Spread the Word! Marketing Your Nonprofit’s Opportunities
The work you’ve done through your nonprofit, fueled by gifts from generous donors, has probably given you years of engaging stories to share. From the work of your volunteers to the impact it’s had, you’re probably experiencing no shortage of good news to share with the donors whose gifts have enabled it.
One of the biggest motivating factors for a donor to give is seeing the impact their donations have had. However, it can be difficult to share the good news and invite supporters to partake in future opportunities if you don’t have a solid strategy for marketing your nonprofit’s opportunities to engage with your work.
Creating a marketing strategy is an easily manageable task, especially when aided by a bit of initial research, marketing software, and donors themselves. Check out four steps for marketing your nonprofit’s engagement opportunities:
- Leverage the data you already have.
- Secure new supporters with your digital forms.
- Utilize internet outreach tools.
- Invite your supporters to spread the word.
Follow along for a breakdown of these four points and learn how to construct the best nonprofit marketing strategy for your future projects and campaigns.
1. Leverage the data you already have.
When beginning the process of marketing your nonprofit’s opportunities, it’s best to start with what you already have-- your list of current supporters!
While it’s tempting to focus on attracting new supporters through your outreach, it’s just as important to reinforce the relationships you’ve already built. Poor donor retention is a particularly pervasive problem in the nonprofit sector, and reinforcing these relationships will help you combat that.
By reaching out to past donors, you can retain their attention and hopefully, their future contributions. Further, you might encourage recurring donations or even donor-led outreach.
Before you begin contacting previous donors, however, you should segment your population to guide these efforts. This refers to the process of organizing donors into separate groups based on certain shared characteristics. Try segmenting your donor data using the following classifications:
- Personal information, such as age, marital status, and location
- Business information, such as workplace and other business affiliations
- Previous email interactions, such as newsletter subscribers and petition signers
- Previous donation type, such as major, one-time, and recurring
These are just a few possible segments, and you should organize your data in whatever manner makes the most sense for your base and for the particular project at hand.
Did you discover any new insights when you segmented, or any particularly large groupings? You should use those insights to guide your marketing efforts going forward. For example, if you notice a large population within your donors is subscribing to your newsletter, you should make sure that medium is getting ample attention in your marketing push.
Of course, none of this would be possible without a robust CRM system to house all of your data. Ideally, you’ve integrated your CRM with your fundraising tools and have a streamlined process of directing this data into your nonprofit’s main database.
For more information on nonprofit software solutions, check out SalsaLabs’ listing of 8 nonprofit platforms to power your cause.
2. Secure new supporters with your digital forms.
In addition to contacting previous supporters, you should work to discover new supporters using your nonprofit’s online donation forms and subscriber interest forms.
These forms are the most important point of direct, digital contact with your donors, so you need to make sure they’re optimized to gather the exact information you need from them. Choosing a nonprofit marketing software solution that allows for full customization of online forms allows you to do so.
In choosing a digital marketing solution, make sure it allows the creation of online forms with the following qualities:
- Mobile and desktop friendly, so no donor is deterred due to technological constraints.
- Fully customizable fields, allowing you to control what information is gathered. Specify the exact fields most helpful to your organization without slowing down donors with a bunch of excess fields.
- Seamlessly branded to your organization, allowing donors to feel comfortable entering their information into the familiarly branded pages.
- Easily embeddable on your website or landing pages, so donors aren’t redirected outside of your website to complete the process.
You can then add these newly gathered leads to your organization’s email newsletter list, along with the many other internet outreach methods explored in the next section.
3. Utilize internet outreach tools.
After you’ve secured new supporters, you should consider an outreach method using some of the most effective and low-cost nonprofit marketing tools on the market right now-- email and social media.
By leveraging both your email newsletter and social media networks, you should be able to create a strong strategy for getting the word out about your nonprofit’s engagement opportunities. Read on to learn more about using each tool.
Your organization’s email newsletter is one of its most powerful tools to get the word out about upcoming opportunities.
At this point, the addresses gathered through your online forms and the donor segments you created earlier intersect, as you’re going to want to guide donors through a series of emails based on their previous interactions with your nonprofit.
