Learn more about the benefits of digital marketing for your nonprofit

5 Ways Digital Marketing Can Help Your Nonprofit Thrive

Your nonprofit champions a noble cause that needs attention from the public to get donations.

The best way to get more eyes on your organization is to craft a brand identity and leverage digital channels to market yourself.

That being said, the days of needing to buy a billboard or a full-page newspaper ad to get noticed are over. Digital marketing is the new standard for raising brand awareness, and your nonprofit should leverage the many digital channels at your disposal. All you need to get started is your computer and a nonprofit marketing plan. Let’s explore what digital marketing can do for your nonprofit and which channels are available for nonprofits to use.

The advantages of digital marketing for nonprofits

Before we discuss different digital marketing channels, let’s review what digital marketing can do for your nonprofit. With digital outreach strategies, your organization can:

1. Raise awareness for your mission

The first step in convincing prospective donors that your cause is worth their support is educating them about your mission. With digital marketing, your nonprofit can spread critical information about your initiatives so that your community understands your nonprofit’s purpose. Your digital marketing materials should:

  • Stress the urgency of your cause
  • Feature beneficiaries and their stories
  • Explain what your nonprofit is doing to help

The Internet is the world’s foremost information hub, so it should be your go-to channel to educate people. It can take time for your online content to get substantial viewership, but with access to the nearly 5 billion people logged on every day, you’re bound to reach readers curious about your cause.

2. Engage potential supporters

Once you’ve educated community members about your mission, your job is to convince potential supporters to get involved with your initiatives. Digital marketing allows you to share donation appeals far past your local community and supporter base. For instance, you could acquire a new donor in a different state simply by posting a donation appeal on your social media feed.

Another advantage digital marketing has over traditional tactics, such as print ads or telemarketing, is that it’s easy to integrate content across different channels and streamline the donor journey. Instead of sending a flurry of direct-mail flyers and mail-in gift envelopes, simply link to your website’s donation page in your social media bio. This solution is more user-friendly and convenient for both you and your potential donors, no matter which channel they encounter you on first.

3. Reach beneficiaries

Besides using digital marketing to collect donations, your nonprofit can also advance its mission by connecting with new beneficiaries. By sharing about your organization’s programs and their tangible impact online, people in need of your services can find your nonprofit more easily. Additionally, digital channels help interested parties bypass engagement barriers, such as physical distance or schedule conflicts, by linking directly to your virtual contact information.

4. Connect with other nonprofits and businesses

Your organization thrives off of connections within your community, and that includes like-minded businesses and nonprofits. Many socially responsible businesses partner with nonprofits to make a difference, and digital marketing materials can get you in contact with each other. Likewise, if there’s a nonprofit in your area that has similar goals and target audiences, you could throw a joint fundraiser to engage each others’ supporter bases.

5. Assert thought leadership

People want to support a reputable nonprofit, so establishing your credibility and knowledge is crucial. Informing people about your achievements, sharing the stories of happy beneficiaries and donors, and associating with other nonprofit thought leaders will convince your audience that you know what you’re talking about! Displaying this information is easier online, where you can post links to collaborations, interviews, and milestones.

Types of digital marketing for nonprofits

Now that you understand the main benefits of digital marketing, it’s time to create a marketing plan. To strategize efficiently, it helps to leverage a combination of the digital marketing tools at your disposal, which may include:

  • Your website: As the online hub for your nonprofit, a well-designed website should house all of the facts that turn casual web surfers into donors. For instance, a potential donor can browse through your site to assess your credibility, understand your mission, and ultimately make a donation, all from looking at your website’s content.
  • Social media: Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter were designed to help you connect with like-minded people. Even if you don’t go viral, you can still leverage these sites to access your supporters’ networks, post educational content like infographics, and advertise your fundraisers.
  • Google Ad Grants: You can imagine that the most popular website in the world is one of the best places to advertise your nonprofit. And, with Google Ad Grants, you can claim $10,000 of search engine advertising space for free every month. Microsoft offers a similar program for its network of search engines.
  • Email: Even if you’re a beginner to digital marketing, you’ve likely had experience with email already. It’s one of the best ways to instantly deliver newsletters and fundraising appeals to your supporters.
  • Search engine optimized (SEO) content: Your nonprofit can leverage the search engine results page’s visibility, even without a Google Ad Grant. By using tactics to boost your website’s SEO value, your site can climb the ranks on the search engine results page and get more attention.

The key to running a successful digital marketing campaign through any of these channels is to make data-driven decisions. In fact, NPOInfo lists marketing data as some of the most important metrics a nonprofit should monitor. Before you launch your digital marketing content, ensure your nonprofit CMS and CRM platforms are equipped with reporting tools that can gauge the success of your outreach efforts. Then, use your findings to address your campaign’s weaknesses and make necessary improvements.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, you’re excited about the potential benefits that go along with digital marketing. If you need guidance on your strategy, consider working with a nonprofit digital marketing agency. According to Fifty & Fifty, these agencies offer services such as graphic design, online ad campaign management, social media content creation, and more. Whether you hire outside help or venture into digital marketing on your own, create materials with your mission in mind, and you’ll go far!

Matching Gift Operational Stats: Insights From Top Nonprofits

Matching Gift Operational Stats: Insights From Top Nonprofits

There are millions of established nonprofit organizations, and the matching gift tactics they employ range from fully built-out strategies to lacking entirely. A recent research report by the Top Nonprofits team shares insights from the leading peer-to-peer focused fundraising groups⁠—specifically focusing on the P2P Top 30.

Matching gift operational study

Here at Getting Attention, we found these findings to be particularly helpful in shedding light on the comprehensive matching gift strategies from some of the most successful organizations overall. That said, we decided to pull a few key matching gift operational stats produced by the study that we’d like to share with you.

Let’s dive in!

100% of the P2P Top 30 organizations employ some sort of matching gift promotion.

The first statistic that we want to note is that of the 30 organizations’ whose practices were analyzed in the matching gift study, every one of them had some sort of matching gift strategy built into their overall fundraising efforts.

Again, the extent to which matching gifts were incorporated certainly varied from one nonprofit to the next, but all 30 fundraisers mentioned matching gifts in at least one component of their efforts.

There is a positive correlation between matching gift strategies and overall fundraising revenue.

Another interesting finding demonstrates that there is a positive correlation between an organization’s matching gift strategies and its total fundraising revenue (inclusive of matching gifts and other funding streams).

In fact, this graph from the study lays out the data, showing that nonprofits’ matching gift scores and their overall revenue tended to increase alongside one another.

Matching gift and overall revenue correlation chart

All in all, it can be inferred that organizations with well-thought-out matching gift promotions are more likely to see elevated nonprofit funding and that those organizations with high levels of fundraising success are more likely to invest in a comprehensive matching gift strategy.

The mean matching gift strategy score for the P2P Top 30 falls at 7/14.

For their recent study, the Top Nonprofits team designed a dedicated scorecard to analyze various elements of participating organizations’ matching gift strategies.

The study references the following criteria⁠—each statement accurately reflecting the organization’s matching gift strategy earns the nonprofit an additional point:

  1. Hosts a dedicated matching gift page on its website.
  2. Mentions matching gifts within the donation form.
  3. Uses an auto-completing company search field.
  4. Includes matching gift information within the confirmation screen.
  5. Has an embedded company information widget on the confirmation screen.
  6. Populates company information widget with employer program details automatically.
  7. Shares direct links to program guidelines + next steps on the confirmation screen.
  8. Sends matching gift emails post-transaction.
  9. Mentions matching gift opportunities in the confirmation email.
  10. Leverages separate, dedicated matching gift email(s).
  11. Triggers matching gift emails using the organization’s own domain and branding.
  12. Links to program guidelines + next steps in follow-up emails.
  13. Sends matching gift emails within 24 hours of the initial donation being made.
  14. Uses matching gift software.

Overall, the average matching gift score for the fundraisers included in the project was calculated to be 7/14⁠. This translates to a ‘B’ on the overall grading scale.

Broken down by software provider, the study also notes that the mean score for organizations utilizing Double the Donation software falls at 8.1/14. Meanwhile, Affinaquest’s HEPdata users earned an average of 4.6 points, and organizations using no software (or a still-unknown provider) averaged 3.3/14.

Only 6.7% of organizations analyzed with the Top Nonprofits scale earned a perfect score.

(And they all used the same software provider: Double the Donation)

Of the nonprofits analyzed in the study (30 total), only 6.7% (or two organizations) earned a perfect score, having met all fourteen designated criteria on the grading scale.

This means that the vast majority of fundraisers have significant opportunities for improving their matching gift efforts⁠—and can easily do so by pursuing the elements missing in their current strategies.

We did note, however, that both organizations earning full marks employed the same matching gift software⁠—Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro.

There are 4 primary locations wherein top nonprofits typically promote matching gifts.

Though there were fourteen criteria laid out in the matching gift study, most matching gift promotional efforts can boil down to four overarching opportunities.

This includes an organization’s dedicated matching gift web page, donation forms, confirmation/thank-you screens, and follow-up email communications.

93.3% of top nonprofits have a matching gift page on their website.

Nearly all nonprofits analyzed in the matching gift study currently provide a dedicated matching gift web page on their website. Even those scoring on the lower end of the scale had online matching gift hubs available on their sites.

In fact, this essential asset is one of the key foundations of a healthy overall matching gift strategy. It provides ample information for donors to learn about the opportunity and how they can get involved. Plus, most organizations link to the resource on their confirmation screen, in follow-up emails, and more.

Many of the P2P-based organizations analyzed also host separate event sites for their most prominent fundraising events. Of these groups, some chose to host their matching gift pages on the event-specific website, while others chose to present theirs on the parent organization site, and others still opted for separate match pages on each.

53.3% mention matching gifts within their donation forms.

Another key practice covered in the Top Nonprofits report indicates that mentioning matching gifts within an organization’s donation forms is essential. The explanation? It’s an excellent opportunity to collect donor employment data. When the form provides context into the why behind employment data inquiries (i.e., to uncover matching gift opportunities), donors are typically happy to oblige.

And according to the matching gift promotions analysis, more than half of the organizations in the study integrated this tip into their practices.

Like just about every other aspect of nonprofit matching gift marketing, the ways in which they did so differed. This ranged from short and sweet labels marking the optional data fields for employer matching information to summaries of matching gifts and the benefits that come with program participation.

83.3% highlight matching gifts on their confirmation screens.

Following the donation form itself is typically a gift confirmation screen. And according to the study, the majority of leading nonprofits use this chance to promote matching gifts. However, the extent of the confirmation page promotional efforts varies widely.

For example, some organizations offered single-sentence mentions that encouraged donors to pursue the opportunity on their own. The fundraiser may prompt individual donors to contact their company’s HR department to find out if their employer participates.

However, other nonprofits took a more advanced approach. These teams provided company-specific program guidelines and eligibility criteria and even direct links to online submission forms. This allows the donor to kick off the matching gift process from the initial thank-you screen with just one click!

While the former is better than lacking matching gift mentions altogether, the latter technique really works to simplify matching gifts for donors and ultimately aims to drive more matches to completion.

16.7% do not include matching gifts on their donation forms nor their confirmation screens.

Unfortunately, a number of organizations (luckily, a small number) did not include matching gift information in their donation forms or their confirmation screens. This ultimately means that the fundraisers do not have an easy way to collect employment information during the giving process, nor do they offer instant next steps after an individual submits their gift.

This could cause an organization to miss out on available matching gifts. Because remember: more than 26 million individuals work for companies that offer matching gift initiatives. Yet 78% of the match-eligible segment has no idea that they qualify for such a program.

