It’s no secret how, nowadays, a non-profit’s online presence sets the stage for steady growth and success. Still, sometimes there seems to be an abyss between knowing the value of digital, and actually getting on with it. I’ve run a small non-profit myself and have sat on numerous Committees, so sealing that gap is the whole reason I started this business.
Let’s say you have your eyes on a grant. If your non-profit hasn’t done its ‘digital due diligence,’ chances are you’ll end up wasting resources and time prepping the grant application. Do you realise your website is your online storefront? It’s easy to feel deflated by the idea of digital if it’s not your jam, but the rewards are life-changing.
What happens when someone visits your website? Do they leave confused and wondering what it is that your non-profit actually does, or feeling connected and eager to join your cause?
In the end, your fundraising strategies will stem from your non-profit’s ecosystem. So, how do you streamline your efforts to make them efficient and worth it?
1. Map out your funding model
Traditionally, non-profits would get funding through events, door-to-door visits, phone calls and even direct mail. The arrival of the web opened a slew of opportunities that helped expand organisations’ funding streams. Why not make great use of all these tools?
From online donations and crowdfunding to email marketing, online raffles and silent auctions the opportunities are endless.
2. Create your non-profit’s online strategy
A well-thought and executed online marketing strategy is key. There are different aspects to it as your online presence is not limited to your website. It also includes your Social Media, features on news outlets, videos, podcasts, and whatever you can think of that would stem from the digital world. You’ll create your strategy based on your goals and funding model.
3. Let your website speak for your non-profit organisation
Your website needs to be up to date and bursting with your essence, your story, and what you bring to the world. It has to speak on your behalf!
It needs to be easy to navigate, have a clear structure, and give visitors something to do. Whether you are getting people to join your email list, register as volunteers, read your articles or donate, your site needs to be designed to make all of these very easy for them.
Your website will help you reach new funding sources, build partnerships and maintain existing relationships. You’ll still have the face-to-face element, but again, digital will maximise your reach.
4. Your non-profit’s hub
I get that many people fear they’ll lose touch with their stakeholders and community by going “too” digital. But this is a myth and I want to be really clear here. Your website is going to become your non-profit’s digital hub. You’ll use it to attract and keep your stakeholders updated, organise and manage events, courses, and spread the word on the great work you are doing.
It’s a whole ecosystem you are building here. Believe it or not, it can be a lot of fun once you get past the overwhelm and get down to it.
5. Align your content with your fundraising goals
Going back to that grant application. Is your content aligned with your fundraising goals? The answer to this lies in how you plan your year, and how you build in your content strategy.
For example, if you know you’ll be applying for a grant in 6 months, you can map out some of your content to be in line with this.
This doesn’t mean the ‘meat’ of your content will be on writing blog posts just to please the decision-makers. What you want here is to maintain a consistent and cohesive voice. Show how you are not only bringing change into the world but are also an authority in your field.
Putting all these elements in place will not only help your non-profit achieve its goals but will also help avoid something I’ve seen way too much during my career. Reactivity instead of intention.
It’s a great skill to be able to pivot, but purpose and intention should always come first, even during uncertain times. What makes an online marketing and fundraising strategy great? It gives you a set framework, leaves out the overwhelm of not knowing what to do next, keeps you focused, and also gives you room to create and brainstorm new ideas.