The process of creating a digital marketing strategy puts a mirror in front of your non-profit organisation. It can unveil gaps, messaging shortcomings, lack of online presence, or an unresponsive website.
Understandably, non-profits’ budgets tend to be tighter, but what I’ve seen many times is not simply a budget issue. It’s mainly a resistance to incorporate technology as part of a streamlined digital framework.
The time and resources a digital marketing strategy can save non-profits are key. But, above all, is the power of delivering cohesive and consistent messaging across the online world that will eventually take a non-profit to the next level.
So, how do you get started?
Understand where you are now
Many well-intended folks try to skip this step as it can be a bit overwhelming. But having a clear idea of where you are now will set the foundations for success. It will allow you to map out clear goals for your digital marketing strategy, which, as a consequence, will impact all the aspects of your non-profit organisation.
In this easy infographic for evaluating your website, we share with you the main insights to audit and find opportunities for growth and improvement.
Define your non-profit’s goals, and digital marketing will follow
Usually, non-profits’ goals are to engage and educate their local communities, drive donations, find volunteers, and increase awareness over social matters.
Even when non-profit organisations have similar goals, what differs is the main focus, planning and execution to achieve these.
For example, when we created the website for the Transition Village Wallan project, we also shaped a 12-month digital assist plan that would then transition back to the organisation’s volunteers. The key takeaway here is that by that time, the TVW team would be able to run the show with the right knowledge and skills.
In the end, it’s about aligning your non-profits’ core mission and vision with your online presence.
Plan how people will find you online
Imagine your house is located on a corner of a 4-avenue intersection. You are hosting a gathering and will have people coming from all different parts of town, and each of them will take a different path to reach your address. This correlates pretty much directly to the online world, and how people will find you.
The SEO Avenue
Let’s say your non-profit’s website is your home, which must have some essential ingredients to cater to all your guests with ease.
Then, one of the avenues is called SEO –Search Engine Optimisation– which determines how people will find you when they search on Google or any other search engines.
The Social Media Avenue
On the other side of the street, you have Social Media. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tik-Tok.
The Featured in Media Avenue
If you’ve been interviewed in the media, or have an article published on different websites, then that’s another avenue your guests can follow to find your house.
The Word of Mouth Avenue
And finally, the good ol’ word of mouth. People that look for you directly because friends or family or colleagues recommended your non-profit, or assisted you in one of your fundraising events.
Why all these avenues need to clearly lead to your home
The major roadblock I see when it comes to getting people to actually arrive on a non-profit website is that the path from one place to the other is not 100% clear.
Imagine your guests are at the door but don’t have your apartment number. It’s frustrating. If someone is on your Facebook page but then can’t find the link to the website, that’s a wasted opportunity.
Learning how to increase visits to your website is one of the fundamentals of every digital marketing strategy, as it’s there where the real action happens. Focusing on funnelling people from all avenues directly to your website will have a major impact.
Map out your visitors’ journey on your website
Another essential aspect of any digital marketing strategy is what you want your visitors to do once they find your website.
This applies perfectly to non-profits as they rely mostly on online donations, grants, fundraising campaigns, and volunteers. Hence, being assertive and building trust are a must.
Visitors need to clearly understand the core values of your non-profit. What’s your non-profit’s mission? Who are the people behind the project? How can they donate and/or volunteer? What’s your location? Where can people interact with you on Social Media?
The way you create and display your content across channels will speak for you and will give visitors the next thing to do on your website. The more your guests hang out with you, the more they get to know you.
When someone subscribes to your newsletter, clicks the donate button, volunteers, or writes you a testimonial out of the pure joy of creating a positive impact, that’s when you know your strategy hit the mark.
Applying a digital marketing strategy to your non-profit
At this stage, you are clear on:
- Where you are now
- Your non-profit’s goals
- How you’ll funnel people to your website and
- What you’ll lead them to do once there
It’s important to create and keep documents of this process. Proper documentation will help you put together the strategy as a whole, and will keep you and your team accountable. It will also give you a framework to learn and reach out to experts to help you, to prioritise, budget, execute, and set grounded timeframes.
Assess and plan for ongoing success
A strategic marketing plan entails an ongoing commitment and speaks constantly to all the other planning aspects of a non-profit organisation.
It’s really not a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of thing. It needs to be built into your non-profit’s operation procedures. Otherwise, you may just be spending instead of investing. When you invest wisely, you get to reap the rewards. Focused consistency is crucial for building both trust and a strong foundation for your non-profit’s digital marketing strategy.
Make it part of your framework to review and evaluate results. Understand how to interpret stats and keep your online presence relevant and growing.