Matching gift promotion opportunities

For nonprofits that fall into this group, incorporating matching gifts within the giving experience⁠—either directly within, immediately afterward, or, in the best of both worlds, both locations⁠—is a quick and impactful way to ramp up matching gift marketing.

86.6% enlist follow-up emails to remind donors about matching gift opportunities.

Once the donation process itself is complete, most organizations took the time (or, more likely, triggered automations) to follow up with donors regarding matching gifts. These typically fell into one of two categories: mentions of matching gifts within a more general confirmation or acknowledgment email or dedicated, separate email focused on matching gift opportunities and how to get involved. And in the best cases, some combination of both!

According to the study, however, not all follow-ups necessarily hold the same value. In fact, the report outlines tips and tricks for creating optimized matching gift messages, which include using the organization’s own email domain and branding, personalizing the contents with employer-specific information, and more. And the most strategic nonprofits utilize emails that provide direct links to the recipients’ online submission portals, empowering donors to launch the matching gift process right from the email.

10% highlight matching gifts in confirmation emails and separate follow-up messages.

Though 86.6% of organizations follow up with donors about matching gift opportunities post-transaction (using some combination of confirmation emails that highlight matching gifts and separate matching gift messaging), only 10% of participating nonprofits incorporated matching gifts in both types of email communications.

Why does this matter? Well, the more opportunities a donor has to be informed and reminded about matching gifts, the higher the chances are that they complete their end of the matching process. Another common roadblock among fundraisers that enlist only confirmation emails to mention matching gifts is that donors are more likely to skim and discard the message without the reader even getting to the part about matching gifts. That’s a missed opportunity for donors and nonprofits alike!

Of those that send matching gift emails post-transaction, 52% do so within 24 hours of donors first contributing.

Another finding we saw in the study is that when it comes to following up on match-eligible donations, timeliness matters. In fact, one of the key criteria included in the matching gift scorecard asks whether the organization sends matching gift emails in the first 24 hours after the initial donor contributes.

And of the organizations that have enlisted matching gift emails, more than half do, in fact, meet this standard. The report even highlights that many organizations’ triggered their first matching emails within minutes of the donor clicking “submit” on their gift!

Not to mention, a separate compilation of matching gift operational stats from Double the Donation indicates that match reminder emails sent within 24 hours of an initial donation result in a 53% open rate. That’s more than 2-3 times higher than the average nonprofit email open rate⁠—inferring that donors are more likely to engage with the content when sent in a timely manner.

73.3% of the Top 30 organizations use Double the Donation’s tools.

Organizations analyzed within the Top Nonprofits study of the P2P Top 30 can be divided into four categories based on software usage.

At the time of the report, 73.3% employ Double the Donation’s matching gift automation solution, 360MatchPro. Meanwhile, 16.7% use HEPdata tools, and 3.3% use Amply software. The remaining 6.7% of organizations did not seem to use any dedicated matching gift tools.

The following chart from the report helps visualize the findings:

Matching gift operational stats - software usage

So what does this finding imply? More top-earning nonprofit fundraisers are trusting Double the Donation to empower their matching gift efforts than any other provider.

Not to mention, Double the Donation users scored more highly on the matching gift score chart overall compared to users of alternative software solutions.

Wrapping Up

By analyzing the matching gift operational stats of top nonprofits, we can gain insights into best practices to follow and make a note of emerging trends in matching gift fundraising. From there, organizations like yours can learn from others’ successes and identify growth opportunities—then pursue those areas more effectively.

Interested in learning more about top matching gift strategies and best practices? Check out these additional resources to dive deeper:

  • The Matching Gift Research Report [From Top Nonprofits]. Check out the full study here! We referenced some of our favorite matching gift operational stats in this guide. However, the complete research report shares in-depth analysis of thirty leading nonprofit fundraisers that you won’t want to miss.
  • 14 Important Questions to Ask About Matching Gifts. Got questions? We have answers⁠. Explore the basics of corporate matching gifts and how to leverage the opportunity for your team in this guide. The more you know, the better you can optimize your nonprofit’s efforts to drive results.
  • 19 Matching Gift Companies with Impactful Programs. Get familiar with some of the most prominent matching gift programs and see if your donors work for these companies. View guidelines and initiatives for employers like General Electric, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and more.

Make the most of the matching gift opportunity with Double the Donation. 

Learn everything you need to know about digital marketing for nonprofits in this guide.

Digital Marketing for Nonprofits: A Complete Guide

Pretty much everything takes place on the internet these days: shopping, socializing, and even (you guessed it!) supporting charities. That’s why digital marketing for nonprofits is non-negotiable nowadays.

With the vast majority of people online, online marketing is one of the smartest ways to connect with new and existing supporters. Any nonprofit hoping to stand out among competitors, drive donations, and ultimately thrive in a digital-first world needs to spend time curating an online strategy.

At Getting Attention, we work with nonprofits to amplify their missions through the Google Ad Grant, which is a form of nonprofit marketing. We have a pretty solid grasp of what effective digital marketing for nonprofits can do for causes like yours, which is why we’re here to help!

To help you establish your digital presence, we’ll walk through everything you need to know. Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or brand new to the game, there’s something for everyone. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Taking a smart approach to nonprofit digital marketing will empower you to expand your online presence and drive more support for your cause. Let’s start things off with the essentials.

Get a free consultation to talk about how Google Ads can support digital marketing for nonprofits.
This section defines digital marketing for nonprofits.

What is digital marketing for nonprofits?

Nonprofit digital marketing refers to all the online outreach strategies organizations use to promote their causes to current and prospective supporters. It involves any processes used to attract donors, engage volunteers, and drive mission awareness online.

Common digital marketing channels nonprofits use include websites, social media, texting, and email. Nonprofits typically employ multiple outlets to promote their causes to as many individuals as possible, which is a strategy known as multichannel marketing.

To properly allocate their budgets to the most effective channels, a nonprofit’s marketing team will typically create a document known as a marketing plan. Within this document, they’ll outline the organization’s goals, branding standards, key performance indicators, core messaging, and tone.

There are a lot of advantages of digital marketing for nonprofits.

Why is digital marketing important for nonprofits?

As nonprofit marketers, we all know that establishing an online presence is vital to our success, but why exactly is that so important? How does promoting your cause online help push your mission forward?

Let’s explore the common benefits you can expect from a strong digital marketing strategy for your nonprofit.

Increase brand awareness.

Your current and prospective donors are already online every day, scrolling through social media, reading emails, and browsing Google. Establishing your online presence allows you to connect with these individuals and meet them where they are.

Nonprofit digital marketing is one of the easiest ways to fit into supporters’ everyday lives. Imagine this: someone’s scrolling through Facebook. Among the posts from family and friends, they see where one of their friends shared your nonprofit’s post about a new project you launched. They’re curious, click a link in the post, and explore your organization’s website to learn more. After reading about the program, they feel inspired to help make your project a success, and they sign up to volunteer.

That’s the power of nonprofit digital marketing! You can expand your audience almost effortlessly, especially thanks to the power of social sharing.

Break down geographical barriers.

One major benefit of digital marketing for nonprofits is that it allows you to connect with supporters across the globe. 

People are more accessible than ever before! You can easily post on social media, and it’ll instantly populate on supporters’ feeds. No need to wait for direct mail to reach them.

In comparison, traditional marketing is restricted by geography, and it’s costly and labor-intensive to launch a global marketing campaign. Digital platforms empower you to avoid those restrictions altogether!

Raise fundraising revenue.

Online donations are growing each year. In fact, overall online revenue increased by 23% over the past year. That incredible growth stems from missions like yours proactively promoting their work online!

For starters, your website allows you to accept online donations in the first place. You can drive users here across all of your digital outreach.

Then, channels like email allow you to promote your website’s fundraising opportunities to engage existing donors. By using segmentation, you can deliver opportunities that specific groups are likely to be interested in based on their past giving history.

Social media allows you to cast a wide net and connect with new donor prospects. This is especially true when current donors share your posts and encourage their like-minded friends to donate!

And with platforms like Google Ads, you can tap into the billions using Google every day and choose keywords that target donors who are ready to give.

Recruit more volunteers.

Volunteers are some of your most loyal supporters. They’re the ones working on the ground to make your mission possible, and online marketing for nonprofits can play a vital role in boosting recruitment. Promote volunteer opportunities in your email newsletters, on social media, and via text.

Not to mention, the digital space opens up more volunteer opportunities than ever before. You can get creative and even have them do something as simple as partake in a peer-to-peer fundraiser.

Promote your services.

Connecting with beneficiaries is an important part of your success. Effective digital marketing for nonprofits allows you to connect with your beneficiaries and make sure they’re aware of your services. It also allows you to explain the work you’re doing to supporters.

Start by creating a page on your website that explains your services. Then, you can use different channels to promote this page and get your services in front of the right audiences.

For example, let’s say you want to boost adoptions for your animal shelter or promote your vaccination services. Google Ads are a great opportunity for amplifying this. You can choose relevant keywords like “adopt a cat” or “animal vaccination services.” Then, use geotargeting to promote your services to users in your area.

Make the most of your marketing budget.

If your organization is like most, you’re likely operating on a limited budget. It’s no secret that nonprofits are usually challenged to do more with less. The great part of leaning into digital marketing is that it has fairly low overhead costs, especially when you tap into marketing grants like the Google Ad Grant.

Not to mention, some nonprofit digital marketing outlets have an incredible return on investment (ROI).

Our Google Ad Grant Impact Report found that nonprofits see an average ROI of $4.78 for every dollar they spend on paid search ads. View-through revenue (AKA revenue from donors who saw but didn’t click on an ad) accounts for 35% of all giving sourced from digital ads.

With incredible numbers like that, it’s not hard to see why so many nonprofits invest in digital marketing!

Several channels can be useful for nonprofit digital marketing.

Common Types of Digital Marketing for Nonprofits

Now that you understand why digital outreach is vital to any modern organization’s success, you’re ready to dive into common channels.

We recommend taking a multichannel approach to nonprofit digital marketing, meaning that you should choose multiple outlets to promote your cause. While it’s tempting to choose all available outlets, it’s best to experiment and figure out what works best. That way, you won’t spread your efforts too thin.

Crafting meaningful outreach for each platform’s audience will allow you to grow your online presence more effectively. As you read about the different channels you can use, think carefully about which outlets will help you achieve your mission’s goals!

These are the 6 most important nonprofit digital marketing strategies.

Search Ads

Of all the digital marketing methods, search advertising is certainly one of the most effective ones! Using Google Ads, you can amplify your website’s content for mission-centric keywords.

With this form of paid advertising, you choose the keywords you want to rank for and develop ads that promote specific content on your website. Then, Google will place your ads in strategic locations on the search results pages for the terms you bid on. Note that Google rotates through ads from different organizations, especially for competitive terms.

You have complete control over your ads, including everything from your ad copy to what landing pages you’ll promote. With a thoughtful Google Ads management strategy, you can:

  • Target people who are actively searching for your cause. Target keywords directly related to your mission, like “donate to ocean conservation” or “save the ocean.” That way, anyone who’s searching for your mission online will come across your website.
  • Share any content that will push your mission forward. You can educate people about your cause, share your volunteer registration form, boost donation opportunities, or amplify anything that’s important to your cause.
  • Connect with prospects in your service area. Use geotargeting to ensure your ads only appear for users in certain locations. That way, your content is only served to users who will find it useful.

Here's an example of search advertising, which is a specific nonprofit digital marketing strategy.

