase your open rates and therefore your response rates, it’s important to keep in mind that your emails need to be simple and useful.
One of the ways to increase your open rates and engagement with email marketing is by strategically aligning content with the times of day that will elicit the most responses, you will increase your awareness and attract more donors.
Email has long been the go-to marketing channel for both charities and non-profits. The relative ease of sending an email compared to other channels makes it easy to test the waters. You can send one or a few emails a day to see if you attract a handful of recipients. If they do, you can move on to more targeted campaigns to increase engagement.
Pro-tip: Consider using A/B testing on your subject and preview copy to improve your open rates. Then do the same with your CTAs to increase CTRs.
The importance of social media for your organization
Social media plays a huge role in promoting your organization, reaching out to the right donors, and finding the public’s interest in your cause.
For most organizations, social media is crucial in reaching new supporters.
According to a UN Foundation report, Facebook is the number one social networking site among U.S. adults. However, as the UN Foundation report notes, the more channels you have, the more impact you can have.
Some of the most important social media networks include Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, and others.
Being active on all of these channels is a great way to build up awareness and keep new supporters engaged. Even with many channels to choose from, the best way to ensure you are utilizing the right ones is by studying and researching where your supporters, volunteers, and community hang out. Go where they are.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, make it easy to share information with the public in a straightforward and engaging way. Facebook also has features like “sponsored stories” and “paid posts” that allow you to show your brand in the timeline. You can also leverage custom and hyper-targeted advertising on Facebook, targeting specific sub-groups of your target audience.
A word of caution: be careful when it comes to using social media to advertise. Avoid overloading your audience with ads.
How non-profits can use ads and display ads
First and foremost, understand the rules. Each industry has their own set of rules that govern what ads can run and what can’t. In the non-profit world, there is a tremendous amount of ambiguity surrounding ads and whether they should be run at all. For example, we need to tell you that using display ads or ads that run in the sidebar of your organization’s website, should be prohibited.
If you’ve listened to other episodes, you might recall that I worked at a hospital. We received a sizeable donation, and with it, I built out a section of the site for a mental health screening survey. As part of that section, we had a little tagline that announced that it was proudly funded by the donor. That is not the same thing as an ad.
Even though they are simple and are highly visible, they do require the approval of your organization’s funders. And unless they are approved, they will be pulled down.
On the flip side, you should invest in ads. Ad by invest, I mean time, not money. If your organization is a registered non-profit, charity, foundation, or NGO you can apply for a Google Ad Grants, and receive USD$10,000/month in ad spend.
Pro tip: Smart Display ads will give you the best bang for the buck.
This is a worthwhile venture, and, if done properly by targeting the right words and demographics, will have a payoff for your branding and awareness. The grant cannot be used to solicit sales.
Don’t forget about SEO
One of the most important ways to get the word out about your organization is to have good SEO.
You need to remember that Google will show your organization higher in search results if it’s unique and matches the key phrases and terms people are searching for.
A simple way to boost your search ranking is to make sure that all of your information is accurate, that you’re utilizing professional photos and that you’re linking to your main website from multiple pages.
Tailor your messages. Too often, non-profit organizations get caught up in what the latest trend is and lose focus on their message. They can lose sight of what’s most important to their audience: their mission and purpose. Being specific with the words that your community uses will help you bring organic traffic to your website.
Along with SEO, pay attention to the amount of content on your pages. Try to hit a minimum of 300 words a page.
Mobile marketing is key for reaching new supporters
Whether you’re focused on helping your homeless shelter stay in operation or preventing animal cruelty, one of the best ways to reach your audience is through mobile marketing.
By being visible on mobile, a non-profit can reach new supporters.
According to Business Daily, 74 percent of American adults have a mobile device. This trend also correlates to a decline in land lines for home use.
By promoting your organization on a mobile site, you’ll give those mobile users the opportunity to donate, donate more, or learn more about your organization.
With mobile devices just a touch away, it’s more important than ever to have a website that displays well on mobile because Google actually gives mobile-friendly websites higher ranking.
And this cycles back to my earlier point of how part of building awareness is having a solid social media presence.
Your non-profit may not have a huge following on social media, but you’ll need to get more followers. On Facebook, you can run contests, hold contests, run ad campaigns, and post videos to engage your followers. You can also use Facebook ads to gain more followers and even donations.
Did you know, you can add a Donate CTA to your official Facebook page?
Get creative with video marketing
Take a minute to look at your website.
- What are you posting about?
- What are your primary focuses?
- What types of content are you producing for your visitors?
For example, does your organization want to promote volunteer opportunities, the impact of a certain program, or encourage supporters to make a donation?
With video, you can easily create animated, informative videos that can demonstrate the impact of your organization, encourage donors to give more money, and introduce new donors to your cause.
For example, in order to raise awareness about the organization Serving Others, Mike Jordan, CEO, and co-founder, started a live feed from his company’s weekly Board Meeting on YouTube. He says…
“Our donors came to the meeting and were able to ask questions and engage with board members.”
This is just one of the creative ways to engage with your community.
How many times have you been Facebook surfing and stopped scrolling when you saw something move? Video is eye-catching. Use that to your advantage and get people to stop, even if just for a moment. You never know who will see your video and take action of some kind.
At Wow Digital, we produce videos for a number of clients from the content they’re already creating – such as blogs, news releases, and even podcasts. If you’re interested, connect with me and let’s chat about how we can do this for you too.
The power of digital marketing has the ability to create positive change, and change the world. This medium is vital to the success of any non-profit or charity and make sure you are using it wisely to reach your goal.
The digital marketing strategies I covered are simple, easy to implement, and of great use for non-profits and even businesses.
If you’re looking to improve your reach with marketing strategies that truly make a difference in your work, do yourself a favor and reach out to our team today!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and I’m looking forward to having you listen to the next ones that we’ve got coming up. If you’ve enjoyed this episode please leave feedback on iTunes or wherever you listen to this podcast, I’d love to hear your feedback and it would also help others find the show.
Be sure to check out the show notes for the episode, head over to wowdigital.com, click on podcast, and search for this episode number and you’ll find all the links, details, and other information that has been discussed in this episode.