Digital Marketing Tips for Nonprofits

Learn how to expand your marketing into new media. Nonprofits need to meet their audience where they are in order to engage with them.

Nonprofits are becoming increasingly reliant on individual donations in order to function.

Sure, having a few wealthy donors who believe in your cause and have $50,000 burning a hole in their pocket is nice, but it’s likely not going to be where the majority of your funding comes from.

A new report on nonprofit marketing trends surveyed organizations across the world. Of the U.S. nonprofits that responded, 76% of them said that individual donations were a significant contributor of revenue.

In order to build a successful nonprofit, you’re likely going to have to appeal to the masses and fund your organization with their generosity. This means that one of the first steps toward receiving that revenue is to reach your target audience.

There are people out there right now who believe in what you’re doing and would love to help out. The only thing stopping them from donating is that they haven’t heard of you. Or should I say they haven’t heard of you yet? Because implementing these strategies can help you find them. 

It will be a huge benefit to your nonprofit if you’re able to market yourself to get your name out there.

1. How to Reach Your Audience With Digital Marketing

Marketing and fundraising may be becoming increasingly indistinguishable among nonprofits. So why is there a need to differentiate between the two if they’re both working toward a common goal?

In an ever-shifting media landscape, it’s important that you adapt with it. You need to go where the audience is, which includes emerging social media platforms.

Take TikTok for example. It’s been around for a while now — hardly emerging — but of the major social media platforms, it’s the new kid on the block. For whatever reason, nonprofits have largely been reluctant to tap into this huge market.

Of marketing staff at the nonprofits who responded to the survey, only 38% (37% of U.S. respondents) said that they have changed their content strategy or added new platforms like TikTok. Barely a third have done it, but of those who have, 95% of U.S. respondents said that it was very or somewhat impactful.

So the nonprofits themselves are saying, by an overwhelming majority, that marketing using TikTok works. Still, there is this persistent reluctance among nonprofits to change, as well as the difficulty to change.

Interestingly, the group that is having the easiest time adjusting is nonprofits with less than one million dollars in revenue, the lowest revenue category of respondents. Only 28% of them said that remote, virtual, or adapted program delivery was a major issue over the past year, as opposed to 36% in every other revenue category.

The reason for this is unclear. Maybe it has something to do with lower-revenue nonprofits being newer, and maybe that lends itself to having younger staff who are more knowledgeable about social media.

Regardless, whatever your age or revenue, social media is not something you shouldn’t be scared of. It’s an effective tool that could help you reach a larger audience.

2. How to Create Content for Social Media

Twenty-six percent of U.S. respondents started using templates to help with new content creation in the past year. This basically means using the same format for your content.

If your TikTok and other social media accounts are primarily there for marketing purposes, there’s nothing wrong with being somewhat repetitive with your content. When trying to reach a larger audience, it might not be worth it to focus too much on the artistic integrity of your TikToks and whether or not you’re recycling your own content.

If you’re able to find a video format that works, then stick with that. You can continue to improve your template by occasionally posting something different. Then you can use metrics to compare how much it’s driving traffic to your website.

Of U.S. respondents who started using templates, 92% said it was very or somewhat impactful.

3. The Future of Marketing for Nonprofits Is Collaborative

Teaming up with other nonprofits or companies could be beneficial to both sides. You each have something that the other wants, which is your existing audience.

Collaborating on a fundraising event with another nonprofit that may or may not have similar goals will effectively introduce you to an entire audience that has already shown a willingness to donate.

According to the survey, just 24% of respondents said that they are changing their fundraising approach to work with other nonprofits or companies, with 62% of those saying this will be a permanent part of their approach.

And don’t limit yourself to just collaboration on marketing or fundraising. The exchange of data is mutually beneficial and increasingly popular. Eighty-one percent of U.S. organizations said they’re either already sharing data or plan to do so.

4. Try What Other Nonprofits Aren’t Willing to

There’s been a common thread with much of the data from this particular survey. For all of these methods, a minority of respondents said that they’ve tried them, but of the ones who have, almost all of them said they’ve made an impact.

What could set your nonprofit apart from the field is your willingness to try new things. Using newer social media platforms like TikTok or collaborating with other nonprofits can help you stay at the forefront of marketing trends and ahead of the curve.

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