Best of all, you can leverage this nonprofit digital marketing method for free with the Google Ad Grant. When you apply for Google Grants and are approved, you’ll receive $10,000 in free funding every month to spend on paid ads.

Although, there’s a considerable learning curve that comes with the program. An agency (like Getting Attention) can step in to help out. Our experts will work with you to understand your nonprofit’s digital marketing goals. Then, we’ll craft a strategy that launches your nonprofit toward those objectives. From applying to the program to crafting your ads, we’ve got you covered!

Chat with our team about leveraging Google Ads and how it can support your nonprofit's digital marketing strategy.

Email Marketing for Nonprofits

When you first think about digital marketing for nonprofits, your mind might immediately go to email. Email is the bread and butter of most nonprofits’ online marketing strategies, because you can send customized outreach and send outreach directly to supporters’ inboxes.

Just like search ads, email accounts for an incredible amount of online revenue, clocking in at 15% of all nonprofit revenue.

As you add email to your nonprofit’s digital marketing repertoire, keep these tips in mind:

  • Create a compelling subject line. When someone’s scrolling through their inbox, your subject line will be what either reels them in or prompts them to delete the email without even opening it. Take time to craft a subject line that piques recipients’ interest and explains the content of your email.
  • Think through your design. Whenever someone opens your email, make sure it’s clearly associated with your cause and is organized effectively. Start by branding each email to your organization with elements like your logo, official fonts, and brand colors. Then, organize the email’s content using visual hierarchy techniques to draw readers’ eyes to important content.
  • Feature compelling content. Kwala’s guide to email newsletters explains that “the beauty of a nonprofit newsletter is that you can customize it to fit your organization.” Test out different types of content, like beneficiary stories, announcements about upcoming events, relevant news articles, and milestone updates.

However you approach your strategy, email is a must when it comes to digital marketing for nonprofits. These suggestions are only just a glimpse into email best practices.

Nonprofit Website Marketing

Digital marketing for nonprofits revolves around one core asset: your website.

A well-designed website will be a primary resource for anyone engaging with your cause online. It’s where supporters will get directly involved in your work by donating, signing up to volunteer, registering for an event, and reading educational materials about your cause.

With all that rides on an effective website, you’ll want to take plenty of time optimizing it to provide a valuable user experience. Whether you’re designing yours from scratch or overhauling your existing design, keep these tips in mind to craft a persuasive site:

  • Secure your website with HTTPS. Securing your site is a must for any website that collects private information. It’s also one of the Google Ad Grant website requirements. You want your donors and other supporters to trust you with their sensitive information, like payment details. Acquiring an HTTPS certificate will allow your site to encrypt any data transferred on your site. Explore our linked website requirements guide above to learn the exact steps for acquiring an HTTPS certificate.
  • Optimize your design for mobile users. Use a mobile-responsive content management system (CMS) for nonprofits. That way, your content will automatically resize for mobile users. You’ll also want to quicken your site speed by compressing images and removing extraneous HTML. A slow site speed is annoying for any user, especially those on mobile devices.
  • Design for accessibility. You want every prospect to be able to interact with your website, so make sure your site adheres to the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). You’ll need to take steps like adding alternative text to all your images and ensuring your site’s colors have a sufficient contrast ratio.

Once you’ve perfected your design, you can start to drive more traffic to your website by promoting it via search ads, email, social media, and any other nonprofit digital marketing outlet.

Social Media Marketing for Nonprofits

When social media first surfaced as a nonprofit digital marketing outlet, organizations would create profiles and post sporadically, hoping that supporters would stumble across their announcements. Today, nonprofits proactively fold social media into their digital marketing plans, sticking to strict posting schedules.

Social media is prominent for so many reasons. For one, it unlocks two-way communication, allowing you to interact directly with supporters in ways you can’t with other outlets. For example, you can like supporters’ posts about your cause and respond to comments on your page.

It’s also an incredible way to leverage social sharing and visual storytelling, thanks to its multimedia features. You can even tap into nonprofit digital marketing strategies like influencer marketing (which isn’t solely for for-profit businesses or social-media-obsessed teenagers).

A Breakdown of Different Social Media Channels

Facebook pioneered the way for nonprofits, acting as the first real social media outlet organizations could leverage. Now, nonprofits are using Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to connect with their audiences. Any of those can be a valuable addition to your nonprofit’s digital marketing strategy.

As you get started, keep these pros and cons in mind for each platform:

  • Facebook has more than 2.96 billion monthly active users, making it the most popular platform. It’s great for long-form content, storytelling, and impactful multimedia like videos and photos. Content on this platform tends to be longer-lasting than other platforms, and Facebook offers some unique fundraising features, like Birthday Fundraisers. However, organic reach has dropped substantially compared to what it used to be.
  • Instagram has more than 1.3 billion monthly active users. Much like Facebook, it offers fundraising features like donate stickers for Stories and “support” buttons on profiles. You can post interactive Stories and lean into visual storytelling. Be aware that there are a lot of features users can leverage like Stories, Reels, and paid ads, which can be overwhelming if you’re not particularly tech-savvy.
  • Twitter is great for short-form content and shareability thanks to its retweet functionality. Plus, hashtags and trends make it easy for users to find trending topics. The downside is that tweets age out quickly. Thousands of tweets are published each minute, flooding people’s timelines with content.
  • TikTok is perfect for reaching younger audiences and inciting large-scale movements. It’s great for visual storytelling, trends, and shareability. However, this platform often requires a unique approach for nonprofits that want to incite change and maintain a professional image.

This chart breaks down the audiences, pros, and types of content for each social media channel used in digital marketing for nonprofits.

Choosing the right social media platforms will help launch your nonprofit’s digital marketing strategy forward. For the best results, consider the types of messages you share across each, and adapt your outreach to fit each platform’s audience.

Video Marketing for Nonprofits

As humans, we’re naturally drawn to captivating visuals. In fact, we process images much quicker than text. Not to mention, 91% of individuals prefer visual content to written content.

From TikTok’s meteoric launch in popularity to video publication tools on traditional social media, video storytelling has quickly become commonplace in digital marketing for nonprofits. As you test out this strategy, keep these tips in mind:

  • Share inspiring stories. Video allows you to put a face to your cause. By sharing testimonials from beneficiaries or volunteers, you can give supporters a peek into how your organization impacts lives.
  • Make the most of the first few seconds. Your videos need to capture viewers’ attention right off the bat. Billions of videos are published every day, so there’s a lot of competition for your supporters’ time. Create some sort of hook, question, or teaser to reel people in from the start.
  • Have a clear call-to-action (CTA). As with any nonprofit digital marketing strategy, you’ll need to provide clear next steps for supporters. Remember, your videos might be entertaining pieces of content that showcase your cause, but they must ultimately serve a bigger purpose. Display your CTA toward the end of the video, prompting your audience to donate, volunteer, or support your cause somehow.

The best part is that video marketing doesn’t have to break the bank. It can be as simple as picking up your smartphone and recording. Then, you can use video tools like Promo, Biteable, or Canva to craft beautiful videos for your nonprofit digital marketing.

Content Marketing for Nonprofits

Content creation and blogging are valuable nonprofit digital marketing assets for any organization. Well-written content empowers you to educate your audience about your mission, leverage SEO to bring in new leads, and tap into free PR when people share your content online.

Creating digital content for your cause can help you drive more value through your marketing. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Source ideas from volunteers, donors, and staff members. These individuals are closest to your cause and might have great ideas for what your audience would be interested in reading.
  • Vary your content types. For instance, your team might create detailed blog posts, informative ebooks, eye-catching infographics, or case studies showcasing success stories.
  • Consider your content’s design. How you present the content is almost as important as the content itself! Be conservative with fonts and colors to make content readable. You’ll also want to make your work scannable when possible by using headings, bulleted lists, and visual hierarchy techniques.

Informative and inspiring content can be a smart addition to your outreach. However, content creation can be time-consuming. Think carefully about how it plays into your nonprofit’s digital marketing strategy, so you don’t overexert your team!

This section walks through the key steps of creating a nonprofit digital marketing strategy.

Crafting A Nonprofit Digital Marketing Strategy

Take the time to craft your nonprofit digital marketing strategy carefully. From defining your exact goals to choosing the platforms you’ll use, there’s a lot you’ll need to do.

Remember, digital marketing for nonprofits is all about learning to do more with less. Being smart with your approach will allow you to connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Let’s walk through a few tips and tricks to keep in mind as you get started.

1. Set your digital marketing goals.

As with any endeavor, your nonprofit needs clear goals before investing time and money into its digital marketing strategy. What do you want to accomplish, and what will success look like after you’ve implemented your strategy?

Instead of choosing an arbitrary goal, choose one with concrete metrics attached. A good rule of thumb is to avoid non-definite adjectives like “more.” Consider these examples:

Goal #1: Increase social media engagement to acquire more volunteers.

Goal #2: Grow your nonprofit’s Instagram following by 500 people, and use that following to acquire 75 new volunteers by the end of the year.

Notice how there are clear metrics attached to the second goal, making it much clearer what success will look like.

Creating SMART Goals

To create goals that push your mission forward, we recommend using the SMART method, which stands for:

  • Specific: Be specific about the channels and methods you’ll use. For example, the first goal is arbitrary, saying that you’ll use any social media platform to boost volunteers. The second goal is more specific in that it explicitly says your team will grow its Instagram following and use that following to source new volunteers.
  • Measurable: Ensure there are clear metrics attached to your goal for measuring success. Thinking back to our example, metrics for success would include 300 new Instagram followers and 75 new volunteers acquired through that list.
  • Attainable: Don’t be too ambitious with your goal. You’ll want to make sure it’s actually attainable. Otherwise, you risk demotivating your team when they don’t reach your goal. Look at past performance as a starting point for your goal, and go from there!
  • Relevant: How will your goal support your mission and create additional value for your work? In the examples above, you’ll grow your volunteer list, increasing the power behind your programs.
  • Time-Based: Set an end date for your goal, whether that’s by the end of the year or by the end of a specific campaign. This will create a sense of urgency for your team.

This graphic breaks down a SMART goal example for nonprofit digital marketing.

By following this framework, you’ll create effective goals that lay a solid foundation for your nonprofit’s digital marketing strategy. Then, you’ll have a much clearer picture of the types of messages you’ll need to use to achieve these goals.

2. Craft the messages you want to share.

What key information do you want your audiences to know, remember, and share about your organization? Defining your key messages before pushing campaigns live is important for a few reasons:

  • Key messages keep your entire organization aligned. No matter who’s creating marketing collateral, they’ll be on the same page about what they need to say and how to say it.
  • Key messages help target different audiences. Your nonprofit interacts with different groups of people. You likely communicate with donors, volunteers, beneficiaries, and your general community. You can craft key messages for each audience to make sure you’re targeting the right audiences effectively.

When it comes to digital marketing for nonprofits, everyone on your team needs to know how to convey your organization consistently. Crafting key messages is how you’ll accomplish that.

An Example of A Key Message

So that you can see how this step looks in action, let’s walk through a quick example. Let’s say you’re leading the charge on digital marketing for a youth homeless shelter.

Key message: We protect the welfare of youth in our community through housing, hot meals, warm showers, mentoring, mental healthcare, and college admissions support.

  • For volunteers: You can work on the ground floor to hand out hot meals and collect resources from the community.
  • For donors: You can help us protect the welfare of our community’s youth by donating to housing, hot meals, water costs, mental health services, or college admissions support.
  • For youth mentors: You can provide mentoring to at-risk youth, giving them a familiar face as they overcome life’s obstacles.

