Marketing strategy for a charity and nonprofit organization is the use of marketing tools by a nonprofit organization in pursuit of a variety of goals, which can range from promoting the organization and its message to fundraising, encouraging membership, engaging volunteers, and driving political or social change.
Marketing is as important for non-profits as it is for businesses, but the target audience is potential donors and volunteers, not potential consumers, and the challenge is to convince your audience to donate money without necessarily getting anything tangible in return.
In this post, we will try to explain why, in the new normal determined by COVID-19, marketing is so important for nonprofit organizations and why its integration in the overall strategy of all available resources, online and offline, is the best answer. We’ll also try to identify which digital solutions are worth investing in today.
Digital integration in marketing for charities and non-profits
The non-profit “market” is becoming more and more crowded. In the wake of various situations of suffering and discomfort around the world, the causes that demand attention and need immediate action, both national and international, seem to multiply every day.
In addition, the spread of COVID-19 has profoundly influenced the way that marketing strategy for a charity and nonprofit organization can be practiced. Think, for example, of the boom that has hit nonprofit associations for medical research, or the way that the tools for online fundraising have changed.
In such a context, it may seem outdated that much of the fundraising for many nonprofits is done primarily using traditional sales and marketing techniques, such as face-to-face collection. The latter, for example, which seems to work in the short term, may have a long-term impact on trust — and not necessarily a positive one.
Choosing to reduce or eliminate face-to-face (f2f) personal contact may in fact allow you to move beyond single-touch (“street” or “door-to-door”) fundraising, leaving ample room to focus instead on an online-offline campaign designed to get leads and qualified donors.
While these channels continue to prove effective for some segments, in order to intercept the emergencies, sensitivities, and needs of different donor pools, new measures and initiatives are needed to achieve greater transparency and personalization. Digital integration thus inevitably ends up being on the to-do list for most nonprofit organizations.
Digital marketing strategy for a charity and nonprofit organization: Social, email, video
According to McKinsey, when things return to “normal,” 75% of users who have gone digital in these last few months of lockdown and social distancing will surely continue to use the new tools. In contrast, it seems highly unlikely that offline consumption will grow to pre-COVID-19 levels.
The truth, however, is that many third sector practitioners conceive of digital as simply a support for traditional channels. Yet integrating digital into the marketing and communications plan can increase the effectiveness of other channels, helping reach the potential of each within a multi-touchpoint fundraising funnel.
Some organizations, also aided by the emergency produced by the crisis, have taken the opportunity to begin a digital transformation that has led them to develop more flexible methodologies and tools. The pandemic has given a big push toward diversifying revenue streams and supporter segments.
At the same time, it has accelerated processes that had already begun to modernize the communication methods of organizations, who are increasingly forced to move in an almost exclusively digital scenario.
What are the most effective digital solutions that nonprofit marketing is learning to master?
Social media marketing
Social media marketing allows nonprofits to share their messages globally and locally to target profiled audiences and respond quickly to emergencies. Social media offers nonprofits many benefits:
- Promote awareness: Communicate the mission and new initiatives, campaigns, and issues, reaching the people who need support
- Build community: Grow the base and recruit potential volunteers, speakers, supporters, and mentors. They create channels and groups where people can interact, share resources, and stay informed about issues of interest
- Motivate to action: Encourage people to participate in concrete initiatives (such as sit-ins, marches, protests, marathons), lobby politicians to adopt certain policies, and organize fundraisers
- Make an impact through sharing: They build an engaging narrative by celebrating victories both large and small, celebrating the contributions of every volunteer and donor, and communicating campaign results in real time
Email marketing is not only effective in supporting the business of large and small companies, it is also an extremely useful tool for non-profit organizations. Email marketing can make an important contribution in contacting and involving people through direct outreach that is spaced out over time.
Email marketing for nonprofits:
- Helps keep the workload under control
- Activates contact with all selected recipients through a minimum flow of operations
- Develops a donor base (distinguishing different degrees of “loyalty” within it)
- Expands the reach of initiatives by reaching more recipients in less time
With the lack of time (and sometimes limited resources) faced by most employees (often volunteers) of nonprofit organizations, email marketing is one of the best ways to open and maintain a channel with supporters.
Moreover, through email, it is possible to communicate the results achieved to donors, in terms of the impact of the donations collected, and show the organization’s appreciation and gratitude.
Video, in its various forms, is confirmed as one of the most used resources within the content strategy of brands and institutions. According to the latest Wyzowl survey (2021 edition) for 93% of marketers involved, videos are a fundamental part of their strategy.
