The Ultimate Digital Marketing Checklist for Nonprofits

Getting exposure for your nonprofit is crucial for driving donations. The challenge of doing so on a modest budget is among the hardest aspects of running a successful organization. Digital marketing can be very effective, but if you want to maximize your potential results, you need to make sure your strategies are thoroughly leveraging all the possible marketing channels.

In order to help ensure you’re not leaving anything out of your digital strategy, we’ve compiled a digital marketing checklist. We hope you find it useful.

1. Email Marketing

Email marketing must be a core part of your digital strategy. Here’s how email marketing can help your nonprofit organization:

  • Keeping donors informed about what you’re up to
  • Communicating with donors when you need to raise funds
  • Sharing interesting stories with the press and bloggers that can help you gain exposure
  • Keeping your organization top-of-mind with donors

However, your emails should be planned carefully. To develop an actionable email marketing strategy, you need to consider some facts. Up to 77% of people open emails on their phones. So, it will help if you create mobile-friendly email templates. This is especially useful in the case of newsletters. Using attractive, mobile-friendly templates can help entice recipients to read your emails in their entirety and click on your links.

Some tips for creating effective promotional emails and newsletters:

  • Use a responsive design 
  • Highlight your CTAs and relevant links
  • Insert mobile-friendly images and graphics

You would also benefit from including a captivating email subject and maintaining a consistent email schedule with emails that your readers will truly value. So give your messages and content some thought before blasting out emails.

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing has become one of the essential pillars of online marketing. In fact, 72% of companies are planning to increase their budget for this invaluable type of strategy. Creating and distributing non-promotional content that’s relevant to your audience is a great way to spread awareness and generate interest in your organization’s cause. It can also help you establish your brand so that you become known as an authority on the topic related to your cause.

For example, if your cause is solving world hunger, then producing content around poverty and food shortages will help your organization become associated with feeding the poor. Your content marketing strategy should include:

  • Blogging
  • Guest posts on other websites
  • Social media posts on major platforms used by your donors
  • Infographics
  • Case studies
  • Video content on sites like YouTube and Vimeo
  • Podcasts
  • Guest appearances on other podcasts

Always be sure that your content marketing strategy aligns with your organization’s mission. Each piece of content you create is an opportunity to engage a new audience, but also a potential liability in that it can tarnish your brand. So be careful.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Ranking for relevant keywords on search engines can be invaluable in driving traffic to your organization’s website. Users reaching your site can, over time, become donors and volunteers if you make a good impression on them.

Optimizing your website includes:

  • Publishing valuable content around your target keywords
  • Getting other authoritative sites to link to you
  • Making sure your website is mobile-friendly, fast, and functions properly
  • Linking internally between relevant articles

Keyword research is undoubtedly a crucial part of SEO. You can use tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner to discover relevant terms that are worth targeting with your content.

While applying general best SEO practices is important, it’s wise to not overdo it. Search engines know how to recognize sites that are over-optimized and working too hard to get rankings at the cost of providing a poor user experience to their audience. These sites tend to get penalized with poor rankings.

4. Social Media

Want to find potential donors? Leverage the reach of social media. It is predicted that the number of people using social media will rise to 4.41 billion by 2025. So, as a nonprofit organization, you undoubtedly need to utilize this valuable channel.

Engaging with audiences on social media can serve multiple purposes:

  • Sharing news and updates about your organization
  • Spreading brand awareness
  • Fundraising
  • Recruiting volunteers

The type of content your share should be relevant to the audience you target in your campaigns. Be sure you identify the appropriate social media platforms for each audience. Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram are some popular options. In addition to just posting on your social media accounts, respond to comments, engage with posts by your users, and join groups that are centered around your organization’s causes.

You may also want to consider expanding your reach even further by running paid ad campaigns on social media platforms. This can be a great way to quickly spread the word about what you are trying to accomplish.

Once you get started with social media marketing, don’t forget to measure your engagement results so that you learn how your audience responds and fine-tune your campaigns for optimal results.

5. Pay Per Click (PPC)

While you produce content on your website and wait for search engines to reward you with traffic, you may want to consider running pay-per-click campaigns on search ad platforms like Google Ads. If you have the budget, you can bid on relevant keywords and grow your traffic quickly. This will allow you to target keywords that your donors are using in their searches.

If you don’t quite have the funds for launching PPC campaigns, you can apply for the Google Ad Grants program. While it comes with many limitations as compared with a regular Google Ads account, you won’t have to pay for the traffic. In fact, Google gives you up to $10,000 per month in free traffic.

Not everyone gets approved for this program, but many do, so it’s worth trying. The signup process is not that hard. However, once you are accepted, extracting value from your account does require some skill. Ad Grants accounts have many limitations, so navigating around them can be tricky. Fortunately, there are professional services out there that specialize in managing Google Ad Grants accounts.

6. Influencer Marketing

Fundraising is all about connecting with the right people that can donate to your cause or help you reach new donors. Influencers on social media are well-known online personalities with large followings. With some work and a little luck, they can become brand advocates for your organization and help you gain exposure among likely donors.

In some cases, 1 post by an influencer can help you reach large audiences and put you on the map. In exchange, they typically expect to be compensated with money, gifts, or invitations to events. If they truly believe in your cause, they may even do it pro-bono. So it’s worth the effort involved in tracking them down to make your pitch.

While you may be tempted to focus on influencers like The Rock and Oprah Winfrey, you should probably start with people that have smaller, but very loyal and targeted followings, known as micro-influencers. You can find influencers like these on platforms like Upfluence. Alternatively, you can search for them on Instagram and Twitter and just reach out to them one-by-one, if you have the time.

In Summary

There are many opportunities for marketing your nonprofit online. While you may not have the budget or manpower to try each of them at the same time, it’s wise not to ignore any of them. Consider and evaluate each method as you form your digital marketing strategy so that you can prioritize the ones that are most relevant for your organization.

Over time, you will learn to optimize each channel and apply these lessons across each platform you use. So be sure to be methodical in analyzing and documenting your results.

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