Each of these key messages has the same purpose and underlying tone. They’re simply tailored to motivate each group.

3. Choose the right nonprofit digital marketing outlets.

With your key messages and marketing ideas ready to go, it’s time to choose the outlets that will best support your mission.

Remember, a multichannel approach is the smartest way to maximize your reach. Choose the outlets that make the most sense for your message and goals. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you do that:

  • Think through the audience for each platform. For example, TikTok is great for inspiring younger audiences, while email will help you capture the attention of slightly older audience members.
  • Tailor your message to each platform. It’s not enough to toss up the same message on every platform and call it a day either. This general approach won’t get you very far. Maybe you’ll use Facebook to share video content, a blog post to share a testimonial, email to send regular updates, and text messages to solicit donations.

Overall, think through which nonprofit digital marketing platforms you’ll use to reach the primary audience for your key messages. If you’re investing in paid advertising, give your team plenty of time to get set up. Then, strategize how you’ll adjust your key messages to suit each channel, whether paid or organic.

4. Start promoting your cause.

It’s time to push your messages live! Regardless of which channels and strategies you choose, spend plenty of time planning before moving forward. Here are some questions to ask as you prepare:

  • When will you send your nonprofit’s digital marketing messages?
  • Who will be responsible for carrying out these activities?
  • How much do we plan to spend on digital marketing for our nonprofit?
  • How does this support our organization’s overarching goals?

Pushing your messages live is a major turning point for your strategy. It’s when all your hard work comes to fruition.

As you start publishing your messages, remember to engage with supporters. After all, the ability to interact is the beauty of online marketing for nonprofits!

5. Track results by measuring KPIs.

As you gain momentum, it’s time to start analyzing results. Note that it might take time to gain traction, especially if you’re brand new to digital marketing for nonprofits.

Routine reporting will help you track performance and make adjustments to reach your goals. While there’s an abundance of metrics you can track, here are some common ones to kickstart your brainstorming:

  • Engagement KPIs: likes, time on page, open rate, bounce rate, comments, and video views
  • Brand Awareness KPIs: website traffic, keyword rankings, social shares, tags and mentions, referral traffic, and impressions
  • Conversion KPIs: online donations, online volunteer sign-ups, digital event registrations, cost of acquisition, number of quality leads, and number of new social media followers

When it comes to online marketing for nonprofits, you'll want to track the performance metrics in this chart.

We recommend establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) from the very start, so you can make sure you have proper tracking in place. Think back to the very first step as you choose your KPIs, ensuring the metrics you choose correlate with your goals.

Note that you’ll need to implement tracking tools to monitor most metrics. For example, social media comes with built-in tools, email requires the use of email marketing tools, and Google Ads requires you to use Google Analytics. Some analytics resources are free (like Google Analytics with a Google for Nonprofits account) while you’ll need to pay for others.

Ultimately, monitoring your metrics will allow you to make the necessary adjustments and ensure your nonprofit’s digital marketing is as impactful as possible. If your email open rates are dwindling, tweak your subject lines. If your Google Ads have a low CTR, experiment with better ad copy.

Let's wrap up with some additional resources about online marketing for nonprofits.

Wrapping Up

Thanks to digital marketing for nonprofits, you have the power to connect with more prospects than ever before. There’s no need to wait for direct mail to reach them anymore when you can send digital communications that instantly arrive in their inboxes or on their social media feeds.

By curating a strong nonprofit digital marketing strategy, you can inspire more supporters than ever before – no matter if they’re in your community or across the globe!

From video marketing to search ads, there are so many ways you can connect with today’s supporters. And if you want to add Google Ads to your marketing arsenal, we’re here to help. Getting Attention’s experts will work with you to understand your nonprofit’s online marketing goals and create a Google Grants management strategy that makes sense for you. Reach out to get started.

While you wait for your free consultation, continue exploring the world of digital marketing for nonprofits with these resources:

Get a consultation to talk about how Google Ads can strengthen digital marketing for your nonprofit.

Learn everything you need to know about nonprofit advertising and explore examples.

Nonprofit Advertising: The Essential Guide (With Examples!)

Chat with Getting Attention to learn more about nonprofit advertising with the Google Ad Grant.

Nonprofits fundraise, launch campaigns, engage with donors, and host events to drive their missions forward. But without a strategic nonprofit advertising plan, charitable organizations can’t sustain that momentum and make meaningful change.

Nonprofit advertising is critical if you want to spread the word about your organization, solicit donations, and reach target audiences. While for-profit businesses can afford traditional advertising channels like billboards and commercials, nonprofits with tight budgets might struggle to inspire support for their causes. Thankfully, nonprofits have little-to-no-cost advertising options at their disposal.

The experts here at Getting Attention understand the importance of a well-developed nonprofit advertising plan. Our marketing team is here to champion your nonprofit digital campaigns, keeping costs low and success high.

To share some tips and tricks, we’ll walk you through the following topics:

Effective nonprofit advertising can help your organization increase awareness and accomplish more for your mission. Ready to jump in? Let’s start with a simple overview.

Let's walk through the basics of nonprofit advertising.

Nonprofit Advertising Basics

If you’re new to the nonprofit advertising landscape, there’s a lot to learn! Before you can craft a stellar ad for your nonprofit, you need to understand the fundamentals. Let’s take a look at the basic information you need to know!

What is Nonprofit Advertising?

Nonprofit advertising is the activities and channels an organization uses to spread awareness for its mission and projects. The ultimate goal is to raise more donations, grow a following, and bring attention to the cause.

Each year, corporations spend billions of dollars to promote products and services using advertising channels like billboards and tv commercials. However, advertising for nonprofits looks a little different.

The idea behind nonprofit advertising is that you’re advertising a mission, which isn’t a tangible product that buyers (or donors, in this case) can buy. What’s more, nonprofits are more limited in resources, so they have to be much more careful in how they allocate their money. That often means that their advertising budgets are limited, which makes the need for low-cost or free options vital.

The Difference Between Nonprofit Advertising and Nonprofit Marketing

At first glance, the terms “marketing” and “advertising” may seem synonymous. However, there are some notable differences.

Mission-driven marketing includes all of the strategies and channels an organization uses to amplify its mission, solicit donations, and attract supporters. Meanwhile, nonprofit advertising is a very specific type of marketing. It refers to the paid channels and strategies an organization uses.

As part of your nonprofit marketing plan, you’ll need to document how your team will promote its cause, balancing paid and free channels appropriately. This will enable your team to create promotional materials, stay consistent with branding and goals, and reach your target audience without breaking the budget.

While making this plan, your team should decide between outbound and inbound marketing tactics:

  • Outbound marketing involves reaching out to the public using paid channels (i.e., advertising) to get them interested in your organization. Examples include print advertising, social media ads, pay-per-click advertising, radio ads, and telemarketing.
  • Inbound marketing focuses on creating and distributing unpaid content to draw people into your mission. Inbound tactics can include search engine optimization, earned social media, blogging, and content production.

This chart breaks down the differences between inbound and outbound marketing for nonprofits.

According to research from HubSpot, 75% of companies that focus on inbound marketing find their strategies effective, while 62% of companies that focus on outbound marketing have effective strategies. We can assume most nonprofits follow suit.

In other words, you need to think carefully about your approach. To strike a balance, we recommend using inbound tactics like optimizing your website for SEO or nurturing leads with email marketing. Then, you can advertise your mission using your optimized content.

Including Advertising in Your Nonprofit’s Budget

One of the limiting factors of advertising is budgetary constraints. While traditionally expensive, advertising platforms recognize the budgetary challenges nonprofits face, so they’ll often provide discounted and occasionally free nonprofit advertising.

For instance, Google provides eligible nonprofits with $10,000 in free advertising credits to spend on Google Ads each month. Thanks to affordable options like the Google Ad Grant, the nonprofit industry has seen a massive shift toward online fundraising and advertising over the past few years.

According to Nonprofits Source, spending on digital ads increased by 19% in 2021, with nonprofits only spending $0.06 for every $1 raised online.

Advertising has an astoundingly high ROI for nonprofits, making it easy to get everyone at your organization on board. In any case, it’s important to establish a detailed budget before each fiscal year to make sure you’re not overspending before you start to see a positive ROI.

Try to allocate between 5-15% of your budget to marketing. As you build this budget, consider applying for grants (like the Google Grant) to alleviate expenses.

Nonprofit advertising offers some awesome benefits for your mission.

The Benefits of Effective Nonprofit Advertising

By crafting a smart nonprofit advertising plan, you’ll experience a ton of great benefits, helping you to generate more results for your cause. When used correctly, here’s what nonprofit advertising can do for you:

  • Raise brand awareness. Nonprofit advertising channels allow your team to reach a broader audience than word-of-mouth alone. Through compelling ads, you can connect with potential supporters and stay front-of-mind for existing donors.
  • Generate high-quality conversions. If your ad is powerful enough, you can convert an ordinary viewer into a valuable supporter. You might shoot for conversions like donations, volunteer sign-ups, contact form completions, event registrations, or shares to social media sites.
  • Grow and maintain thought leadership. Advertising can position your nonprofit as a thought leader in its field. If your nonprofit consistently releases relevant news and industry updates, you’ll become a trusted resource.
  • Major returns on low-cost efforts. As we mentioned, nonprofits tend to see a high return on their outreach efforts, thanks to affordable and free nonprofit advertising options. In fact, our Google Ad Grant Impact Report explains that search ads have an average ROI of $4.78.

Advertising is too good to pass up. Even if you don’t have the time you’d like to dedicate to creating your ads, an expert can step in to help out. For example, the experts at Getting Attention understand everything there is to know about advertising on Google. With low prices, they can help you manage your Ad Grant account and craft winning ads that drive more revenue for your cause.

You won’t be able to accomplish the above without strategic advertisements and a well-crafted plan, though. We’ll explore some steps for crafting winning ads a little later.

Nonprofit advertising has a few obstacles.

The Challenges of Advertising for Nonprofits

Even with these great benefits, there are a few challenges you should familiarize yourself with. Knowing what to expect will help you combat these challenges before they arise:

  • Potentially negative donor reactions. A lot of people already have a bad taste in their mouths thanks to for-profit advertising. Plus, many donors want to see their contributions go directly to your nonprofit’s mission, as opposed to the marketing needed to achieve that mission.
  • Authenticity and establishing connections. Storytelling is a key component of nonprofit marketing that can be lost in advertising if you’re not careful. Make sure you’re producing authentic content that communicates your nonprofit’s story and why it’s vital that viewers get involved.

So, how can you get ahead of these challenges? Start by choosing affordable and free nonprofit advertising channels and strategies that won’t blow your budget out of the water. From here, make sure your ads feature inspirational content in an authentic tone, rather than being too salesy.

Make sure you know the different types of nonprofit advertising.

Types of Nonprofit Advertising

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to nonprofit advertising. What works for one organization might not work for another. For instance, maybe an environmental organization wants to focus on digital advertising to exemplify its mission. Or, maybe a  nonprofit catering to senior citizens would find more success in print and radio advertising.

The good news is that there are plenty of options out there! Let’s explore seven nonprofit advertising channels you can use.

Use these nonprofit advertising channels to spread awareness for your cause.

Google Search and Display Ads

Google Ads are a type of nonprofit advertising that allows nonprofits to create ads for mission-driven keywords.Google Ads allows you to advertise your mission when users search for relevant keywords. Paid search advertisements appear on the search engine results pages corresponding to your chosen keywords on Google. Meanwhile, display advertisements promote your organization to users watching YouTube videos, checking Gmail, or browsing sites within Google’s display network.

