Reaching Non-profit Donors with Digital Marketing – Part One

Nonprofits find it easier to stay on the radar with donors when they use digital and email marketing.For non-profits, nothing is more important than finding their ideal supporters – caring individuals and organizations with a special interest in their particular cause.  With the powerful mediums of digital and social media marketing at their disposal, non-profits have greater tools than ever before to spread awareness, find champions, and raise funds for their operational and administrative costs.  The cyber-sphere is complex, however, and if you don’t have a well organized game plan, you could be spinning your wheels needlessly and wasting your non-profit’s precious resources.

It’s best to parcel out the different aspects of digital marketing in broad strokes, in order to make sense of the bigger picture.  Every element of digital marketing works together in finding, communicating, nurturing, and converting prospective donors to keep your budget in the black.

Know Your Audience

Your outreach strategy will largely depend on who your supporters consist of – individuals or corporate donors.  While donations from private citizens will mostly mean a grassroots approach, corporate sponsors will take a bit more homework.  Corporations with a charitable arm have certain protocols non-profits must follow to receive grants.  Exploring the corporate funds available to non-profits will take time, and may mean the use of a grant writer if you are not skilled in writing these types of proposals.

Organizing Your Database

In order to reach people effectively, you have to know who they are, where they came from, and their responses to previous contact campaigns.  There are many types of contact relationship management (CRM) software on the market, but you should always choose one that allows for some customization, interfaces with your website, social media, email marketing, and accounting programs.  The CRM you choose should provide easy to understand, detailed reports.  There are CRM’s created specifically for non-profits, but such a decision requires serious vetting and should only be made after reviewing the best choices, and having the potential vendor provide an in-depth demo.  Make sure the CRM you select has the capability to grow with your organization, to meet its changing needs.

A Well-Designed Website and Smart SEO

Your first concern will be a website that turns heads visually and with compelling content that contains top-ranking key phrases people use to search for non-profits such as yours.  Familiarize yourself with the Google keyword research tool to understand how people are searching for you, so you can incorporate this strategy into your content, title tags, meta-tags, and inbound links.  Always be sure to provide an obvious opt-in for visitors to add themselves to your email distribution list, as well as a plug-in for donations to make giving easy.  WordPress is an ideal, simple to use platform with thousands of available plugins to maximize your website’s versatility and effectiveness.  With WordPress, you can update your site’s content at will, and updated content (such as blog posts, news, and events) will add to your site’s rank factors.  Also, does your website have a mobile version?  Smart  phones and tablets dominate how people access the online world, and most traditional websites are easily converted to accommodate mobile devices with a mobile-friendly website.

Email Marketing Keeps Your Non-profit Front of Mind

Once you have your database segmented out and have a solid understanding of who your donors are, the next step will be using email marketing to reach them by designing campaigns around specific fundraising needs, events, and news.  Your CRM should interface directly or indirectly (as with an app) with your email marketing management software (such as MailChimp or Constant Contact).  With design features and lots of plugins such as donation widgets and share buttons, your email marketing is really an extension of your website.  Detailed reporting is also included that will help you gauge which campaigns are resonating with your donors by the open, click, and share rates.  Email campaigns should be ongoing, as nurturing your existing and prospective donors will keep the support rolling in.