By Diana Herst
Having been in marketing for some years now, for for-profit organizations as well as a volunteer for nonprofits, I know the challenges nonprofit organizations are facing when developing and executing online marketing strategies with little to no budget. This, sometimes combined with a lack of access to modern technology, could leave your staff uninspired when searching for ways to get your brand noticed online.
The truth is that when done right and consistently, online marketing for nonprofits can turn out to be more cost-effective than offline marketing efforts. For example, even when direct mail accounts for a large chunk of your fundraising, the high costs of printing and mailing pieces to your donors can’t be denied. In addition, measuring impact is challenging.
Taking your brand online gives you the ability to play, engage and better measure impact, even (and sometimes especially) when there are no dollars to spend. Here are some tips to get you kick started.
Utilize Your Staff
Your staff has a passion for your cause and is there to help the organization achieve its mission. Together with their personal network they can take your online presence to the next level. Always remember that word-of-mouth is a strategy that continues to prove its strength. Leverage your staff’s social media presence, either personal or professional, and motivate them to share content that is relevant to your cause. Not only will it humanize your brand and bring exposure; in time it will also turn staff members into authorities, possibly leading to quotations, interviews, and an increased following.
Get Buy-In for Your Content Strategy
“Content marketing is the only marketing left,” according to entrepreneur, marketer and public speaker Seth Godin. Yes, that also goes for nonprofit organizations. The quickest way to kick off content marketing is starting a blog, though it’s often easier said than done. Make sure you get buy-in from the team, and identify key contributors who are capable and willing to write a post every now and then. Start off with one post every week or every other week, share it on your social channels and measure the impact using free or enterprise reporting tools.
Over time data will tell you certain angles resonate with your following more than others. Use this knowledge and convert it into action by publishing of these types of posts while blending in new angles to expand your audience. But be aware, quality is always more important than quantity; it’s important to only publish content that offers value.
Engage with Your Advocates
We feel humbled when we hear customers say they’ve built a 360° view of their constituents using roundCorner’s solutions. Knowing your constituents leads to knowing who your true advocates are. Acknowledge them and make sure you appreciate their support by engaging with them through thank-you emails or on social media. You’ll also find that many donors are open to sharing their personal story related to your cause. Here you go, one extra tip for your content strategy!
Get Volunteers to Help With Online Marketing
Volunteers can help your organization with a lot more than fundraising, and recruiting professionals to volunteer can speed up your online marketing efforts. For example, consider adding dedicated marketing volunteers to your team when planning your next annual event. It can help you get broad coverage and exposure while your staff focuses on core tasks. To get the best value, do make an effort to retain your volunteers.
The key to online marketing is to never stop trying. There may be a lot of best practices out there; you’ll still have to find the strategies that works best for your organization and audience, and let me tell you there is no guide to that. It’s why true marketers voraciously consume content, borrowing our peers’ strategies and merging it with our own until we get it right.
roundCorner exists to support the mission of nonprofits, institutions of higher education and foundations of all sizes. If you’d like to receive information about our products and services, please get in touch with us here.
Diana Herst is roundCorner’s Marketing Manager. Previously, she fulfilled the same position for local and international tech companies. Outside of work, Diana volunteers her time to the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter, enjoys culinary adventures and travel.