The average small business that uses Google Ads spends between $5,000 and $12,000 per month on paid search campaigns. That’s $60,000 to $150,000 of marketing expenses every year.

To make this opportunity more accessible, Google provides eligible nonprofits with a $10,000 monthly stipend to spend on paid search ads. This program is called Google Ad Grants and can be a real game-changer for your nonprofit advertising efforts.

While regular Google Ad accounts must pay per ad-click, Google Ad Grant participants can publish ads for free through the program. These ads enable your nonprofit to appear on Google and get in front of qualified prospects searching for topics related to your mission.

The ideal Google Ad Grant candidate has a high-quality website that effectively serves its audience and promotes its mission. By leveraging Google Ad Grants for nonprofits, your organization can accomplish the following:

  • Drive more traffic to your website
  • Increase online conversions, like donations and volunteer sign-ups
  • Connect with new supporters and retain existing ones
  • Leverage conversion-optimization tools like responsive search ads
  • Analyze and track your campaign performance

As long as your organization stays compliant with the eligibility requirements, your grant will automatically renew each month. For tailored help, feel free to contact our team at Getting Attention. We work with nonprofits to create winning ads that champion their cause and garner meaningful attention.

Social Media Advertising

Consider implementing social media ads for your nonprofit.

According to the 2023 Nonprofit Tech for Good Report, 87% of nonprofits regularly use social media in their digital marketing and fundraising strategies, while 53% of those spend money on social media ads.

There’s a good reason for this! Social media has an incredible reach and is estimated to reach 5.8 billion users worldwide by 2027. Because of this, social media has become a popular platform for connecting with donors and soliciting meaningful support.

Tap into this audience by implementing social media ads in your marketing efforts. The most popular social media channels that offer nonprofit advertising tools include:

  • Instagram: Instagram ads appear throughout the app in users’ feeds, stories, and explore pages. They look similar to normal posts but contain a “sponsored” label. They also have more features than a normal post like links, CTA buttons, and product catalogs. Track Instagram ad performance with insights so you can adjust your strategy to improve over time.
  • Facebook: Facebook offers a range of advertising solutions. You can create and run campaigns, select a target audience, and track performance with easy-to-read reports. Facebook is great for showcasing impact and engaging in conversation with supporters.
  • Twitter: Twitter allows you to choose your target audience and amplify your message. Promoted ads reach a wider group of users. They are the perfect way to share updates and increase visibility.

When using social media to advertise, keep an eye on what’s trending and focus your messaging. Remember that compelling storytelling motivates people to give. Use real stories and photos from the communities that you’ve helped and the impact you’ve had on individuals to drive the point home.

Community Radio

Radio announcements can be a great way to advertise your nonprofit.

Your nonprofit might qualify for free public service announcements on community radio stations. This is thanks to the Federal Communications Commission. They require radio stations to allot a certain amount of radio time to nonprofit organizations.

This type of nonprofit advertising comes with one caveat, though. Your messages should be formatted as announcements rather than ads. In other words, you can’t make direct solicitations.

However, you can inspire action by sharing impact statistics or directing users to your site or social media where they can learn more. If your social media posts or website are optimized, visitors may inevitably click the ‘Donate’ or ‘Volunteer’ button.

Direct Mail and Print Ads

Direct mail and print campaigns can benefit your marketing strategy.Although the world has transitioned into a digital-dominant space, print isn’t dead. Direct mail describes the hard copy requests for funds mailed to your existing supporters and prospects. These solicitations arrive in your supporters’ mailboxes and provide a tangible connection to your organization.

There are plenty of benefits to direct mail and print campaigns, including:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Print campaigns are highly flexible, meaning they’re budget-friendly, too. Most nonprofits can’t afford TV or radio ads. A fractional-page advertisement in the local newspaper is much cheaper.
  • Increased Action: Print is an effective way to spark meaningful action. Most print readers take some form of action after viewing a newspaper ad.
  • Targeted Audiences: Digital marketing appeals to a broad audience that can be inattentive. However, print marketing is targeted to an audience already interested in your mission. Generally, you should only mail newsletters, magazines, or event registrations to subscribed supporters.

An awful lot of people prefer receiving mail from the nonprofits they support. It comes across as more meaningful, even though you’re still advertising your mission.

Retargeted Advertising

With nonprofit advertising platforms, you can leverage retargeted advertising to appeal to likely supporters.

It’s happened to all of us. You’ve shopped online, added a pair of shoes to your cart, and exited the site before placing your order. Within minutes, you received an email or started seeing ads for that same pair of shoes. This is known as retargeted advertising.

Also called remarketing, retargeting is a form of online advertising that enables you to target users with ads based on their interactions with your nonprofit’s website. These ads can work with pretty much any online marketing channel, like social media or email.

While it’s most often used by for-profit companies, nonprofits can leverage the power of retargeted advertising in some impactful ways, such as:

  1. Abandoned donations. Retarget those who left your donation page before actually giving. This strategy works well, because you’re targeting people who were already considering donating. Think about why someone might not have followed through before creating your ad. For example, maybe they didn’t know enough about your cause. In that case, your ad might feature a captivating success story.
  2. Event reminders. Want to drive higher attendance for your upcoming event? Set up a retargeting ad campaign for anyone who doesn’t complete their registration. If someone exits the page to check their schedule before registering, this can be a great reminder to come back.

Using retargeted advertising allows you to achieve a high level of precision when reaching out to prospects. In turn, you can convert more users who were on the fence about supporting your work.

Sponsored Retargeting

Connect with new audiences with your nonprofit advertising by using sponsored retargeting.

Sponsored retargeting is when another business or organization that sponsors your nonprofit purchases ads from you. Often, these ads are co-branded, featuring elements of both the sponsor and nonprofit’s brands.

A company might purchase sponsored retargeting for a couple of reasons:

  1. They want to strengthen their reputation by being associated with your nonprofit.
  2. Their audience aligns with yours, and they want to promote their services directly to your supporters.

As with any corporate philanthropy initiative, the benefits go both ways! By purchasing ads and financially supporting your nonprofit, the sponsor receives the opportunity to connect with your audience and strengthen its reputation. They might share the ads on their platforms, too. This can bring exposure to your nonprofit and its sponsors.

Influencer Ads

When advertising your nonprofit, consider using influencer advertising.

With social media growing in popularity, influencers are becoming more prominent. Influencers typically partner with companies to promote products. Now, those who have an affinity for charitable missions will partner with their favorite nonprofits to promote the causes near to their hearts.

Larger nonprofits might have room in the budget to pay a celebrity or another large-scale influencer. Smaller organizations might do this on a smaller scale by turning to an influencer within their circle, like a board member, politician, or local celebrity.

The reason this type of nonprofit advertising works so well is that influencers have loyal audiences. They’ve built credibility, and their followers trust what they have to say.

To tap into influencer advertising, partner with those who have positive reputations and values that align with your cause. Then, you’ll create co-branded marketing collateral, making it easier for the influencer to share it with their followers.

Follow these steps to create compelling nonprofit ads.

Steps for Creating An Eye-Catching Nonprofit Ad

Your efforts should be ongoing to maintain engagement, bring in consistent donations, and ensure your work is relevant. Here are 6 steps that your team can take to create an effective advertising plan:

These 6 steps will help your team create an effective advertising plan.

1. Determine goals for your nonprofit ads.

A mission statement summarizes why an organization exists, the audience it serves, and how it serves them in a couple of sentences. Your mission statement should guide your team through determining goals and objectives for advertising campaigns.

First, consider what your organization hopes to accomplish. When creating goals, it’s helpful to use the SMART method:

  • Specific: Your goal should be as narrowly-focused as possible. For instance, a specific goal could be, “We will increase subscriptions to our e-newsletter.”
  • Measurable: Goals are useful when you can quantify their success and progress with a metric. If you notice rates dropping, simply adjust your strategies. “We will increase e-newsletter subscriptions by 50%.”
  • Attainable: Don’t set lofty, unrealistic goals. Look at your past fundraising results and aim for a realistic objective. “We will increase e-newsletter subscriptions by 30%.”
  • Relevant: Your goals should be stepping stones to your ultimate mission. Make sure that every goal you set is tied to a broader marketing goal. “We will increase e-newsletter subscriptions by 30% to retain more donors.”
  • Time-based: Objectives should have a deadline and be monitored regularly. “We will increase e-newsletter subscriptions by 30% by the end of the third quarter to retain more donors.”

By using this method, your goals will drive meaningful conversions and support your nonprofit’s mission. Use our SMART Goals Template to start planning your advertising goals today.

2. Define your target audience.

Your target audience consists of the people you hope to reach through your marketing efforts. For each campaign or event you plan, you should have a specific audience in mind. This audience can include new donors, existing donors, lapsed donors, major donors, and more. Start by collecting the following data to determine your target market:

  • Age: By dividing your ad strategy into specific age groups, you can ensure that you’re getting through to the right audience. A study by the USPS found that ads designed to elicit an emotional response were more effective with younger consumers, while those that describe a product’s function, especially in print format, were relatively more effective with older adults.
  • Location: Implement geo-targeting to provide the most relevant ads to people in your area. Geo-targeting is the practice of targeting visitors online with localized or location-appropriate content based on a visitor’s geographic location.
  • Employment Status and Employer: An individual’s business affiliations can give you an idea of their net worth, potential connections, and ability to donate. Plus, if they work for a company with a matching gift program, you can reach out to begin the gift match process.
  • Communication Preferences: Keep communication preferences in mind when choosing between print, digital, and telemarketing. For instance, young professionals 18 to 34 have one of the best response rates to direct mail campaigns.

These insights can answer the who, what, why, and where of potential supporters. Once you know your audience and their preferences, you can tailor your marketing efforts to reach them and prompt them to take action.

3. Research and choose nonprofit advertising outlets.

Once you determine your goals and define your target audience, it’s time to choose an advertising outlet. There are countless channels to choose from, but these are some of the most popular:

  • Email: ​​Email is an intimate platform that allows you to connect with supporters on a personal level. Send along a newsletter informing subscribers about new fundraisers, upcoming events, or volunteer opportunities.
  • Website: Your website is likely the first place people go to learn about your mission and where long-term supporters go to give support. Provide engagement opportunities like online giving and subscription sign-ups.
  • Blog: Websites with a dedicated blog drive more traffic and provide resources about your organization. Include calls to action in each blog post to convert visitors into supporters.
  • Social Media: ​​Social media is crucial to a nonprofit’s digital marketing strategy. It allows organization to reach a variety of customers on a consistent basis. Post quick updates and calls to action.
  • Google Ads: Google Ads ensure that your campaigns reach the top of the search engine results page (SERP). The Google Ad Grants program provides $10,000 each month in free Google ad space.

We recommend using a multi-channel approach to marketing. This allows you to use a variety of strategies that work together towards a common goal.

4. Develop key performance indicators.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics that organizations use to measure the progress of their defined goals. KPIs can help your team gauge progress, make informed decisions, and turn metrics into actionable insights.

KPIs measure how an ad campaign performs, so it’s important to set them up before your campaign launches. However, finding the right KPIs to track can be difficult. That’s why we’ve outlined a few top advertising KPIs to follow, using the example of digital advertising:

  • Impressions: Impressions refer to how many times your ad unit was displayed to a user. This metric is related to the top of the marketing funnel and speaks directly to brand awareness.
  • Click-through-rates (CTR): This measures how relevant your ad is to your target audience. If the CTR is low, this means the ads aren’t meeting the searcher’s intent for the target keyword.
  • Bounce Rates: A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who enter the site and leave (“bounce”) rather than viewing other pages. This can help you understand the quality qualify of your website and if it’s valuable to visitors.
  • Conversion Rate: This is the number of web visitors who complete a desired goal, like making a donation or signing up for a newsletter. If your conversion rate is high, your marketing strategies are working.

