If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a marketer for a nonprofit organization or someone very close to one.
You may be wondering, “How can a nonprofit market themselves? What niche is large enough for them to break into?”
You’re in luck because you’ve found the answer!
According to HubSpot Blogs research, 66% of marketing professionals report that their biggest challenge is driving traffic to their websites, and 41% cite low engagement as the primary reason.
These are significant barriers to online marketing success for nonprofits. Luckily, you don’t have to struggle alone. In this article, we’ll discuss how to effectively market a nonprofit online, including:
Create a Marketing Plan
Whether you’re already doing so or are just starting out, the first step in the digital marketing process is to create a marketing plan. A marketing plan is a comprehensive document that lays out your overall strategy for marketing efforts in a particular area (e.g., digital marketing, social media, etc.).
Creating a marketing plan can help you determine the type of content you’ll produce, the platforms you’ll use, and the budget for your project. It also forms the basis for future planning and measurement.
A simple Google search will return hundreds of results for “nonprofit marketing plan.” You can also find a number of free templates from startups like Not On My List that can help you get started.
Determining Your Online Marketing Niche
Once you’ve got your general marketing plan in place, it’s time to pick a niche. What is a niche, you ask?
A niche is a “small market or segment” within an overall market. For example, “vegan food’ is a niche within the general category of ‘food.’ If your niche is within the health category, you could market yourself as a vegan promotor.
Your niche should be a small portion of the overall market, and you should be able to find a clear and distinct audience with relatively little competition. You can use free tools like Google Trends to easily determine the size of your niche and whether or not there’s significant competition already vying for your attention.
Determining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Now that you’ve got your niche picked out, it’s time to figure out the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll use to measure your progress. These are the metrics that you’ll use to determine whether or not you’re successful in reaching your goals.
When you set your goals and KPIs, you’ll establish a baseline for comparison and determine whether or not you’ve reached the desired level of performance. Setting KPIs is an essential part of the planning stage. Without them, you’ll be lost in the fog of your own making, and it’ll be hard to stay motivated.
Your KPIs should be based on what you’ve set as your goals and the type of measurements that you’ll use to determine your progress. For example, if your goal is to raise $100,000 in yearly donations and your indicator is monthly donations, you could establish a monthly benchmark of $5,000 as your goal.
Once you’ve got your KPIs set, it’s time to get specific and map out a detailed marketing strategy for each one. For example, if you’ve set the yearly donations goal, you could strategize on ways to raise $100,000 in yearly donations by driving traffic to your website.
Determining Key Activities
With your strategy mapped out, it’s time to pick key activities. These are the specific steps that you’ll take to reach your goals. In the example above, you’ll need to develop content to drive donations to your website.
While you’re at it, pick your top priority key activities and then determine the corresponding metrics that you’ll use to measure your progress. Once you’ve got this, it’s just a matter of following through.
The above steps will only get you so far. If you’re serious about marketing a nonprofit, you’ll need to take some time to learn the craft. There are a number of free or low-cost resources available to learn from.
Establishing Key Social Media Accounts
The importance of social media in marketing cannot be emphasized enough. It’s a free way to connect with potential donors and volunteers, build a community, and allow people to engage with your content. With so much competition on social media, it’s essential that you establish a presence on several platforms. It’s also important to establish one account as your “brand’ account. This is the account that you’ll use to interact with customers and audiences on social media platforms. Your brand account should be managed by a professional public relations firm or social media marketing agency.
The goal of your brand account is to create a positive impression of your organization, and ensure that people think and feel the same positive thoughts about your organization every time they engage with you on social media.
The example above shows Twitter accounts for two different organizations. One is a for-profit company (bottom profile) and the other is a nonprofit organization (top profile). The accounts are fairly similar, however, the colors, designs, and general feel of the two accounts are entirely different. This makes a world of difference!
The for-profit company’s main goal is to attract people to their website. As you can see from their profile, they’ve used a combination of paid ads and organic posts to do this.
The nonprofit’s goal is to help raise awareness about multiple sclerosis (MS). For this, they’ve used a combination of paid ads and organic posts to engage with their audience.
With your strategic online marketing plan in place, it’s time to get out there and do some effective PR. You’ll be happy you did.