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5 Ways Nonprofits Can Retool Marketing Efforts

by Michelle McNally | Oct 15, 2020

This has been an unusual and unpredictable year, and businesses of all sizes have had to change their operations in accordance with social distancing recommendations or state and local mandates. 

For nonprofit organizations whose revenue depends largely on fundraising events, this year has been especially challenging. Now’s the time for nonprofits to refocus and to put more energy into digital marketing. Here are five ways to do that:  

1. Cultivate your Content 

Build your online presence – continue blogging and producing content that positions you as a “thought leader” so people don’t forget about you. Hire someone to write LinkedIn posts on behalf of your leadership team, and create a social calendar and content calendar. Show your supporters how you continue to fulfill your organization's mission and why they should continue to support it.

2. Foster Relationships

Foster relationships with your members/donors – let them know what you’re working on and what your plans are for next year. If your members pay annual dues, develop a compelling reason to renew membership (such as an interactive tool, or a helpful guide/publication). 

Regular updates will keep your supporters engaged and remind them why they support your organization. Create email campaigns targeting specific groups in your subscriber list. Build new relationships by using social media to tell a story about your work and your values. 

3. Explore Google Grants 

Don’t assume that you should stop fundraising or advertising – people may have more discretionary income, since they can’t travel/dine out as they usually would. Consider allocating some budget to Google Ads – and if your nonprofit falls into one of the categories eligible for a Google Ads grant, you may be able to advertise for free.

4. Virtual Events 

The annual charity golf outing may be on hold for a while, but virtual events present an opportunity to fundraise and interact with donors. In planning a virtual event, think about how you’ll approach marketing. You may need email campaigns for sharing information leading up to the event, and follow-up emails to gather insights from participants. Don’t forget to reach out to people who registered, but didn’t attend. 

Make sure you have the right setup for a successful event. Create a dedicated microsite or landing page for event registration and information. Connect registration forms to your email marketing software, so registrants are automatically added to your contact list. Choose a streaming platform your team is comfortable using, and arrange training for anyone responsible for the tech aspects of the online event.

Be prepared for post-event website visits by making relevant information easy to find on your website or dedicated microsite. 

5. Go Mobile

With mobile usage growing every day, it’s important for organizations to have websites and donation platforms that work on a variety of mobile devices. Prioritize responsive design and the user experience to better engage site visitors.

Nonprofit organizations will need to continue adapting to new societal norms. Optimizing your digital presence, fine-tuning your communication methods, and creating virtual events can help your nonprofit continue its mission into next year and beyond.