These are only a few of the trackable KPIs for digital ad campaigns. It’s important to know your platforms and the types of data that each offers.

5. Create your ad copy.

One of the last steps is content creation. It’s important to make your ad copy stand out from the rest. When creating advertising content, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Improve relevance. Posting regularly increases engagement and keeps your ads relevant. Another way to stay relevant is to use your supporter’s most popular search query keywords in your ad titles and text.
  • Showcase impact. Make your ads engaging and insightful by showing your organization’s impact. This will keep donors, volunteers, and supporters invested in your mission and encourage them to heed your calls to action.
  • Include calls to action. Call-to-action (CTA) buttons prompt readers to show their support and take initiative to further your mission. Keep phrases short and compelling, as in the following example: “Do you want to help children in need? Donate now.”
  • Add compelling visuals. Images, graphics, and videos can spark an emotional reaction in readers and help them to understand complex topics. Ensure that colors and fonts are consistently formatted and visuals are high quality.
  • Make the most of the ad space and characters allotted. Maximize your ad space by using the full allotment of headlines and descriptions. This will make your ads appear larger, increasing the click-through rate and number of visitors arriving on your website.

Choose metrics to monitor the performance of your nonprofit's ads.

These quick, simple tricks will help your campaigns reach the right audiences and drive meaningful action. Now you’re ready to launch campaigns!

6. Launch your nonprofit advertising campaign and track progress.

After you’ve completed the steps above, it’s time to launch your ad campaigns and track progress against concrete, measurable benchmarks. Monitoring your performance is critical. It reveals what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve the effectiveness of future campaigns.

Start by accessing your campaign data and downloading reports. Focus on the KPIs that relate to your campaign goals. Then, compare multiple metrics to find where leads drop off. For example, if the conversion rate for an ad campaign is low, you may need to make the CTAs more attention-grabbing.

Through tracking results, you will gain a sense of what strategies work best to achieve your goals. This process is an effective way to manage your marketing strategies and grow your nonprofit responsibly.

Here are a few nonprofit advertising examples.

3 Standout Nonprofit Advertising Examples

You can research nonprofit advertising ideas all day, but nothing compares to seeing examples from real organizations! Let’s take a quick look at three advertising campaigns that will hopefully spark inspiration for your team.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Type of Nonprofit Advertising: Google Ad

This nonprofit advertising example shows BCRF using Google Ads.

Search engines like Google allow you to promote your content on search engines, tapping into millions of users searching for causes like yours.

In the example above, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) created a Google Ad campaign that targets terms related to “breast cancer research.” Using an inspirational and urgent tone, they establish a sense of trust with users and direct readers to the most important pages on their site.

As we mentioned, any eligible organization can tap into this nonprofit advertising channel by applying for the Google Ad Grant. Every month, the grant automatically renews, giving you $120,000 each year to spend on Google Ads. That way, you can invest in this type of nonprofit advertising without affecting your budget too much.

Notice how BCRF also built out their ad with additional links and their phone number, giving users more ways to engage. This is a more technical strategy that you might turn to an expert Google Ad Grant agency to use.

Chat with Getting Attention to learn more about free nonprofit advertising with the Google Ad Grant.


Type of Nonprofit Advertising: Facebook Ad

This nonprofit advertising example combines video storytelling with Facebook advertising.

In partnership with Procter & Gamble, CARE created a video ad campaign ahead of International Women’s Day. Facebook’s case study explains they tapped into Facebook advertising tools like custom audiences and contextual marketing to narrow down their audience.

They were the 2nd top-performing audience in terms of video completion rate (VCR) and engagement across the entire platform. They also pushed the same ad campaign on Instagram, resulting in some incredible statistics across both platforms:

  • 2.9 million impressions (total post views)
  • 1.7 post engagements (video views, comments, reactions, shares, and clicks)
  • 10.4K clicks to care.org/everywoman
  • A VCR of 2.08%

This is a great nonprofit advertising example to model your campaign after, because it asked users to complete the low-effort task of watching a video. Short video ad campaigns can be a convenient way to hook users and inspire them to take action.

God’s Love We Deliver

Type of Nonprofit Advertising: Instagram Influencer Advertising

This nonprofit advertising examples shows influencer marketing in action.

This nonprofit advertising example shows just how easy it is to tap into influencer marketing. God’s Love We Deliver strives to alleviate hunger and malnutrition among people living with serious illnesses. To spread the word about this mission, their marketing director cleverly asked the organization’s supporters to decorate a plate of cookies to be sent to those in need and promote that on their social media pages.

This yearly campaign brings attention from well-known influencers, especially because they make it so easy to get involved. They send sugar cookies and decorating kits to influencers for their annual holiday campaign. They also send cakes and decorating kits for their clients’ birthday fundraiser campaigns.

With a thoughtful strategy like this, your nonprofit can tap into influencer marketing, too. We recommend tying it back to your mission in a whimsical way like God’s Love We Deliver does.

Check out these resources to continue improving your nonprofit advertising and marketing.

Wrapping Up

Effective advertising can fuel your nonprofit’s impact. Best of all, you can leverage free nonprofit advertising, making it easy to get everyone on board. It’s no secret that our favorite option is the Google Ad Grant.

When you manage a Google Ad Grant with a Google Ad Grant professional like Getting Attention, we’ll make sure you have a strong digital marketing strategy. Our team of experts offers free consultations and resources to help your organization expand its reach.

Getting Attention will guide your organization through the Google Ad Grant process, including application, hygiene, reactivation, keyword research, and management. We’re here to champion your nonprofit’s digital campaigns.

If you want to learn more about nonprofit advertising and marketing, explore these additional resources:

Partner with Getting Attention to leverage Google Ads and tap into a free nonprofit advertising opportunity.

Explore this ultimate nonprofit marketing guide to learn everything you need to know.

Nonprofit Marketing: A Guide for Amplifying Your Mission

Imagine this: Your nonprofit spends months planning the perfect fundraising event. You’ve planned out all the activities, lined up catering, and recruited volunteers to pull it all together. A scattering of your most active supporters register, but you don’t get the turnout that you hope. You’ve likely fallen short because of poor nonprofit marketing.

As a fundraising professional, you already know the importance of an effective marketing strategy. A comprehensive nonprofit marketing plan can spread awareness of your mission, deepen relationships with donors, engage new prospects, and better align your team with your organization’s values and goals.

However, every marketing effort has its challenges. Whether resources are tight, strategies aren’t garnering the needed results, or you just aren’t sure how to craft your next fundraising email, nonprofit marketing is no walk in the park.

You’ve come to the right place! In this ultimate nonprofit marketing guide, you’ll learn everything you need to craft a plan that makes sense for your mission. Here’s what we’ll cover:

At Getting Attention, we empower nonprofits to expand their nonprofit marketing capabilities with the Google Ad Grant. While we’ll explore that channel a bit more later, know that it’s a powerful addition to any nonprofit’s toolkit. Plus, it’s completely free!

Whether your organization is at the grassroots level or your nonprofit is more established, it’s always beneficial to ensure that your current nonprofit marketing strategy is airtight. Let’s dive in with an overview.

Contact us to learn how the Google Ad Grant can help your nonprofit marketing.

Here's a definition of marketing for nonprofit organizations.

What Is Nonprofit Marketing?

Nonprofit marketing refers to the marketing strategies and channels used to amplify an organization’s cause, solicit donations, attract new supporters, and retain existing ones. Depending on an organization’s goals, nonprofit marketing can involve several marketing activities, such as social media marketing, content marketing, and text marketing.

Organizations often create a nonprofit marketing plan to allocate their budget and time appropriately. This document outlines essentials like your core mission, tone, target audience, preferred marketing channels, and branding.

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing for Nonprofits

When it comes to promoting your mission, choosing the right methods is paramount to your success. There are two categories of marketing methods your nonprofit can leverage:

  • Inbound marketing refers to the ways organizations gain prospects’ attention through unpaid promotion or content production. Common examples include search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, and organic social media posts.
  • Outbound marketing relies on paid methods to capture prospects’ attention and is often referred to as “advertising.” You might use Google Ads, social media advertising, radio ads, or any other paid outlet to promote your mission.

While inbound marketing methods help draw potential prospects in a natural way, outbound marketing can help connect with audiences who might not otherwise encounter your cause.

Striking the perfect balance between inbound and outbound channels will allow you to cast a wider net and reach more prospects. While paid outlets might initially seem out of your budget, know that some paid advertising platforms (like Google Ads) offer discounts or free access to nonprofits.

Nonprofit marketing costs can add up if you're not careful.

How Much Do Nonprofits Spend on Marketing?

Conducting meaningful marketing initiatives without adequate resources is like chasing a rainbow: you’ll never quite make it. Your team needs sufficient funds to support its goals, or it’ll spend all its time spinning its wheels without ever gaining traction.

While there’s no clear-cut answer to how much an organization should spend on marketing, there are a few methods you can use to calculate a smart budget:

  • The percent method: Allocate between 5 and 15 percent of your total budget to marketing, communications, and fundraising. As essential outreach activities, many organizations group these three areas together as a single line item in their budget. This budgeting method makes it easy to scale your nonprofit marketing budget as your organization grows.
  • The dollar method: Give a set dollar amount to marketing, communications, and fundraising based on past expenditures. This method eliminates the need for predictions and makes spending expectations clear.
  • The incremental method: Take the current period’s budget and revenue into account. Then, use that to adjust each line item by incremental amounts to create your next budget. This makes it easy to allocate money smartly without starting from scratch.

No method is perfect, but these are some common ones that organizations follow. Note that nonprofits often make the mistake of cutting marketing from the budget when resources get tight. However, promoting your mission allows you to stay prevalent in donors’ lives and drive more donations to keep your doors open.

Whether you’re facing budgetary constraints or simply want to reduce nonprofit marketing costs, it’s smart to reduce marketing costs by applying for grants like Google Ad Grants.

Effective marketing for nonprofit organizations can launch you toward your mission's goals.

Why Nonprofit Marketing Matters

After your fundraising team plans an exciting fundraising event or your volunteer coordinator creates new volunteer opportunities, the next step is getting supporters interested and invested. Without effective nonprofit marketing, you won’t be able to grab your supporters’ attention, let alone meet new prospects.

Effective marketing for nonprofits is easier said than done, however. You need a carefully-crafted plan with clear goals in mind and dedicated software to carry them out. This level of thought and comprehensiveness in your nonprofit marketing can benefit you by:

  • Raising mission awareness: One of your nonprofit’s biggest roles is to spread the word about your mission. Effective nonprofit marketing will raise mission awareness, ensuring that people know your mission’s goals and what you’re doing to achieve them.
  • Increasing funds: This is obvious but worth noting. When you’re able to market your nonprofit and raise awareness about your mission, you’ll naturally receive more donations.
  • Driving long-term donor support: Nonprofits don’t just thrive with monetary funds; they need long-term support. Effective marketing can build key relationships and result in more consistent and reliable donations rather than one-off gifts. In fact, Nonprofits Source estimates that the average monthly online donation is $52 (which is a total of $624 per year) compared to the average one-time gift of $128.
  • Attracting all types of support: As you craft your nonprofit marketing strategy, you might be thinking that your main goal is to get donations. However, there’s an abundance of other types of support that your marketing can help with. This includes volunteer recruitment, event participation, membership programs, and other forms of support you may have. Garnering other types of support can even lead to monetary gifts down the road. In fact, volunteers are 66% more likely to donate than non-volunteers.
  • Promoting your services: What exactly does your organization do? How does it aim to impact your mission? Your nonprofit services are an integral part of your fundraising efforts and inspire your supporters to give. With a comprehensive nonprofit marketing strategy, you can more effectively promote those services to supporters and beneficiaries.

