Nonprofit marketing: how to build a digital marketing strategy

Digital marketing is often overlooked in the nonprofit world. 

This is usually because nonprofits are focused on providing the services needed to help their community, not promoting themselves.

However, marketing is an important consideration for all nonprofits. A properly executed digital marketing plan can help you reach more donors, people that need your services and raise awareness for your cause.

Here are some ways that you can maximize your nonprofit digital marketing strategy without an extensive staff or budget.

Focus on the basics

Building a nonprofit marketing strategy may seem impossible and overwhelming. Where do you even begin?

The answer is to keep things as simple as possible by focusing on the essentials for digital marketing. In fact, all you really need is a one-page document to start with.

This one-page document needs only the following information to be effective:

  1. What are your goals for the next year? Be specific and only focus on quantifiable objectives.
  2. How will you measure success toward these goals? If you don’t have the tools necessary to measure your goals, you will either need to find the tools or change your goal to something that can be tracked.
  3. How can digital marketing help you reach your goals? Your options are:

    1. To raise awareness for your organization or its services to the community
    2. To encourage donors to contribute to your organization or people to use your services by cultivating their interest
    3. To collect donations, subscribers, etc.
    4. To get more existing members, donors, clients to engage with your organization and your services
    5. To encourage repeated donations, membership or even referrals
  4. What digital marketing tools will you use to accomplish these goals? Your options are:
    1. Blogs and articles on your website
    2. Email marketing – building a subscriber list and sending out updates, asking for donations, announcing events, etc.
    3. Website pages for specific initiatives or services
    4. Paid digital advertising on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google, etc.
    5. Paid digital advertising in specific online publications
    6. Guest posting on other websites
  5. How will you track the success of any marketing efforts? Again, only choose metrics that you can actually track with tools you have access to.

One indispensable tool that every nonprofit can use for free is Google Analytics. All you need to do is install a tracking code on your website to begin tracking website visitors. You can even take free online classes to learn more about the platform.

Consider a marketing committee

When you’ve developed this one-page document, you’ll need approval from leadership to begin the work of implementing your basic marketing strategy. If you don’t already have one, consider creating a marketing committee on your board of directors. This group can help you emphasize the importance of a digital marketing plan for your nonprofit and keep things on track for success.

If your board is particularly involved in day-to-day operations, you can also ask for their help in executing some of your marketing strategy. This will be particularly helpful if members of the committee have any marketing experience.

Find or invest in talent to help you

The biggest challenge that nonprofits often face is a lack of staff time and talent to accomplish all of their goals. This is especially true for digital marketing strategy.

The best option for long-term marketing success is to invest in a talented staff member who will focus solely on helping your organization achieve its goals through marketing success. This can be easier to accomplish once you’ve shown initial success with basic marketing steps, especially if you have a marketing committee on your board that is involved in marketing decisions. You can begin the hiring process by posting on our job board or looking at our member’s only resumé bank.

If you aren’t ready to commit to hiring a full-time or even a part-time marketing staff member, you can get some help from an agency. There are plenty of marketing agencies in Nashville that you can reach out to. Also, consider getting nonprofit marketing help from the Center for Nonprofit Management here in Nashville. Their consultants can help you develop a marketing strategy that works for you.

However, hiring another staff member may truly be out of reach for many organizations. In that cause, your nonprofit can turn to Taproot. Taproot connects nonprofits organizations to consultants that work pro bono. These consultants can help in many different ways but one of the main areas is marketing. Learn more about finding a volunteer here.

Of course, you can also find a volunteer in your community, but that may be more difficult. The best way to find a talented volunteer willing to help is to build a meaningful relationship through networking. Attending one of our many networking events is a great place to start.

Nonprofit digital marketing can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. Start with small steps and you can tackle your organizational goals.

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