6 Digital Marketing Strategies for Non-Profits

Digital marketing has become a reliable means for businesses of varying sizes to grow by capitalizing on technology. It encourages brand awareness, builds global reach and tracks results. You can use email marketing, social media, and other inexpensive ways to resonate with potential consumers. 

Overall, digital marketing is more cost-effective than traditional marketing tactics. As part of a non-profit organization, marketers are focused more on social causes rather than financial gain, and implementing digital marketing strategies will be essential to growing your organization. 

In this article, we look at how your non-proft organization can do it successfully? 

1. Backlinks & Influencers

Your non-profit should have a website. That goes without saying in our digital age. Your website needs backlinks in order to improve the foundation's reach and authority online. Using social sharing icons (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others) on all your pages will help. But you need to be proactive in order to see optimum results.

Having a page that can offer value to other sites or organizations is critical for you to establish backlinks. When other sites link to your pages, you’re improving your website’s reliability as a source of go-to information. Google will give more credit to a website that has a higher number of backlinks, deeming it more relevant. As a result, your website will appear higher in the search engine result pages (SERPs) than a site without quality backlinks.

Besides engaging with typical community members to increase backlinks, you might reach out to influencers who care about your cause. Take the example of Emma Watson posting about International Women's Day on Instagram as a simple example of extending reach using celebrity. 

IWD Instagram post from Emma Watson

Top tip: Social media influencers share content on a regular basis to vast amounts of people. Research some people whose audiences fit your target market and consider contacting related organizations or foundations as well as bloggers and websites to tell them about your non-profit and ask if they're willing to link to you.

2. Video Campaign Optimization

With video ruling the digital sphere, having some strong video campaigns can make a world of a difference.

Not only is video good as a permanent post on your home page or as a vlog, but you can also use them in direct marketing initiatives. Using video in your emails can double or triple click-through rates, boosting landing page conversion rates by 80%. Just including the word ‘video’ in a subject line improves email opening rates by 19%.

This example from the Rainforest Alliance is an example of a campaign that still tops the lists of best charity campaigns 7 years later due to its humor and simple messaging. 

The most important thing to remember when creating videos is to inspire emotion in viewers by using strong imagery. After all, close to 60% of people who watch non-profit videos go on to make a donation. 

Top tip: If you have a video advertisement on YouTube, the platform offers a range of viewer actions that you can measure and track to achieve goals. If you’re striving for a broader audience, but Cost-Per-View (CPV) is higher than your target CPV, try adjusting to a lower CPV to attract extra eyeballs. Analyze view rates, clicks, and engagements (number of clicks on interactive elements like icons/teasers), to optimize video campaigns. 

3. Pay-Per-Click Marketing (PPC)

PPC advertising helps you direct traffic to your website, and it is usually associated with first-tier search engines.

The go-to PPC source for non-profit organizations is Google Grants as they provide users with up to $10,000 a month in PPC advertising through its Ads service. These grants allow your organization to gain exposure without spending exorbitant amounts. 

You can promote your organization and initiatives for free once you get approved by Google Grants. This will allow you to direct traffic to your website within minutes and can use this PPC method as a keyword research tool. You can experiment a bit more and test out a broader keyword range so you can bring in the most ‘qualified’ traffic, meaning visitors that stick around and interact with your website.

Top tip: When using PPC, the data gathered (bounce rate, engagement, pages visited, etc.) can be used to see what visitors are liking, or not liking. Analysis helps improve website copy and other marketing materials. Plus, you can translate what your audience responds to via PPC and incorporate it in every marketing channel so promotion and interaction is consistent. 

4. Retargeting

Retargeting gives people a reason to come back to your website and interact with your company more than they have in the past.

For various non-profit donation pages, a portion of visitors winds up making a donation while many others leave without completing a gift. For your website, using retargeting boosts the chances of converting visitors who bounced away.

For retargeting, some non-profit entities use Facebook Exchange, a targeted ad service accessing preferences through third-party, demand-side services such as Adroll. Through Adroll, you can reach people who already showed interest in your brand while they scroll through Facebook. Their feed and ads will expose the user to more information about your non-profit and cause. 

Top tip: This strategy is particularly effective if you’re a larger non-profit organization with a bigger budget or can leverage corporate relationships to acquire donated ad impressions. Once a visitor completes a donation from a retargeting ad, you should remove that person off the list to avoid spamming. It’s best to use these ads for special campaigns or emergency appeals when you can adjust copy on the website to thank donors for support.

5. Email Marketing

charity water email

Email marketing is an inexpensive way to attract potential donors and sponsors. You can segment your audience into different lists and grow donor retention by creating campaigns specific to those audiences and using calls to action, so they stay subscribed to you. Email campaigns are an excellent way to deliver a lot of information, reach a lot of interested people at once, and engage with contacts.

MailChimp is a great outlet for any email marketing campaign. The service offers a 15% discount for non-profit organizationsas well as an option to get an additional 10% off if you authorize your account as a security means. You can target based on preferences and access in-depth reporting insights to evaluate your campaigns in real time. 

Top tip: Consider an alternate email marketing source like AWeber Communications that offers a 25% discount to non-profit entities as well as three complimentary months. They have reporting tools as well that allow you to see how many messages in your email campaign were opened and clicked through. 

6. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI-enhanced advertising campaigns enable marketers to adapt to real-life changes and end-user behavior. They also prevent message oversaturation and reduce marketing costs. A Salesforce survey indicates that 51% of marketing leaders already use AI in some capacity, with 27% planning to use it within the next two years. It’s becoming a trend.

You can use artificial intelligence to personalize the visitor experience of your website, using conditional parameters to match the offers customers receive. AI can be merged with analytics, targeting tactics, and a predictive personalization engine to qualify your offers in advertisements for the experiences users receive. As a result, AI can create custom offerings based on individual behavioral preferences.

Top tip: You can also use AI to create predefined workflows in emails and short message service (SMS), so your personal messaging aligns with your non-profit’s segmentation strategy. It also accelerates conversions and participation amongst users since AI is highly responsive and can access and interpret customer information quickly. 

Clodagh O'Brien
Senior Content Specialist