Effective nonprofit marketing offers these great benefits.

In other words, effective outreach impacts every area of your organization. Promoting your organization is a non-negotiable if you want to achieve your mission and incite real change in your community.

Before kicking off your nonprofit marketing strategy, make sure you're aware of common challenges.

Challenges of Nonprofit Marketing

While nonprofits share overall marketing challenges with for-profits, they face unique hurdles. No one quite comprehends these challenges as well as the nonprofits that face them. Understanding what you’re up against will help you think ahead, overcoming these challenges as they arise:

  • Establishing trustworthiness. Unfortunately, there are quite a few fraudulent organizations out there posing as real organizations. You’ll need to convince prospects that your organization is legitimate, knows how to steward funds properly, and is worthy of their monetary support.
  • Selling your mission. Unlike for-profit companies, nonprofits must sell their ideas to prospects rather than a product. On the bright side, nonprofits have well-defined missions
  • Working on a limited budget. Budget constraints make marketing difficult, even with a well-defined mission and compelling story. Paid outlets can be harder to tap into because of this. Although, the Google Ad Grants program gives free access to Google’s paid advertising platform.
  • Appealing to all audiences. Connecting with different target audiences can be difficult. For example, your older donors might prefer print outreach, while younger audiences prefer text or social media outreach. Luckily, segmenting your audiences and thinking through the messages you promote on each platform can help tremendously here.

There’s nothing your nonprofit can’t overcome with a little tenacity! Think through these challenges while crafting your nonprofit marketing strategies, and you’ll successfully connect with supporters without breaking the bank.

There are several great channels you can use in your nonprofit marketing.

Nonprofit Marketing Channels to Explore

The nonprofit marketing channels you use are incredibly important when it comes to effectively reaching your donors and meeting new prospects. With new tools making online communications easier, the list of marketing channels expands each day!

Best of all, you can use different channels in tandem with each other. A multichannel marketing approach will allow you to connect with as many supporters as possible. If someone doesn’t regularly check their email, they might still come across your social media posts. Or, maybe a text message or direct mail solicitation will inspire them to get involved.

In any case, using several channels is a great way to keep your nonprofit top of mind! The good news is you don’t need to leverage every platform for your nonprofit marketing to be successful.

Let’s walk through some of the most popular channels that can catapult your nonprofit marketing efforts forward!

These are the most common nonprofit marketing channels.

Search ads are a valuable addition to your nonprofit marketing strategy.

Search Ads

A popular way that nonprofits expand their marketing is with Google Ads, a platform where organizations display advertisements, service offerings, products, and other marketing content. Google places these ads strategically on search engine result pages to grow each organization’s online presence.

This is why many nonprofits will apply for the Google Ad Grant. This program offers nonprofits $10,000 in ad credits to spend each month. In turn, nonprofits can promote their website content for valuable keywords that their prospects are searching online. This is an incredible opportunity to not only expand your nonprofit marketing strategy but do it all without pushing your budget.

The best part? Any nonprofit that is eligible and complies with Google guidelines can use this grant. It automatically reactivates every month, too. As long as you comply with the program’s rules, you’ll add up to $120,000 to your nonprofit marketing budget each year.

It’s up to you to choose the right keywords related to your work. For example, Science Moms created a Google Ad campaign to target terms related to “fight climate change.”

This example image shows Science Moms using Google Ads in their nonprofit marketing strategy.

However, there’s a considerable learning curve for the program. That’s where an expert Google Grants agency can step in. The specialists at Getting Attention are here to champion your cause at every turn. We’ll handle every aspect of the Google Grant management process, working to understand your nonprofit marketing goals first. That way, you can focus on other areas of your mission and relax knowing your Google ads are in good hands.

Contact us to learn how the Google Ad Grant can help your nonprofit marketing.

Email marketing for nonprofit organizations is one of the most valuable strategies.

Nonprofit Email Marketing

Email is an extremely reliable and comprehensive channel for nonprofit marketers, because it allows you to connect with all types of supporters. From first-time donors to longtime major donors, marketers use email to send appreciation letters, event invitations, and regular newsletters with general organization updates.

Here are a few ways to leverage email marketing for nonprofits to reach all of your audiences:

  • Send a regular newsletter with your newest content, updates about your organization, industry data, and volunteer needs.
  • Send monthly emails with donation needs and opportunities.
  • Segment your email audience based on common traits for more targeted and relevant messaging. 78% of marketers agree that subscriber segmentation is the most effective strategy for email campaigns.
  • As soon as a donor gives, a volunteer participates, or someone shows some other form of support, send an email showing your appreciation.

Thanks to organizations leveraging careful marketing strategies, email generates $36 for every $1 spent. With such a high ROI, it makes sense that this is a nonprofit marketing channel worth investing in and taking the time to flesh out.

As part of your nonprofit marketing strategy, rely on supporters to spread the word about your cause.

Word-of-Mouth Nonprofit Marketing

Don’t discount the power of word-of-mouth marketing! Your existing supporters are your biggest nonprofit marketing assets.

When your volunteers and donors feel strongly about your cause, they’ll naturally want to brag about your valuable work to their friends and families. These friends and family members are often like-minded, sharing similar values and making them great prospects for your cause.

Peer-to-peer outreach can be incredibly powerful. In fact, 92% of consumers will believe a recommendation from loved ones over any other type of marketing. Instead of relying on supporters to do so themselves, encourage them to reach out to their networks, post online about your cause, or simply share your organization’s social media posts to spread the word.

Social media marketing for nonprofit organizations enables social sharing.

Social Media Marketing for Nonprofits

By 2027, the number of social media users is expected to skyrocket to 6 billion. It’s no surprise that this is one of the most viable and successful ways to reach supporters and market your mission.

Not only is social media free, but it’s also a key way to connect with supporters on a deeper level. You can engage with followers, encourage them to comment or repost content, and build a brand personality that supporters want to keep coming back to.

While this will depend on the social media platform you use, here are some general ways you can leverage this type of online engagement in your nonprofit marketing strategy:

  • Share news about your organization and cause.
  • Boost brand awareness and recognition.
  • Post calls-to-action for online gifts, event registrations, volunteer signups, and more.
  • Recruit volunteers and employees.
  • Publicly recognize your committed donors, employees, and volunteers.

Whether you use TikTok for connecting with younger generations or Facebook for its long-form posts and peer-to-peer fundraising features, social media is definitely a channel you should spend a good amount of time thinking about.

Direct mail isn't dead! Use it in your nonprofit marketing.

Direct Mail Marketing

Many nonprofit marketers make the mistake of assuming that direct mail is dead. However, direct mail response rates hover around 9%. When compared to the email response rate of 1%, it’s clear why direct mail is still an incredibly valuable channel.

For nonprofits, direct mail marketing and fundraising is the process of writing, printing, and sending out hard copy requests for funds, event invitations, or thank-you letters to your passionate supporters. These letters arrive in your supporters’ mailboxes and end up in their hands, providing a tangible connection to your organization — especially when compared to opening up an email.

If you want your direct mail content to hold genuine value and inspire action, here are some tips:

  • Lean on storytelling. Perhaps the most unique aspect of direct mail is the personal touch. This is a key opportunity to connect with donors through good storytelling. For example, you could describe a family that your nonprofit has helped to get readers invested in your cause and excited to give.
  • Connect copy with visuals. No one wants to read a huge wall of text. Make sure you incorporate visual and written elements together so that they support your call to action.  This applies to everything from your letters to your fundraising flyers and brochures. Whether you use photos of real people or creative graphics to explain different points, the visuals you choose should be strategic and reinforce the messaging in your copy. Plus, a compelling photo can do wonders in enticing readers to internalize your mission.
  • Combine direct mail with digital marketing. Direct mail marketing does best when combined with your digital marketing efforts. For instance, make sure to include easy ways for direct mail readers to connect online if they’d like. You might include a QR code within the letter directing supporters to your online donation page. Or, you can include social media information to encourage engagement on a different platform.

Direct mail can benefit both your nonprofit and show donors that you really care. Make sure to check each recipient’s communication preferences before sending out letters willy-nilly, however. Plus, consider partnering with a direct mail marketing company to make the process of writing, stuffing, and sending your letters easier.

Paid ads can take your nonprofit marketing to the next level.

Nonprofit Advertising

While people commonly interchange “advertising” and “marketing,” advertising is actually a specific subset of nonprofit marketing. It specifically refers to using paid channels to promote your mission. And as we mentioned, paid channels are also referred to as “outbound marketing channels.”

Some of the most common nonprofit advertising channels include:

  • Search ads (like Google Ads)
  • Radio and TV ads
  • Social media ads
  • Influencer advertising

Advertising is a great way to expand your audience and amplify your content to people who aren’t actively researching nonprofits.

Even if you’re working on a limited budget, paid channels aren’t entirely out of reach! As we also mentioned earlier, many advertising platforms offer free or paid options for nonprofits.

Dive into the world of nonprofit advertising with our ultimate guide to learn more about leveraging paid channels in your nonprofit’s outreach.

Use videos in your nonprofit marketing to engage in visual storytelling.

Nonprofit Video Marketing

Video marketing has grown exponentially in popularity, and for good reason! From short videos on TikTok to longer content on YouTube, many nonprofits have found success in using this form of media to promote campaigns, events, and their mission in general.

Why is this? Well, here are some reasons why video marketing for nonprofits is so valuable:

  • Easy to process: Humans process visual content 60,000 times faster than text. This is why it’s so great for educating your audience or explaining a point.
  • Inspire action: Videos are known to do really well when it comes to inspiring emotions. This is much harder to emulate with just a photo or a paragraph.
  • Shareable: Who hasn’t gotten a cute video of a pet sent from a friend? In fact, 92% of consumers on mobile will share videos with others.
  • Entertaining: 60% of people report that video is a media they consume thoroughly, unlike images which are easy to flip through.

Some popular ways to use video marketing are within your nonprofit website, in social media posts, and in email content. Send out an event invitation with a video teaser or record a video of a community member your nonprofit has helped to show donors just how much they’ve made an impact.

Bonus Tip! Because of their file format, videos can potentially slow down a website. When publishing videos to your website, we recommend turning off auto-play to prevent this from happening!

Amplify your website's content by using SEO best practices in your nonprofit's marketing.

SEO Marketing for Nonprofits

Your website is a huge resource when it comes to marketing your mission. It’s likely the first place prospects go to learn about your mission and where long-term supporters go to give support. It not only hosts valuable information about your organization but also provides engagement opportunities like online giving, event registration, and more.

By implementing a few SEO best practices, you can boost your site’s organic rankings. When designing or optimizing your nonprofit website, keep these tips in mind:

  • Center each page around a core topic related to your cause. Be sure to pick relevant keywords for each page.
  • Ensure full and regulatory accessibility compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
  • Liberally use calls-to-action buttons and links to direct users to your popular landing pages.
  • Keep the user experience in mind when it comes to ease of use and navigation.
  • Make sure all tools and content management systems are functioning properly and are updated.
  • Have consistent branding throughout the site.

Not all of these tips are directly related to SEO, but they all contribute to your site’s performance in some way, whether you’re optimizing the user experience or improving your content.

