Reaching Nonprofit Fundraising Goals with Digital Marketing

Created by Yodelpop Team

reaching-nonprofit-fundraising-goals-with-inbound-marketing-and-donutsWhile nonprofits have always used marketing to reach potential supporters, in recent years more have become especially interested in digital marketing. The tools needed have become more accessible, and Google's search algorithms have become more friendly to the ways nonprofits publish content.

But having the tools to do nonprofit fundraising doesn't mean an organization is ready to do it. If you're starting to build momentum toward a fundraising strategy, and your team is getting excited about having more tools for achieving fundraising goals, here are seven steps to take to get you going in the right direction:

1. Have goals

The most important step in achieving your nonprofit fundraising goals is—to have goals. Most organizations have revenue goals that are tied to activities like:

  • Fee-for-service offerings (training, consulting, etc.)
  • Membership
  • Events
  • Product sales
  • Donations

But revenue goals are not marketing goals.

Once you've gathering projected revenue figures for the current year for all items that marketing can promote, put them at the top of your nonprofit's marketing plan template. Now, take the next step and translate those fundraising goals into marketing goals. If the organization needs 100 new donors this year, how many leads will you need to attract to get to that number? How many visitors to your website and social media followers will it take to get those leads? 

If you don't yet have sales and marketing alignment at your nonprofit, start building it. It's a process that will bring your whole organization together around your revenue goals, with an understanding of how marketing contributes to them.

2. Attract and convert leads with content

Okay, so you've got some idea of the fundraising goals before you. Next, use inbound marketing to attract, then engage, building relationships with prospects by adding value to their lives both through your conversations and through products and services. But it doesn’t end there. In the third stage, you delight current customers, inspiring them to become promoters of your organization.

3. Use social media wisely (to drive traffic)

Most nonprofits are doing a good job of generating content for their Facebook pages, and some are active on Twitter and Pinterest. The missing link is usually using all that social media content to drive visitors to your website, where you can convert them to leads—so that you can nurture that relationship as they get closer to your organization and ultimately become your supporters.

We recently worked with a client who had 11,000 Facebook likes. But with virtually no conversion content being posted on social media, they had no way to reach out to those fans in a more direct way. After doing a weekly post promoting an offer on their website for about a year, they'd generated nearly 500 leads from Facebook alone—people they can now cultivate as donors via email.

4. Put fundraising calls-to-action on your website

It's an adage that most of us know: the number-one reason people don't give to your organization is that they haven't been asked. Your website needs to ask them to give. But not in the same way on every page. Look at each page of content and decide: Is this the kind of content that people who are really ready to donate are going to read? If so, by all means, place an attractive, graphical "donate" or "join" call-to-action in the sidebar or below the content.

On the other hand, is it content that will mainly be read by people who are just learning about the issues you tackle? If so, give it a call-to-action for an educational download, so you can nurture that person's learning and keep them informed to the point where they want to support you. 

5. Don't forget foundations

Your goals for development from foundations and even government agencies need to be part of your marketing plan. Develop a key persona for the foundation program officers you want to cultivate as supporters. What kind of content on your website would answer the questions they've been asking you? Do you have stories with photos showing the impact of your work? Any metrics showing how effective you are? Do you discuss partnerships you have with institutions they trust and admire?

Start building content for them, and include calls-to-action—this will enable you to track when they're visiting your website and what content they're looking at, which can help your development staff reach out to them at the right time.

6. Start event marketing at least a quarter in advance

Are there people on your database who don't come to your events? You might not be giving them enough lead time to come. Always plan and send a save-the-date email and social media with a few months' notice, and follow up with marketing activities that each have a specific goal: nomination for awards, sign-up for sponsors, registration, and other milestones.

All event goals and milestones need to be mapped out in your marketing plan. This is where partnerships across departments are crucial; if the event planning schedule lives in one department and marketing in another, inbound marketing for your events is going to face challenges.

7. Measure against goals

Remember your goals?

Well, remember your goals.

Put a quarterly meeting on the calendar and prepare a few simple slides, one for each goal, measuring progress that quarter and to date. Give credit to those who contributed, and truly celebrate each success. Make sure to include marketing goals as well as fundraising goals. It can take some time to hit on the unique formula for inbound success at your organization, and while you may not hit the financial goals immediately, there's absolutely no reason that if you follow a sound inbound marketing plan you shouldn't see an increase in traffic, leads, open and click rates, and other marketing metrics.