The global pandemic abruptly changed the entire business landscape for every type of organization, no matter big or small. In many ways, it also accelerated technology adoption as businesses were compelled to look into creative digital solutions to function remotely and continue to serve their client base. Likewise, many nonprofits had to quickly rethink how they would incorporate technology in their day-to-day operations, including programming and marketing activities. Despite serious hurdles, successful nonprofits moved swiftly towards adopting digital transformation to continue running programs remotely, raise funds online, manage donors, recruit volunteers, and attract new talent. On the other hand, many organizations that lacked digital skills, infrastructure, and vision suffered tremendously as they were left in the blind on account of their inadequate online presence.
Why Digitalization is Crucial for Nonprofits?
Organizations that don’t prioritize digitalization and hesitate to invest in developing digital marketing infrastructure will be left behind. But the ones that do will see significantly positive results to their ROI and a substantial increase in their overall impact
As we move into 2022 and things are slowly going back to “normal”, investments into the digitalization process especially in the context of fundraising and marketing has become even more crucial for nonprofits. For example, recent data suggests that the majority of the donors prefer donating online as fundraising has largely moved to digital channels. This is just the tip of the iceberg as digital transformation is fundamentally reshaping all facets of nonprofit operations beyond fundraising and marketing. To put it simply, organizations that don’t prioritize digitalization and hesitate to invest in developing digital marketing infrastructure will be left behind. But the ones that do will see significantly positive results to their ROI and manifold increase in their overall impact. A properly planned and well-targeted digital campaign can reach the right audiences and can help a nonprofit increase its outreach, traction, and impact.
In this article we look at five highly effective ways nonprofit leaders can leverage the power of digital marketing in 2022 with smaller budgets to reach more people, raise more funds, and achieve more growth:
1. Leverage Your Social Media for Fundraising
One of the most important areas where you should focus your attention in 2022 is social media. Creating social media accounts e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., is essentially the first step toward connecting with new donors, engaging supporters, and garnering awareness about your nonprofit brand in the digital world. Once your social media accounts are set up and you’ve built a bit of followership, then you can leverage your online presence to achieve key organizational goals, such as raising donations, recruiting volunteers, or building networks.
Social media platforms particularly Facebook and Instagram have recently become one of the most popular avenues for charitable fundraising. Recent data suggests that 97% of the revenue raised by organizations on Facebook is through fundraisers. You can also sign up for Facebook charitable giving tools which enable you to recruit your supporters to fundraise on your behalf. This is extremely helpful in increasing the fundraising prospects and also engaging supporters in a meaningful way. Similarly, you can also leverage Instagram with its own set of charitable giving tools by linking your Facebook page to your Instagram account, as both companies are now owned by Meta. Thus it’s easier than ever to employ social media to boost your fundraising efforts and the best time to do it is in 2022.
2. Optimize Your Blog Content for SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the cornerstone of any successful digital marketing strategy. Particularly, it can greatly help your blog content gain significant attention from readers online. But keep in mind that SEO is a perpetually shifting arena and it’s not enough to simply write outstanding blog posts on your website. In 2022, your aim should be to ensure that your website hosting your blogs has a fast loading time along with simple navigation, and is also mobile-friendly. To stay ahead of the competition, it’s essential to regularly craft highly relevant and engaging blog content while following SEO best practices.
Creating and distributing backlinks to your blog posts is another great way to increase their SEO ranking. Having a robust backlink strategy in 2022 is crucial as it can help bring in more traffic to your landing pages from other websites and sources. If done properly, this can result in more supporters, donors, and volunteers who genuinely care about the causes you are trying to highlight. Finally, it’s now much more easier and cost-effective to outsource content writing at a reasonable price. You can check out Fiverr, CatchaFire, and UpWork to hire exceptional freelancers who can help you craft valuable content for your readers or optimize existing content for SEO.
