Fundraising for nonprofit organizations is the most critical task, and one that can take many forms. From the Salvation Army’s seasonal red kettle campaign which, by the way, is 122 years old and raised $142 million in 2018 to telling stories across digital channels, tactics to solicit donations are varied and dynamic. No doubt, acquiring, retaining, and winning back donors is challenging, so taking tips from successful nonprofits can help with you keep up with fundraising trends, get more attention, and ultimately increase revenue. 

So at this point in 2019, let’s see what nonprofits in-the-know have in common. 

They Use Marketing Automation

As a nonprofit, you may not have a large marketing department to divide tasks and fully implement a comprehensive strategy. And that’s okay. Investing in an all-in-one marketing automation solution or just one that automates a single channel, can take some of the workload off of your staff. Though many of these solutions require varying degrees of training and ramp-up time, the net benefits are worth the effort. All-in-one solutions like HubSpot, Marketo, or Eloqua look to integrate and automate many of your sales and marketing tasks and have multiple-level purchasing options. While one-channel solutions like MailChimp for email marketing, AdRoll for advertising, and HootSuite for social media give you tools so that you can focus your efforts on what that works best for your organization.

They Create the Right Content for the Right Audience   

One of the telltale signs of a successful nonprofit is how it approaches content development. Identifying key audiences and then understanding what those audiences value is important in producing personalized content that will drive people to donate. Creating personas complete the generational data allow you to truly understand what those users value, which type of content they respond to, and where they want to receive their content. When you are planning your content for a campaign or for the year, remember to: 

Ask: If your content efforts have fallen stale and aren’t producing results, don’t be afraid to ask your audience what type of content they want to see from your organization. A quick email or social media survey can give you some much-needed insight.

Experiment: Once you have an idea of what type of content you are thinking about producing, experiment with it. As a much better exercise than guessing, A/B testing shows you what types of content your audiences are responding to. 

Scale: Donors want to know their donation is making an impact. By setting smaller financial goals, say $1,000 or $5,000 for a specific action like vaccinating a certain number of children, you are making the goal seem achievable and showing that a $100 donation matters. 

They React to Social Media Trends

Despite news of decreased usage and fake news pages on social media, especially Facebook, it continues to be a popular go-to channel for nonprofits. Facebook does have its issues, and controversies over the last few years have driven many users into dark social meaning they are conducting conversations in private groups or on messaging platforms. Using link shorteners, making content easy to share, and using dark social tools to measure engagement will help you get past these hurdles. Facebook Fundraiser is another tool that nonprofits have been using to reach new and current donors. The set up is free and 100% of the profits go directly to the organization. 

They Have a Robust Ambassador Program

Call it what you want, but social proof, word-of-mouth marketing, or influencer marketing all mean one thing: People tend to trust information about brands that is provided to them by those they trust, including friends and family. Creating a brand ambassador program means that you are assembling a community of supporters who believe in your organization to the point that they will volunteer to spread the good word about your brand. A robust ambassador program lets your team share the workload with others who are just as invested in the brand. Platforms such as Referral Rock and Ambassador provide automation tools to build and maintain a strong program. 

They Are Prepared

Doing what the successful nonprofits do will only get you so far if you’re not prepared. Creating the right content, utilizing marketing automation, and building your ambassador community should be done in concert with ensuring that your website is free from broken links, outdated content, slow-loading pages, mixed content, and is armed with technical SEO. Also, be sure that it’s mobile-friendly, has clear user journeys, and has strategically placed call-to-donate buttons. If you’re going to spend a lot of time driving potential and current donors to your website, the least you can do is give them a great user experience and pave the donation path with as much relevant information as they need.  

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and learning from successful nonprofits can give your marketing efforts a boost while taking some of the workload off of your staff. Marketing platforms won’t be changing drastically over the next few years, but the tools they provide will keep evolving. Watching and learning along with keeping current on marketing trends are great ways to empower your marketing efforts. 

Need help with digital fundraising? Contact the New Target digital marketing team to get started!

A global team of digerati with offices in Washington, D.C. and Southern California, we provide digital strategy, digital marketing, web design, and creative for brands you know and nonprofits you love.
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