Content marketing for non-profits is easier said than done. But with innovations in digital marketing comes sophisticated tools to measure the impact of your campaigns, making it easier than ever to track the return on your marketing costs. Today, the pressure is on marketing to get more with less. In the context of non-profit, with tight budgets and limited resources, marketing is even more challenging. Does that sound like your organization?
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In today’s digital world, word of mouth has become easier and cheaper. There is a huge opportunity to bundle your online and offline marketing efforts for maximum impact.
What Is Non-Profit Marketing?
Non-profit marketing is the use of marketing strategies and tactics to maximize mission impact through increased donations, grants, volunteer support, engaged community, and spreading the word about a political or social change.
Role Of Non-Profit Marketing
A marketing plan stems from your non-profit goals. There are several ways to market your cause. This includes digital marketing — email marketing, social media marketing, webinar, podcasts, video marketing, writing blogs; offline marketing — radio/TV advertisements, billboard advertisements, etc. For all of this, content is critical.
While offline marketing like TV/radio ads can get expensive, digital marketing has become increasingly economical. And content marketing is the best and most cost-effective way to get your message out. Content in the form of blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, ebooks, images, etc can be used to spread your social message across digital channels like websites, email, social media, and so forth.
For a Non-profit, the challenges are a lack of time to create a plan, execute marketing activities, and create sharable content. One brilliant way for Non-profits to communicate trust through their marketing content is user-generated content (UGC). UGC serves as an organic way for your supporters to promote your non-profit. Learn more about it here – ‘ Non-profit Marketing Guide To Leverage User-Generated Content’.
Why Is Content Marketing for Non-Profits Important
A survey conducted by Kathleen Kelly Janus, co-founder of Spark, a non-profit organization, revealed that the best organizations focus on innovation, collaboration, and storytelling.
That focus is a key differentiator in what makes some Non-profits more successful than others. It’s the same quality that gives them a boost to get grants and increase their mission outcome. Below are some of the benefits of Non-profit content marketing.
1. Spreading Awareness
Marketing helps to show the great work that you do. It helps to send across the message of your impact to the people that feel for your cause. It also showcases to relevant stakeholders, funding agencies, and donors of the positive impact your work brings to the community. Using blogs and social media platforms to showcase your work and stories of real people helps to connect with the right audience that would be happy to engage with your Non-profit. Encourage your supporters to follow your non-profit on social media channels, have consistency in your social media posts, and share educative content or inspiring real-life stories pertaining to your cause.
2. Raising Funds
Whether accepting donations online or in person, you can use a multitude of content types like webinars, podcasts, images, and videos to ask for donations. An email marketing software can help to facilitate a direct conversation between you and your prospective donors. It also guides potential donors to land on your donation page and contribute one time or make recurring donations. Since the pandemic, many gaming platforms are now partnering with charities to raise funds for them. Here’s a how-to guide on how to host a virtual gaming fundraiser.
3. Seeking Volunteer Support
Survey to find out how your volunteers have benefited from participating in your programs. Use the feedback in your marketing communication to encourage other like-minded people to provide volunteer support. Publish it on your website. Your website and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts will greatly help to encourage prospects to apply for a volunteer opportunity with your organization. Find more volunteer recruitment ideas to improve your volunteer lifecycle.
4. Building An Engaged Community
To enjoy sustained results, consistency is key. Content marketing becomes your tool for building an engaged community. Keeping your donors updated by email campaigns, newsletters, and social media on how their funds are utilized helps build a sense of trust.
5. Increasing Share Of Mind
Mindshare or share of mind is a marketing term that is used to describe the amount of consumer awareness or popularity surrounding a particular product, idea or company. Content educates your constituents about your mission, its impact, related news, updates, and can be used to create a sense of urgency to support your cause. It helps to attract visitors — donors, funders, members, and subscribers to your website. You could also re-purpose content (e.g., convert a volunteer feedback survey into a blog or an infographic or video testimonials) and share it across different digital channels. This motivates other potential volunteers to come forth and support your cause.
How To Create A Sample Plan of Content Marketing for Non-Profits
1. Define Your Content Marketing Objectives
The first step of creating any plan is to begin by documenting your goals. What is it that you would like to achieve through your marketing firepower? Create a list of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) objectives. For example, a smart marketing objective could be increasing donor intake by 5% in 3 months. Using CRM software with a marketing tool kit or a CRM integrated with your favorite marketing tools can help you measure the supporting metrics.
2. Understand Your Buyer Personas/Target Audience
The target audience of Non-profits is donors, volunteers, members, and funders. Create a detailed document of what your buyer persona (or a detailed description of your target audience) looks like. Get a buyer persona template and more details on how to create one. The information you collect will be your holy grail that will steer your marketing actions.
3. Identify The Channels For Content Marketing
Upon gaining clarity about your buyer persona, you can find out which channels to use to reach your audience. Depending on your objective, your channel and messaging will differ. For example, if you are seeking to get donors for your cause, you may choose select channels like email marketing, social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, live streaming, etc. One popular example of the impact of social media is the campaign Earth Hour by World Wide Fund for Nature. It requests via social media announcements that people turn off their lights for one hour and uses the #EarthHour hashtag. In 2020, 90 countries and territories took part in the event and it generated over 4.7 billion global social media impressions!
4. Types Of Content For Non-Profits
Your website is an ideal platform to showcase your work. Not only that, it allows you to acquire new leads (donors and volunteers). It is a window into the work you do and how people can help support your cause. Keeping an updated blog not only helps in SEO but also enables you to direct prospects to key conversion pages. These landing/conversion pages could be a donation page, submitting a form to become a volunteer or member, and so on. Another great way to connect with people one-on-one is via email. Ensure that you maintain segmented lists and send out personalized emails. For example, segment your lists based on constituents, volunteers, donation frequency, donation amount, blog subscribers, etc. This will help to craft your message and connect at a personal level. Based on your buyer persona, find out the preferred social media platforms of your prospects. Focus on visuals and storytelling when communicating via social media. You may find this book on ‘The Power of Visual Storytelling’ an insightful read.
5. Identify Which Digital Solutions Are Worth Investing In
Even if you have only one person doing the marketing effort for your Non-profit, digital tools can make it easier for you. GiveLife365, a Microsoft-powered Non-profit CRM solution, acts as a robust enabler for executing marketing strategies, communications, and measuring results.
If your organization has to strive non-stop to get more done with less, then you must invest in CRM and marketing automation software. Focus on what your requirements are and choose the one that is easy to use, scalable, allows integration with your favorite tools, and provides post-implementation support.
This technology investment will take the load off the backs of your team. Moreover, it will free up their valuable time to dedicate more time to your cause and build constituent relationships. Content marketing for non-profits can thus be a rewarding experience with the right technology enabler.