3. Tweak Your Email for Maximum Impact
According to M+R Benchmarks report, in 2020 email messaging led to an increase of 19% in the overall online revenue compared to 14% in 2019. Similarly, when it comes to nonprofit fundraising, for every 1,000 messages sent to the public, there were $78 raised. This marks a 35% increase in the donated amount over the same number of messages sent in 2019. This data clearly indicates that in 2022 you must prioritize email marketing campaigns to succeed in your fundraising efforts. A good point to start is your email list. You can do a number of small tweaks such as adding an email opt-in pop-up to your website, creating a ‘subscribe’ landing page, and most importantly managing your email list. Email automation is another high-impact area that is proven to be extremely effective in increasing engagement, open rate, and Click-through-rate (CTR) of sent emails.
To maximize the impact of your email campaigns, consider using different growth hacks such as tweaking your staff’s signatures (email footer). In doing so, you can achieve two important objectives. Firstly, modifying email signatures can create an exciting and distinct style for your organization’s emails, and secondly, it can be used to include a bit of a text with a link back to your website homepage or donation pages with a clear Call-to-action (CTA). Personalizing and injecting personality into your emails can garner greater attention and help generate new site visitors, raise more funds, and recruit potential supporters. Lastly, always include tracking links to each of your landing pages to gather crucial data for future analysis and experimentation.
4. Utilize Analytics to Personalize Your Communication
Effective communication is at the heart of every nonprofit’s success as it plays a key role in garnering support from stakeholders and constituencies. Today’s world runs on data, and nonprofit communication is no exception. Instead of relying on assumptions, your focus should be to use data as the backbone of your communication strategy. This involves developing a deep understanding of your donors, volunteers, supporters, beneficiaries, and communities. For many nonprofits, this seems like an insurmountable challenge but fortunately, there are a number of highly effective solutions available that can be of great use case.
For example, when it comes to fundraising from donors, campaign managers can utilize predictive fundraising analytics to make crucial decisions that are based on comprehensive insights and data modeling. It tells you clearly who, when, and where to reach out to in your database and how much to ask for based on donors’ past behavior. Similarly, by better understanding the donors and supporters, you can strengthen your connection with them by communicating in an effective, customized, and meaningful way. Utilizing analytics can also help you create high-quality customized content that delivers value to your audiences, no matter their current engagement stage. Software solutions such as KIT offers tools to track data to better learn about your donors and can help you make sound fundraising decisions.
5. Optimize for Mobile to Increase Engagement
One last crucial aspect related to digital marketing that you need to pay utmost attention to in 2022 is mobile. No matter whether you like this trend or not, the shift to mobile is here, and it will continue to be well into the future. Current data suggests that more than 75% of people now use smartphones to read and respond to their emails. This mass migration away from the desktop calls for urgency to invest into having mobile-responsive nonprofit communication. In fact, it’s becoming an increasingly decisive factor for nonprofit donors and supporters. For example, as many as 80% of users either delete the email or unsubscribe from the email list altogether based on the fact that email isn’t optimized for mobile screens.
The bottom line is that an average mobile user is on the go and without optimizing your content for mobile, it’s literally impossible to capture the attention of your audiences and keep them engaged with your organization’s mission. As the prominence of mobile browsing increases, make sure your online presence is optimized for mobile users. This includes investing time and resources in making your website, email, donation pages, and landing pages more clear, mobile-friendly, and easy to read. This small investment can go a long way in increasing the chances of your messages being read, shared, and even promoted by your supporters.
In light of emerging digitalization trends in the wake of the global pandemic, it’s time to think more strategically about your nonprofit’s marketing and communication methods in 2022. You must take full advantage of technology and leverage email campaigns, social media, videos, and virtual events to boost awareness about your causes, raise funds, and attract supporters. A big plus for using digital marketing over traditional channels is that it creates more opportunities to track and gauge the effectiveness of your efforts. Make a priority to employ the above-mentioned five nonprofit digital marketing strategies this year, learn from the results, and iterate. Always remember, nonprofit digital transformation requires organizational change, time, and money, but the improved results will be well worth the investment.