As far as best practices are concerned, guide new newsletter subscribers through a short welcome series or stream before showering them with information on upcoming opportunities to give or to attend your events. However, long-time subscribers won’t need to receive initial welcome emails.
By using a nonprofit marketing software solution that allows for email automation, you can start guiding new subscribers through this funnel immediately once their email is gathered.
Finally, just as with the forms you created earlier, ensure that any email communications are formatted to be both mobile and desktop friendly. This ensures these communications can be read at any time and on any device.
Social media is a significantly more complex undertaking. If misused, these networks can act as a major deterrent for donors, so you want to make sure you’re preparing sufficiently before diving in.
It’s easiest to break social networking out into a few digestible steps to examine:
1. Building a presence.
Social media is primarily a marketing tool, and you’re tasked with building an audience for those efforts. There’s no reason for you to be posting so much content without any viewers to consume it!
You’ll want to begin by choosing platforms that are relevant to your organization’s demographics. If you choose marketing tools that offer email matching features, you’ll be able to identify which email addresses are associated with social media accounts.
Then, you can focus your efforts there and create accounts for your organization on those networks, inviting supporters to follow along with the content.
2. Posting to your organization’s account.
Part of building a social media presence is posting content for your audience to engage with, and you want to make sure you’re creating content that keeps the account relevant for your followers.
Generally, social media users (especially in the nonprofit world) respond best to content that is genuine and personal. Consider focusing on sharing the impact your organization is having and avoiding heavy advertisements.
Your marketing tools can help you schedule and share posts on a variety of social platforms. Above all else, however, you need to make sure your content is emotionally engaging for your followers.
Crowdfunding is a fundraising technique powered by social sharing. It’s a great technique for both soliciting donations outside of your organization’s network and for spreading the word about your nonprofit and cause.
This is most often done by creating a dedicated crowdfunding page for your organization and distributing it to be widely shared. However, including a social sharing button on your online donation form that allows donors to spread the word once they give can help in the crowdfunding cause as well.
If you’re interested in leveraging crowdfunding for your organization, read more here.
4. Invite your supporters to spread the word.
Finally, you can take your nonprofit’s digital marketing a step further by inviting your supporters to spread the word on your behalf.
There are a few different ways to involve your most ardent supporters in marketing on your behalf, and they each require fairly low effort to have a positive impact.
Social Sharing Buttons
Social sharing buttons can refer to two different actions, and you should implement both in your nonprofit’s digital marketing strategy.
The first is simply encouraging your donors to share your social media accounts, whether specific posts or the account in general. Generally, as long as you create quality content, supporters will be encouraged to share your organization’s posts.
The second involves a more intentional action on your part and the donor’s part, which is the inclusion of a social sharing button on your donation form. One of many customizations you should be able to include on your donation page, a social sharing button allows donors to tell their social networks when they’ve donated to your cause and why.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is different from crowdfunding, mentioned earlier, in that it involves donors creating their own individual donation-raising pages. Rather than sharing your organization’s designated donation page, the donor shares a donation page benefitting your nonprofit but made in their name.
Then, the donor’s friends and family donate to this giving page in support of the donor, regardless of whether these loved ones are personally involved with your cause. This action both raises donations for your nonprofit as well as exposes your group to a plethora of future donors you may not have reached otherwise.
Bonus! Many of the tips included throughout this piece referenced using marketing software in your efforts. Check out Double the Donation’s list of the best marketing software for nonprofits when searching for your organization’s technology solutions.
Crafting an effective marketing strategy is essential for sharing the good work your nonprofit is doing and informing donors of ways to get involved in future fundraising opportunities.
By following these four steps, you’ll be able to successfully contact donors with future opportunities-- and invite them to spread the word themselves!
Special thanks to Gerard Tonti, the Senior Creative Developer at Salsa Labs for the advice on marketing your non-profit's opportunities. Salsa Labs is the premier fundraising software company for growth-focused nonprofits.
Gerard's marketing focus on content creation, conversion optimization and modern marketing technology helps him coach nonprofit development teams on digital fundraising best practices.