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Digital Marketing Strategies For Non-Profit Organizations

In today’s digital age, non-profit organizations must leverage online marketing tactics to spread their message, attract donors, and fulfill their mission. With so many digital strategies available, it can be overwhelming for nonprofits with limited marketing budgets to know where to focus their efforts. This listicle outlines actionable digital marketing tactics tailored specifically for non-profits.

Conduct Keyword Research

The first step in any digital marketing strategy is understanding what your audience is searching for online. Conduct keyword research using free tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to uncover terms and phrases your donors are using to find nonprofits like yours. Understanding the language your donors use allows you to create content that resonates with them and drives them to your website. Focus on optimizing your site and campaigns around 3-5 core keyword phrases rather than trying to target dozens of terms.

Update Your Website for Mobile

With the majority of website traffic now coming from mobile devices, having a mobile-responsive site is no longer optional – it’s a must for reaching modern donors. Ensure your nonprofit’s website seamlessly adapts for smaller screens and makes donating just as easy via smartphone. Key elements to optimize include donation forms, calls-to-action, page load speeds, and avoiding formatting that requires excessive pinching/zooming.

Get Found Locally

Even in the digital age, people often search for nonprofits and donation opportunities in their local community. Make sure your nonprofit’s online profiles clearly convey your physical location and service areas. This includes complete address details on your website and social pages as well as registering with online directories like GuideStar and GreatNonprofits. Optimizing for local SEO can drive nearby supporters to your mission.

Email Newsletters

Email is still the workhorse of any nonprofit online marketing strategy. Segment your donor email lists by demographic and engagement level to deliver targeted appeals, event announcements, fundraising campaigns, and other relevant content. Avoid overwhelming inboxes by keeping email frequency reasonable for each group. Welcome new subscribers with an automated email series that educates them on your mission and work.

Social Media Engagement

While email reaches your existing supporters, social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow nonprofits to engage new audiences. Develop a content calendar to regularly share stories, pictures, and videos that highlight your mission and community impact. Respond promptly to comments, questions, and messages. Run occasional fundraising campaigns tied to awareness days or matching gift challenges to spur action. The key is generating engagement, not just broadcasting one-way messages.

Digital Advertising

Pay-per-click ads, social media ads, and retargeting ads should be part of most nonprofit digital marketing plans. Well-targeted ads allow you to proactively reach interested donors based on their browsing behavior rather than waiting for them to find your website themselves. Test different audiences, messaging, and call-to-action combinations to see what best motivates conversions for your cause. Every $1 spent on digital ads should yield at least $2 in return donations.

Email Fundraising Appeals

From #GivingTuesday to end-of-year tax campaigns to galas and events, email appeals drive a significant share of annual fundraising revenue for nonprofits. Segment your list by past donation levels and send customized email appeals explaining why supporters should give again. Use urgent deadlines, progress bars toward goals, matching gifts, contests, and other tactics to spur action. Send confirmation emails and stewardship reports to show the impact gifts make.

Create Donation Form Best Practices

Ease and security on your nonprofit donation pages remove any friction from giving. Offer one-click options to donate common amounts. Allow donors to set up recurring monthly gifts. Make forms mobile-responsive with auto-filling fields. Let people donate anonymously if they prefer. Ensure site security certifications are up-to-date and visible. say thank you immediately and send acknowledgment letters for all gifts.

Launch Google Grants and Ad Grants

Google offers $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords advertising to eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofits through its Google Ad Grants program. This allows nonprofits to run paid search ads at no cost to help people find their website. Additionally, Google Grants provides free access to premium G Suite business software for nonprofits. Both programs can be game-changers for organizations aiming to boost their digital marketing impact without straining budgets.

Collect Emails with Web Forms

While donation forms obviously play a central role for nonprofit websites, any chance to collect email addresses should also be seized. Add pop-up hello bars, slide-in side tabs, and embedded content upgrades throughout your site offering free resources in exchange for an email address. For example, a checklist on “10 Ways to Volunteer in Your Community” can yield both new leads and new subscribers from visitors.

Personalize the Donor Experience

Digital marketing technology allows nonprofits to customize communications and offers based on individuals’ donation history, interests, and demographics. Personalized email subject lines, dynamic webpage content, personalized social ads, and custom donation confirmation pages all help tailor interactions based on each supporter’s record. The combination of personalization + automation packs the biggest punch.

How to Optimize Your Digital Presence for Nonprofit Success

Now that we’ve covered multiple digital marketing channels and tactics for nonprofits to pursue, what does a fully integrated strategy look like? While each organization will want to craft plans based on their unique capacities, audiences, and objectives, this checklist summarizes key best practices for optimizing any nonprofit’s digital presence.

Secure a digital marketing for nonprofit organizations domain name

The first building block comes down to choosing the right domain name for your nonprofit that supports overall marketing and SEO efforts. Ideally your domain name will include:

  • The name of your organization
  • Key cause or audience terms
  • Your geographic service area

If your domain attempts to stuff too many keywords it can feel spammy. The name should ultimately serve your online branding so supporters can find and remember your nonprofit website URL.

Install Tracking Software

Understanding your digital marketing performance requires installing website analytics, marketing automation, and donation tracking software. Google Analytics offers a free and powerful platform to measure web traffic sources, on-site engagement metrics, email campaign success rates, and much more. Many software apps also integrate directly with Google Analytics for unified data.

Update Website Design

Visually appealing, fast-loading websites establish credibility and convert more visitors. Nonprofits should ensure their website design is:

  • Mobile responsive
  • Simple with clear calls-to-action
  • Reinforces brand personality and cause
  • Allows donors to find key info/options easily
  • Integrates with donation and email software
  • Provides resources and contact options

Expand Social Media Footprint

While nonprofits often start by focusing digital marketing efforts on owned properties like their website and email lists, expanding reach via social media ads is critical for growth. Maintain an active presence on at least 1-2 social platforms where your audiences and donors gather through posting content, running ads, and participating in conversations relevant to your cause.

Set Up Google Ad Grants

The Google Ad Grants program provides $10,000 in monthly AdWords advertising spend for eligible nonprofits—for free. This grant allows organizations to run paid Google search ads that can direct many more potential supporters and donors to your website through targeted keywords. But Google Grants does require formally applying, getting approved, and proactively managing accounts.

Key Takeaways for Your Nonprofit Digital Marketing Strategy

Generating attention and donations in our increasingly fragmented digital landscape requires nonprofits to leverage multiple marketing channels in coordination. Fortunately, effective digital options range from low-cost organic tactics like social media to fully-funded programs like Google’s nonprofit advertising grants.

  1. Lead with your mission online and offline. Audiences—especially donors—want to support causes bigger than themselves.
  2. Meet supporters where they already spend time by expanding beyond your owned websites into social platforms and paid ads.
  3. Track digital metrics to optimize areas working well and shift strategies not delivering hoped-for results.
  4. Keep budget realities top of mind, leveraging free software, programs, and tools whenever possible.