4 Valuable Digital Marketing Lessons from Nonprofits

Let’s face it: digital marketing isn’t always easy for nonprofits.

You need to convey the value of your mission, increase brand awareness, and gain supporters–on a budget.

Fortunately, there are some best practices that can enhance your marketing efforts and help you attract new followers. Here are four lessons from a few nonprofits I know.

1. Clearly demonstrate your impact.

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Being able to quantify your influence on a community is a great marketing strategy.

The Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank accomplishes this task by keeping a tally of how many books they’ve distributed in the local community since March 2016.

The organization also shows how many parents and care providers in Cleveland benefit from their services on their impact page.

These examples demonstrate the importance of using data to tell a compelling story and build support on a local level.

2. Engage your community.

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Whether you’re marketing a nonprofit or a small business, it’s crucial to demonstrate how you both interact with the community and how your services improve it.

College Now Greater Cleveland consistently highlights “success stories” from the Cleveland area. They even include a map of their locations around Greater Cleveland to show their accessibility.

3. Answer the “So What?” question.

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This question can be jarring to receive, but it’s important to give potential donors a reason to invest in your nonprofit.

One of the best ways to do this is to demonstrate a problem, then show how you can help build a solution.

For instance, the Clark Hulings Fund focuses on equipping visual artists with the tools they need to become self-sustaining entrepreneurs.

Someone might ask, “Why should I worry about what an artist I don’t know is doing?”

The website actually answers this question directly: “Artists are among the most geographically and ethnically diverse workforces in North America. By supporting CHF’s mission, you fill the world with thriving, self-sustaining visual artists who beautify our culture and fortify our economy. Every dollar creates change.”

4. Take a “listening” approach on social media.

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I got this tidbit of digital marketing advice from Dave Kerpen’s book, Likeable Social Media.  This is an Amazon link, but the book is probably available at your local library.

Nobody likes a nonprofit that engages in one-sided marketing. Conversing with interested people, sharing your knowledge on LinkedIn groups, and spreading the word about community partners are all good ways to avoid this problem.

Just Buffalo Literary Center makes a point of encouraging these connections through their made-to-order poem campaign. This campaign encourages interaction between the Buffalo community and program participants.

While nonprofit marketing trends are constantly evolving, these practices remain at the forefront of effective communication. Use them well, and your marketing team will see the benefits.

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