Nonprofit Advertising Strategies: Building Your Multi-Channel Assets
Increase your base of support and acquire donors.
Grow your community of volunteers.
Raise awareness for your cause.
If you’re a nonprofit, you know that none of the above will happen without a refined nonprofit advertising strategy.
In the past, many have relied on traditional marketing channels such as flyers and direct mail–but these days, having a multichannel strategy that includes digital is the name of the game.
If you work for a nonprofit and want to find traffic, build traffic, engage with traffic, and retain traffic, you’ll need to be up-to-date on what’s working. And luckily, you’ve come to the right place to start.
Today, we’re going to give you an overview and provide a roadmap for building up your arsenal of marketing channels and digital strategies.
Gaining an understanding of the digital arena and multichannel marketing approach will only strengthen the good work you’re doing in the world–whether it be to alleviate hunger, save the environment, or preserve endangered animals.
Ready to dive in? Let’s go!
Google Ad Grants
Pay per Click (PPC) is a model of digital advertising in which advertisers pay every time a user clicks on one of their online ads.
Search ads are a form of PPC in which your ads will appear when people search for things related to your content and offerings.
And it’s effective. According to PPC Statistics, 86% of all American consumers regularly use the internet to search for local businesses that match their particular wants and needs.
However, PPC search advertising can be pricey for nonprofits with smaller advertising budgets than for-profit businesses.
That’s where Google Ad Grants comes in.
With the Google Ad Grants program, your nonprofit can essentially use free money to promote your organization and cause, using their text-based PPC search ads.
The grant provides $10,000 of in-kind Google advertising via monthly PPC grants for a wide range of nonprofit organizations.
To learn more about using Google Ads in your nonprofit ad campaigns, check out our Google Ads Grant 101 post, as well as our post about how to ensure compliance with program policies.
As you likely already know, social media is a big one for nonprofit advertising strategies. Social media channels are a great place to find, connect with, and engage like-minded and cause-driven supporters.
A quick look at just how many users each of the top three platforms have today will do away with any lingering doubts you may have that social media is a must:
- Facebook: 2.32 billion monthly active users
- Instagram: 1 billion monthly active users
- Twitter: 321 million monthly active users
And according to Marketing Sherpa, 95% of adults aged 18-34 are most likely to follow brands through social networking.
Hopefully, you already have one or two social channels up and running–if you don’t, there’s no time like the present to jump on the bandwagon.
If you do have them up and running, you may be looking to understand how to best use them to your advantage.
While this topic could be a whole series of blog posts on its own, start with the following list as a benchmark and guide to utilizing your social channels for marketing your nonprofit:
#1: Determine your social media goals: Until you know what you’re working towards, you won’t be able to lay the groundwork to get there. What are your social media goals? Is it to build a following, raise donations, find volunteers, build community, and/or increase shares in order to raise cause awareness?
Take the time to outline these goals, and then monitor your progress in achieving them utilizing the number of analytical tools available at your fingertips.
From Facebook advertising to using hashtags on Instagram, there’s a whole slew of proven social tools and strategies there to advance your mission and work.
#2: Target the right audience: Social media platforms are becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to their targeting capabilities. But before you begin targeting an audience on a platform, you’ll need to determine which platform will reach the most people likely to support your cause.
Survey your existing community and volunteer base to find out where they like to spend their time online. From there, you can determine where to focus your efforts–whether they be Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and/or Twitter.
From there, you should make sure that your ads and posts are targeted using both demographic and psychographic information.
#3: Share engaging and interesting content: Depending on your mission, brand, tone, and following, your content is going to vary. Take the time to brainstorm what kind of posts will be most effective in reaching your target audience and boosting donations.
Effective nonprofit content often tells the story of your organization, the cause you’re working on, and the impact you have.
Specific content groups could include…
- Volunteer profiles and stories.
- Events for upcoming volunteer opportunities and fundraisers.
- Statistics and case studies showcasing your success.
- “How-to” posts that show supporters how they can help make an impact.
Other strategies such as live tweeting and sharing live events give your community a peek into real-time updates and events.
All that said, make sure you have a nice balance of content and aren’t exclusively asking people to donate or volunteer. As The Balance shares, one proven content strategy is the 70/20/10 rule:
- 70% of your content should be created by your organization and add value to your community–whether it be informative, interesting, or inspiring.
- 20% should be shared content, whether you are sharing your own community’s content or another related page’s content.
- 10% should be promotional content, meaning you’re promoting your fundraisers, services, events, or more.
Fortunately, even with a relatively limited budget, social media can work wonders when it comes to finding, growing, and engaging your supporters.
Email marketing and your CRM are perhaps one of the most important ways to be in touch with your community of donors and supporters.
As you gain subscribers to your email list, you’ll want to nurture and engage them with introductory email sequences, thank-you emails, newsletters, and more.
If you have segments on your file that have stopped opening your emails, you might want to look to reconnect with them through outside advertising in subscriber-based emails.
With this strategy, your ads are displayed in emails, on a network of brand and publisher sites, to people who have subscribed to receive communications–many of whom may be the same users who stopped opening your emails.
Ad-in email placements can include brands like the NY Times and can help you target both unresponsive segments of your own file as well as new targets.
Your ad is placed within the brand/publisher email, and ads only display when the email is opened and the images are loaded–ensuring 100% viewability of your ad and more bang for your PPC buck. For example, let’s say you bid on ad space within a New York Times’ mailing list. You will only count and pay for an impression when and if a subscriber opens the email.
With this strategy, you can serve the right ad based on location, device, time, newsletter, and demographics.
All of this said, be wary of solely focusing on email or other digital marketing channels. The truth of the matter is, people are so distracted today, you’ll need to reach them through a wide variety of channels–including direct mail.
Yes, that’s right–we’re bringing an old-school trend back into the spotlight. If you want to increase your likelihood of engaging your leads and audience, you need to be able to integrate direct mail with your email marketing. In fact, direct mail continues to be a top channel for prospecting.
Take triggered postcards as one example. If someone visits your site and moves through the pipeline to make a donation or volunteer, but suddenly leaves the site, there’s still hope to re-engage them. It’s a similar principle to abandoned cart shoppers.
There are various remarketing solutions that harness the power of direct mail. Once a visitor has navigated away from your site, providers can use proprietary technology to determine the postal address of your visitors, and subsequently, send them a personalized triggered postcard.
This way, you won’t let potential conversions slip away and will remain top of mind.
Additionally, keep in mind that some of your potential supporters may be a bit older and less tech savvy. Receiving information and even donating via direct mail could be one way to engage them on a deeper, more comfortable level.
At this point, you may feel somewhat overwhelmed by all of the channels and strategies you can be using to share your nonprofit’s mission and work. Don’t feel like you need to be doing this all within one quarter. Take your time to intentionally and strategically expand your digital and offline presence.
Fortunately, d3 is here to help you with your nonprofit marketing strategies.