Plus, optimizing your website will set you up for success with multichannel outreach, like when you’re promoting it via social media or search ads.

It’s important to remember just how much your website does. Not only do you use it to collect online gifts, but it’s also where supporters learn about your mission and get inspired through your online content. Essentially, your website is the accumulation of all of your nonprofit marketing efforts in one platform.

Thus, making sure your website is optimized and functioning well is essential if you want your nonprofit marketing strategy to be successful.

Content marketing for nonprofit organizations can be helpful for establishing credibility.

Content Marketing for Nonprofits

Content marketing is all about creating valuable and promotable nonprofit content that can build your nonprofit brand and reputation in the sector. This content will likely live on your website, but you can also create specific content to email or host a downloadable or gated resource.

Here are common types of content you might create:

  • Educational content about your mission, cause, and industry news and trends.
  • SEO blog content to get your online content ranking higher in search engines.
  • Easily shareable content that encourages your audience to send it along to their friends.
  • Content that is easily repurposable, like attaching a downloadable resource to an email message!

Plus, your content marketing materials can be used for other nonprofit marketing efforts, whether you promote it email, Google Ads, or social media. Consider creating a dedicated team focused on content copywriting.

Develop a texting strategy for marketing your nonprofit.

Text Message Marketing

With a 98% open rate, text message marketing is one of the best ways to promote a campaign and reach your audience where they already are.

To use text marketing, we recommend investing in a comprehensive text-giving tool. This not only allows you to send outbound messages but also empowers donors to give by text as well! This is a powerful way to leverage contextual giving.

Contextual giving is a donation given at the moment when the donor was inspired in the first place. For instance, let’s say a prospect attends an in-person fundraising event and is inspired by the turnout and the mission. They see the phone number plastered on event signage and decide to text it to give a gift. If you didn’t have text giving, they might have decided to wait until they got home to give, at which point they may have lost momentum.

Use text marketing to announce events, send urgent appeals (remember to include instructions for donating!), remind volunteers about upcoming shifts or training, and promote donations throughout your campaign or specific event.

Spend time creating powerful graphics to use in your nonprofit marketing.

Creating Graphics for Your Nonprofit Marketing

Any kind of nonprofit marketing leans heavily on effective visuals. For one, this makes your content stand out. It doesn’t matter whether someone’s scrolling through their social media feed or passing by a bulletin board with your fundraising flyer pinned to it — they’re more likely to notice marketing collateral that has eye-catching graphics and vibrant colors.

Considering that people retain 55% more information when paired with an image, effective visuals make your content more memorable to prospects,too.

More nonprofit marketers have realized this over the years and have stepped up their graphic design game. Whether you realize it or not, graphics already play a huge role in your outreach including everything from your email newsletters to direct mail outreach. Here are a few areas where graphic design comes into play:

  • Your logo. This is one of the most crucial marketing assets your cause has. It’ll appear on everything from your fundraising letters to your business cards. Prospects should see it and immediately associate it with your organization.
  • Website design. The graphics you include on your website are just as important as your site’s layout. You’ll want to include everything from images of your beneficiaries and volunteers to artistic elements that emphasize the most important aspects of each page.
  • Merchandise. If you sell t-shirts, mugs, or any other fundraising products, make sure you feature effective designs on them. Eye-catching graphics will make the buying experience much easier for prospects who come across your ads for them.
  • Printed materials. Effective graphic design doesn’t just apply to your digital marketing materials. It also factors into any printed collateral like your fundraising letters, flyers, and service brochures.

If graphic design isn’t your forte, that’s where a graphic designer can come in to save the day. Those that have experience in the mission-driven space understand what it takes to make charitable causes stand out.

We recommend Kwala! Their team will work with yours to create anything your team requests, including flyers, logos, stickers, and even fundraising product designs. Take a look at this postcard that they designed for the Wildlife Rescue Group:

Create nonprofit marketing postcards like this with help from professional designers.

Kwala designed this nonprofit marketing postcard.

Well-designed materials like this will ultimately reel supporters in and drive more action, whether you want people to donate, volunteer, or get involved in some other way. Turning to professional graphic designers means you can focus on furthering your mission and trust that your marketing materials are resonating with supporters.

Creating a nonprofit marketing strategy involves a few steps.

How Do You Create a Nonprofit Marketing Strategy?

To successfully connect with supporters and beneficiaries, we recommend crafting an organized nonprofit marketing strategy. Your strategy should outline all the information you need to meet your audience’s needs and spread your mission effectively.

It will be unique to your goals, mission, and audience. However, you can take these general steps to ensure you’re not missing any essential elements.

Conduct an audit to determine the effectiveness of your current nonprofit marketing strategy.

1. Perform A Marketing Audit.

It’s a good idea to get a sense of your current marketing standing and gather the resources you have. That way, you can start thinking about the changes and tweaks you’ll need to make.

Gather past outreach materials and campaign metrics. From here, you’ll conduct an audit to analyze your most recent outreach efforts. A nonprofit marketing audit often consists of conducting a SWOT analysis, which stands for:

  • Strengths: List any areas where your nonprofit excels and stands out from competitors. For example, maybe you have unique services, strong brand awareness, or an astoundingly loyal base of supporters.
  • Weaknesses: List anything that prevents you from achieving your nonprofit marketing goals. For example, maybe you have a very limited budget or a poor digital presence.
  • Opportunities: Include any external factors that give you advantages over competitors. For example, maybe your mission is prevalent in the news, or you have a strong pipeline of corporate sponsors.
  • Threats: This includes any external factors that negatively impact you. Considering that they’re external, these factors are out of your control. For example, maybe someone’s attempting to discredit your organization.

With all of this written out, you’ll have a strong visual representation of where your nonprofit marketing currently stands. Analyze your results, and create an action plan for playing to your strengths, overcoming any weaknesses, increasing your opportunities, and mitigating any threats.

Define the goals you want to achieve with your nonprofit marketing.

2. Define Your Marketing Goals.

Your nonprofit marketing strategy shouldn’t just guide your actions, but it should also really support your nonprofit journey to your ultimate goals. Are you trying to raise money or awareness? Encourage volunteering? Garner registrations for a fundraising event? Every marketing campaign needs a concrete goal and target action in order to be successful.

We recommend using the SMART method to create your nonprofit marketing strategy goals:

  • Specific: Define the exact goal your nonprofit is aiming to achieve, and be able to explain how achieving it will support your mission.
  • Measurable: Your goal should have clear performance indicators attached.
  • Attainable: Given your organization’s current standing (e.g., time, money, expertise), choose something you can realistically achieve.
  • Relevant: Whatever goal you choose should contribute to your organization’s overall success. For example, increasing volunteer registrations clearly impacts your organization more than reaching a certain number of likes on an Instagram post.
  • Time-based: Give your team a realistic deadline by which to achieve your goal. Then, create milestones along the way.

From here, list your goals by priority. The end result will be clear nonprofit marketing goals that allow you to drive greater outcomes for your cause.

Knowing your audience will help you tailor your nonprofit marketing to better suit your constituents.

3. Understand Your Audiences.

It’s critical that you focus your nonprofit marketing strategy on who you’re trying to reach. Outline both your current audience and your target audience. From here, narrow down your audience with segments, such as:

  • Type of supporter (e.g., first-time donor, recurring donor, major donor, volunteer, corporate partner, etc.)
  • Preferred communication method
  • Demographics like age group, geographical location, and education level

Every nonprofit marketing campaign should have a target audience in mind. Knowing what demographic group or type of supporter you are trying to reach will inform every step of your nonprofit marketing strategy.

When crafting your nonprofit marketing strategy, create and share inspiring messages.

4. Create and Share A Compelling Message.

Your supporters are bombarded with online ads and organizations constantly trying to get their attention. It’s important that your nonprofit marketing messages stand out from the crowd. To do so, we recommend using the CRAM rule to bring your powerful marketing ideas to fruition and connect with supporters. This stands for:

  • Connected to a cause: Your message should connect your mission to something your audience cares about.
  • Rewarding: Your outreach should be rewarding in some way for the reader.
  • Actionable: Make sure to include a clear call to action, whether that’s donating, volunteering, registering for an event, or something else.
  • Memorable: Your message must be sentimental or have tangible rewards to stick with prospects.

This is also where you’ll think about the language and tone of your message, the specific calls to action you’ll use, and any visual branding elements. From here, choose your nonprofit marketing channels and start sharing your outreach.

Measure the results of your nonprofit marketing strategy.

5. Track Results and Make Adjustments.

Every nonprofit marketing strategy needs a dedicated way to measure performance. Otherwise, how do you know if it worked or whether it needs to be improved in the future? Consider the metrics you want to track and the tools you’ll use.

Here are some examples of KPIs for different channels you might track:

  • Click-through rate (CTR) for Google Ads
  • Email opens for email marketing
  • Video views or likes for video marketing
  • Likes, shares, and comments for social media
  • Page views or time on site for your website
  • Number of downloads for content marketing

Data is the backbone of your nonprofit marketing efforts. Not only is it tracked to ensure that your campaign is performing positively and creating genuine benefits, but it can also be used to improve future campaigns or act as a resource for supporters wanting to learn more about your nonprofit efforts. In the end, tracking the right nonprofit data can be an incredibly valuable asset!

Marketing for nonprofit organizations is easier when you implement best practices.

Nonprofit Marketing Best Practices to Follow

When it comes to your nonprofit marketing, there are a lot of moving components that you have to keep in mind. From crafting your messaging to picking the strategies and channels you use, there’s quite a bit to juggle.

To keep your marketing team organized, here are some general best practices that can help any fundraising team hone its marketing:

  • Segment your list. We mentioned this already, but segmenting your marketing audience is critical. After all, people will respond best to communications that are targeted to their needs, goals, and preferences.
  • Use current events. A good way to bolster your nonprofit marketing is to use what is currently going on in the world as a way to create urgency. Is there a story related to your cause in the news? For instance, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nonprofits took the time to connect their mission to this broader world issue and leverage that public awareness.
  • Proactively follow up with donors and volunteers. For a successful nonprofit marketing campaign, you don’t just send out materials and communications and be done with it. Marketing isn’t just about promoting your nonprofit services; it’s also about building ongoing relationships with supporters. Make sure you have a system in place to check in with current donors or volunteers, as well as follow up with any lapsed supporters to ensure they stay active.
  • Make sure you have accurate contact information. People constantly change their phone numbers, get new email addresses, or move. In other words, their contact information can become quickly out of date. NPOInfo’s guide to data appends explains that you can use appending services to fill in missing or outdated information. That way, you’ll never be out of touch with constituents.

Follow these nonprofit marketing best practices to maximize your results.

The fundraising landscape seems to change year by year, so keeping up with nonprofit marketing best practices and trends is critical. With digital innovations making it easier to connect with donors and new tools increasing the types of support you can utilize, you have to remember that your supporters’ needs are a priority. Without them, your nonprofit cannot make as meaningful of an impact in your community.

Let's wrap up this nonprofit marketing guide with some additional resources.

Additional Resources

Marketing your mission plays a key role in your organization’s success. From choosing the right channels to keeping up with the latest trends, crafting a strong nonprofit marketing strategy takes quite a bit of forethought.

However, the advice we shared in this nonprofit marketing guide will help you address everything you need to make your outreach successful. In no time, you’ll create compelling outreach that inspires your supporters to stick around for the long haul.

Whether you choose paid outlets like search ads or organic outlets like email, there’s a lot you can do to stand out. As you start crafting your strategies, check out these resources to keep learning:

Work with Getting Attention to amplify your nonprofit marketing with the Google Ad Grant.