They constitute a powerful tool that:
- Is used more and more with each passing year (the number of companies using video as a marketing tool has increased by 41% since 2016);
- Hits the target of increasing understanding of products and services among potential and existing customers (94% of people surveyed have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service).
The unprecedented events of 2020 have profoundly affected the supply and demand for video, so much so that:
- 91% of marketers believe video has become even more important for brand communication
- 68% of consumers say the pandemic has affected the amount of video content consumed online, and the vast majority (96%) say the amount has increased
- 86% of video marketers say video has increased traffic to their website
- 94% of video marketers say video has helped increase users’ understanding of their product or service
Video also continues to have exceptional reach: People enjoy this content online for an average of 18 hours per week (an increase of 2 hours per week from 12 months ago and an increase of more than 7 hours per week over three years) and are twice as likely to share it as any other type of content, including social media posts, blog posts and articles, and product pages.
4 tips on how to create a video marketing strategy for nonprofits
For all of these reasons, many nonprofit marketing professionals often use video to make their organization’s voice more incisive, to gain visibility among the many competitors, and to communicate with supporters and increase awareness of their mission and individual causes.
The importance of marketing for nonprofit organizations is also confirmed in the case of videos, which prove to be an excellent way to tell stories. Storytelling can humanize the organization while providing supporters with all the information they need to make informed decisions.
Here are some suggestions for creating a video marketing strategy in line with the values of a non-profit organization.
1. Identify the goal. Video is often perceived as a tool for creating awareness, but it can do so much more for nonprofits. It can, for example, make a contribution to fundraising. Google has found that online videos are the best online method for incentivizing donations. After watching an online video about a cause of their interest, more than half make a donation.
A video (or series of videos) can also be used to get more website clicks and broaden the base for email marketing initiatives or increase followers on social media.
2. Provide your audience with all the educational resources they need. Video marketing is also a particularly good way to let your audience know all the details of a cause or initiative, transparently explaining why you need to offer support and dwelling on the impact the activities described will have.
Information will have a greater chance of being memorable if it is told with empathy and tailored to the experience of the individual recipient. The secret is to calibrate the tone of voice and include elements of personalization.
3. Use direct, clear, easy-to-understand calls to action. What actions should the recipients of a video communication take? If the goal is to collect donations, it is absolutely essential that the call to action is clear. For this reason, it is better to limit the requests contained in a single CTA and insert links to direct the viewer to specific pages of the site for a given campaign.
4. Share on social. To take advantage of the opportunity offered by social networks and reach a targeted and motivated audience and thus enhance the value of the video content, it is necessary to plan a multi-channel distribution that takes into account the functions and technical characteristics of each social network.
To get more views, in addition to organic distribution, it may be a good idea to consider running adv campaigns and regularly testing and optimizing ads. Through the targeting options of the different social networks, it is also possible to define different audiences and compose more effective call-to-actions.
An example of successful video marketing: Doxee’s personalized videos
More and more, even in the case of non-profit organizations, a successful marketing strategy must be aimed at building a relationship of value that is capable of lasting over time. At the base of this relationship, there is the ability to listen to the recipient of the communication. Starting from this first phase, which is one of exchange and mutual involvement, it is possible to produce tailor-made solutions capable of translating the will of the volunteer or donor into action.
Doxee Pvideo® is the Doxee solution that harnesses the wealth hidden in people’s data to create and distribute personalized and interactive videos. It enables the creation of unique videos composed of scenes selected based on each recipient’s data, rich with custom text and banners, ad-hoc chosen images, personalized voice through text-to-speech, and audio library.
Doxee Pvideo® is rich in interactive features. You can show pop-ups, include links to landing pages for data collection, and use calls to action that allow you to complete a purchase or make a payment.
The User Directed Storytelling (UDS) feature turns each video recipient into a director of their own digital experience, allowing them to choose the path of storytelling and navigation. Interactivity is one of the main features of Doxee Pvideo® and helps make it a bi-directional communication tool that informs and explains and more about the recpient and his desires with every interaction.
Each video can be digitally distributed via a PURL, a custom URL that makes the content accessible only to the intended recipient and only for a limited time. With the PURL, Doxee Pvideo® can be distributed in a multichannel mode, through any digital channel such as social media, SMS, email, app notifications, and chatbots.
The ability to attract the attention of the recipient through the personalization of content, combined with the interactive features, make Doxee Pvideo® a multi-level communication tool that can be perfectly integrated into the marketing strategy for a charity and nonprofit organization.
Doxee personalized videos can shorten the funnel, whether it’s the workflow through which to obtain useful contacts and maintain the vitality of communication channels, or the process of fundraising, ensuring high conversion rates.