November 14, 2016
Nonprofits today are turning to inbound marketing's collaborative approach to campaign strategy and data focus to boost advocacy and increase donations. Examining top nonprofit digital trends provides insight into the strategies working best online.
After all, despite the average American household donating $8,700 in 2015, many donors are still only moderately optimistic about the effect of their giving, per Fidelity Charitable.
The idea of smarketing — aligning sales and marketing — is prevalent in inbound marketing. When it comes to nonprofit marketing, it's as important to align marketing's efforts with the donor management team. Working together closes the loop to better identify donor opportunities and also helps:
This improved communication between departments can also improve overall efficiency. Integrating marketing and fundraising reporting, the nonprofit can make better decisions about campaign strategies.
Taking the nonprofit's message online is not only about being present where potential donors are spending the bulk of their time. High-quality, attention-grabbing content can engage donors and potential donors in the cause in a compelling way.
Determine what is eliciting reactions from visitors with the analytical insights available through marketing automation software.
Employing the metrics that truly matter can inform smarter choices with higher returns. Instead of focusing attention on the number of hits or page views, downloads or followers, count conversions, track engagement with social content and identify the content that is actually leading to donations.
Effective content typically gives supporters a reason to visit the site, subscribe to a newsletter or follow the nonprofit's social media. Video, in particular, is showing positive results. Even with this medium, though, make the organization’s mission clear and insure it’s easy for donors to give.
Related reading: 5 Best Practices for Nonprofit Website Design
Traditional online campaigns today are better personal appeals, in several ways. By encouraging individual donors to create personalized fundraising pages, telling their own stories, the cause gains greater traction. Each individual is soliciting donations directly from friends and family, instantly adding to the nonprofit’s credibility, and yet the organization is benefitting directly.
74.5% of fundraisers raised more than $500 and shared their crowdfunding pages on social media — Everydayhero in Blackbaud
Peer-to-peer fundraising can increase donation levels while also expanding the potential donor base with individuals sharing their own stories with people they know. This scales up the overall fundraising campaign with little direct resource input from the nonprofit.
Related reading: 5 Steps for Growing Nonprofit Email Lists
More nonprofits are also creating online storefronts for donors to purchase “causewear” products. With articles of clothing or accessories publicly demonstrating their support of an organization, the donor is rewarded with a customized product while donating to the cause. The nonprofit not only sees gains in awareness and funds, but also can benefit from individuals social sharing the storefront and introducing their social networks to the cause and its related products.
Optimizing fundraising efforts for mobile devices is key among nonprofit digital trends. Nonprofits need to be sure their websites and especially their donation pages are mobile-friendly. Nonprofit websites need to minimize text, focus on a single, have a clear message, and make the donate button colorful and easy to spot online.
Visual storytelling is particularly effective in mobile fundraising. In creating a narrative with high-quality images, consider spending additional time and effort to optimize the messaging, calls-to-action and page load time to capitalize on mobile audiences.
Related reading: 7 Critical Mobile Fundraising Trends for Nonprofits
Online communications can be pushed out to an audience more quickly than direct mail campaigns. The nonprofit that "newsjacks" with a targeted email campaign tied to a particular top story can see a fast fundraising uptick. Or linking a social media giving to push a current event that is trending can have a short but sweet impact too.
For instance, the American Heart Association (which ties fundraising to a ruby red color) might have posted on social media thanking Ken Bone for picking a sweater that so obviously supported their cause along with an image of the post-debate Internet phenom, a quick statistic, and a donate link.
Nonprofits have a ready outlet for a story and emotional appeal on social networks. Again, just having a social media profile is insufficient. No one will be coming to the Facebook page to see that big Donate button if you don’t devote time to posting relevant, interesting content. Simple engagement tactics include:
Of all social media platforms, nonprofit marketers use of Instagram increased the most in 2016 from 38% to 58% — CMI & Blackbaud
Related reading: Why Inbound Marketing Matters for Nonprofits
The top nonprofit digital trends will change frequently as the online environment evolves. Nonprofits are busy, but Ironpaper will help keep you abreast of the latest.
Blackbaud. (2016, August). Philanthropy by the numbers 2016. https://www.slideshare.net/blackbaud/npexperts-2016-philanthropy-by-the-numbers
Content Marketing Institute & Blackbaud. (2015, November). Nonprofit Content Marketing 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends— North America. https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2015/11/nonprofit-2016-content-marketing-research/
Fidelity Charitable. (2016), The Future of Philanthropy. https://www.fidelitycharitable.org/docs/future-of-philanthropy.pdf
Moore, K. (2016, October 30). 7 Crowdfunding Trends That Nonprofits Can Learn From. https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2016/10/91816-7-crowdfunding-trends-nonprofits-can-learn/
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