How to Market Your Nonprofit Online – A Guide for Memberships

Online marketing is an essential tool for any nonprofit organization seeking to build brand awareness, gain support, and raise funds. With a little upfront planning and research, however, you can put in place the right online marketing strategy to boost your membership drive.

Find Out The Digital Cliff-Edge

Every nonprofit is different. Some struggle with online marketing, while others thrive in the digital world. Yours might be somewhere in between. That’s why it’s important to find out what tactics work best for your organization and what doesn’t. These are some of the most effective strategies and tools for reaching potential members:

Video Marketing

With video marketing, you can engage with potential members on a more personal level. This could be as simple as an explainer video or a more customized video showcasing your projects or events.

The video can be used to provide information about your organization, its programs, and the impact it has. Potential members can get a feel for what it’s like to be a part of your organization and how they can get involved. In short, a video can be quite valuable in terms of marketing your nonprofit.

Interactive Advertising

Online advertising is all about engaging with potential members. They can click and engage with your ads in several different ways, from the simple act of scrolling to the more involved action of clicking a button.

An example of an interactive ad is a scavenger hunt where participants enter a code to unlock prizes. Or, you could engage with potential members by setting up a microsite with a video and some text-based content. Potential members can gain more information about your organization and engage with you through different channels.

Social Media Marketing

There are many different types of social media, but the three most popular ones with millennials are Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. If you’re not familiar, these are the social media platforms where users can post content, such as images or videos, and engage with others in the platform.

If your organization is very active on social media, you could potentially engage with thousands of people. This is a valuable opportunity to tell the world about your organization, gain support, and raise funds. Posts on social media can be shared on sites like Twitter, and if done well, can result in exponential growth.

Content Marketing

If you’ve ever tried to market a business or brand, you’ll know that content is essential. Like social media, content can be used to engage with people and drive them toward action. In marketing, content is usually divided into three categories:

  • News: Regularly published articles that engage with readers through compelling narratives and vivid details.
  • Features: News stories with immersive, engaging content that attract, retain, and motivate customers.
  • Blogs: News stories and features published on a semi-regular basis and accessible via an easily digestible format.

In marketing, content is king. Creating and publishing top-notch content can take up a lot of your time, but the benefits of a content-driven strategy are countless. Potential members will have to visit your website or sign up for your email list to access your content.

Email Marketing

Let’s face it; most of us are glued to our smartphones, and with good reason. It’s incredibly convenient to be able to check email on the go. If you’re not already using email marketing, you should be. You can send out periodic emails with important information about your organization, events, or projects. You can also use email marketing to follow up with email campaigns after interactions on social media. For example, if a person visited your Instagram account and was interested in what you post, you can send them an email with additional information.

Emails are still useful and can work alongside other marketing tactics. However, keep in mind that not everyone checks their email on a regular basis, so make sure that you email marketing strategy is not too intrusive.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of making a website more visible to search engines when people search for products or services online. To perform SEO on a website, you need to follow certain guidelines, use specific keywords, and make sure that your content is relevant and interesting. There are a number of SEO tools that can help you make your website more search engine friendly. The most popular one is Google’s free SEO tool, which can be accessed from your Google dashboard. This will help you find keywords, analyze your content, and make recommendations for the improvement of your website.

SEO is not just about making your website look good to search engines; it’s about making your website good. This means that you should be considering the user experience, including mobile usability, on every page of your site. Good SEO will make a big difference in terms of organic traffic to your site, as well as how quickly you’re able to get there. Not to mention the quality of that traffic!


Let’s say you’ve been able to get your website to perform well thanks to SEO and other tactics. This is when it gets tricky. Once you’ve optimized your site, all the major search engines will keep trying to find ways to bring more people to your site.

If someone lands on your site and makes a purchase, you can tell Google and other search engines that they’ve been there and were interested in your products. Remarketing is when you’re-market’ to someone who has already been to your site. Usually, you can target users based on their previous behavior on your site or social media. For example, you can re-market to users who visited your site but didn’t make a purchase because you don’t offer the products they’re looking for. You can also target users who visited your site but didn’t engage with your content or social media because it wasn’t interesting or relevant to them.

The key takeaway from this section is that not every tactic will work well for your organization. Some might be better suited for a commercial venture, and others might be excellent for a religious or charitable organization. You’ll need to determine which ones work best for you.

Putting It All Together

Now that you have an idea of the different kinds of marketing that are out there, you can start to put everything together. Before you start, it’s important to establish your objectives and desired results.

For example, if you’re seeking donations, you might want to focus on online marketing and search engine optimization to find the best results. If you’re seeking members, you might want to consider creating engaging content to attract people to your website and social media.

Once you have a clear picture of what you’re looking for, you can decide on the best tactics towards attaining those results. Keep in mind that not every tactic will yield the same results, so it’s important to test and measure the effectiveness of your different marketing channels and strategies.