Does Inbound Marketing Work for Nonprofits?

Does Inbound Marketing Work for Nonprofits?Inbound marketing for nonprofits is focused on attracting prospective donors, beneficiaries, supporters, and volunteers to your nonprofit by creating content designed specifically for your audience. Once visitors arrive at your website, your content and digital communications inspire them to donate, support, and get involved with your cause.

Nonprofits around the globe are becoming increasingly aware that traditional marketing methods – including print ads, direct mail, phone calls, and generic newsletters – are no longer working to attract new supporters. Additionally, the effectiveness of traditional marketing is very difficult (sometimes impossible) to measure. Fortunately, there is another strategy that happens to be working more effectively than ever – and it’s called inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is an excellent way for nonprofits to boost support for their organization. When applied correctly, this strategy can help you attract more website traffic, grow your database of prospective members, volunteers, and donors; and achieve the goals that are most important to your organization, such as generating donations and increasing your membership base. Plus, it’s less expensive than traditional marketing methods – and substantially more effective. With that said, here’s how to get started using inbound marketing for your nonprofit organization:

1. Build donor personas.

For nonprofit inbound marketing to be effective, you have to really know your different donor personas. A donor persona is a definition of a single donor that represents a group of people that donate to your organization and possess similar characteristics, qualities, needs, and expectations. For each donor persona, ask questions like, what do they need to know about our organization? Why do they want to get involved? Why are they passionate about our mission? Do they want to volunteer or are they interested in donating? Get to know each audience segment inside and out, so you know who you’re marketing to.

2. Create high-quality content.

Once you know who you’re trying to attract, you need to create content. Content is at the core of a strong inbound marketing strategy, because it’s what gets your audience to your site, keeps them engaged, and inspires them to get involved. To get started, create engaging, informative, and entertaining blogs, email newsletters, and videos that appeal to your different donor personas. For topics, consider what potential donors and supporters are searching for online and what they want to know about your cause. We also recommend sharing inspiring and personal stories of people involved with your organization to get others excited about making a difference.

3. Reach prospective supporters via social media.

After you’ve created a reservoir of content, you’ll want to get active on social media to reach prospective supporters. To get started, share research, original content, and inspirational stories to engage new prospects and start a conversation. From there, engage with your existing donors and members and let them help you spread the word about your organization.

4. Convert visitors to subscribers.

Driving visitors to your site through your content and social media efforts is only half the battle. You also want your visitors to take action once they arrive, so you can obtain their contact information, develop a relationship with them, and move them closer towards donating to, volunteering with, and committing to your organization. To get started, we recommend creating strategic landing pages and calls-to-action (CTAs) to inspire visitors to download premium content, follow your organization on social media, or sign an online petition to show their support. Additionally, nonprofit websites need to be optimized to increase conversion rates–especially within the support section and on donation landing pages.

5. Communicate and engage with your supporters.

A huge part of inbound marketing also involves continuing to delight and engage with your existing supporters to ensure they stay involved with your nonprofit. To that end, send regular emails thanking your supporters, continue to share inspiring stories, and let them know when the organization reaches a major goal thanks to their contributions. Doing so will ensure your supporters feel valued and continue to celebrate, champion, and advocate for the cause.



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Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency and lead generation agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.