Marketing Strategy + Planning

Top 3 nonprofit marketing best practices for the new year

Now that the new year has rolled in, it’s time to get back to business. As you know, marketing your nonprofit effectively is crucial to your organization’s success.

Your marketing strategy needs to be well thought-out so you can accurately portray your organization’s brand, morals, and values. If the public doesn’t know what your nonprofit organization stands for, why would they ever support your fundraising efforts?

Luckily for you, we’ve crafted 3 nonprofit marketing best practices to boost your nonprofit’s fundraising success this year:

  1. Choose your methods of communication wisely.
  2. Develop an editorial calendar.
  3. Use organizational tools.

If you’re ready to learn how to properly market your organization in the new year, let’s get started.

1. Choose your methods of communication wisely.

When it comes to communicating with your nonprofit’s constituency, it’s not just about what you have to say: it’s also about where you say it.

Not only should your marketing strategy account for informing your supporters about campaigns, building a brand identity, and growing your donor base, but it should also account for which channels reach the right people.

To evaluate your communications strategy as it stands, ask your team:

  • Which methods of communication are we currently using?
  • What kind of constituency are we addressing on each channel?
  • What are our communication goals over the next year?

Depending on your communications and marketing goals for the new year, your nonprofit may want to reevaluate which outreach channels you’re leveraging. If you find that your team isn’t reaching the right audience, you may consider adding more channels to your strategy.

Let’s go over some of the key channels you should be leveraging and the kinds of constituents you should target on each channel:

  • Email. Connecting with your constituents via email should be at the forefront of your outreach efforts. Because nearly everyone uses email, this is a great way to connect with a broad audience.
  • Phone. Reaching out to constituents via phone is a great way to connect with individuals who are already established with your organization. You can make solicitations or extend invites to fundraising and volunteer events.
  • Social media. Connect with younger constituents via social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Snapchat, and more. Since these sites are where they already are, social channels offer your nonprofit a platform to build your brand while clearly communicating your fundraising needs.One way to get a better idea of the communication channels most appropriate for your audience is by surveying supporters and adding that data to your CRM. (Check out Fundly’s nonprofit CRM guide for even more ways to learn about your supporters.)

    2. Develop an editorial calendar.

    One way to boost your nonprofit’s marketing success this year? The best way to stay on top of your marketing strategy year-round is to develop a robust editorial calendar to stay on track.

    An editorial calendar is a tasklist for your marketing committee to follow that encompasses your outreach efforts across all communications channels. Be sure to include some of the following elements when crafting your calendar:

    • The dates of your fundraising events.
    • The launch dates and end dates of different fundraising campaigns.
    • Planned dates for sending out various social posts, emails, direct mail letters, etc.
    • Key giving days for your nonprofit.

    Clearly indicate the channels on which you’ll make your outreach efforts, the target audience of the efforts, which campaigns they’re associated with, and any additional information your team may find relevant.

    Some nonprofits find it helpful to work backwards when plotting events on their calendar. For example, if you have a big fundraising event coming up, set the date of the event before deciding when to start advertising for the fundraiser.

    Bonus: Want to learn more editorial calendar strategies? Check out Salsa’s nonprofit editorial calendar marketing team tips to get started.

    3. Use organization tools.

    In addition to developing a robust editorial calendar, your nonprofit should make the most of marketing organization tools. (These include social media management dashboards like HootSuite.)

    A dashboard tool like this allows your marketing team to schedule posts, track interactions, monitor important keywords, and share consistent messaging across various platforms.

    Since the success of your digital communication efforts depends upon staying front-of-mind with your constituents, your team should take notice of the ways these will amplify your online outreach.

    Take into account some of these social sharing best practices that will help your nonprofit reach more eyes online:

    • Post visual content. Sites like Facebook and Instagram favor photos and videos in their newsfeed algorithms. This means that the more visual content your nonprofit shares, the more likely it is your post will be the first thing supporters see when they open their apps.
    • Engage with supporters. People like to connect with their favorite organizations online, not blindly follow profiles. Be sure to respond to, like, and share your followers’ posts to share the spotlight online. This way, supporters feel more involved with your nonprofit.
    • Think mobile. Since most people have their smartphones with them 24/7, your social media engagement strategy should prioritize mobile marketing. More supporters than ever will exclusively interact with your organization on their mobile devices.The best way to stay on top of your social media outreach efforts? Take the time to learn from other nonprofits in your industry.Look to pioneering organizations with a similar constituency to yours. Ask your marketing committee:
      • How does this organization establish their brand online?
      • In what ways is their online community more robust than ours?
      • How do their supporters engage with the organization online in a meaningful way?

      By asking these big-picture questions, your team can take a step back and see where your long-term growth goals should be when it comes to social engagement strategies.

      In the new year, you can start a discussion about ways to strengthen your digital marketing strategy from the ground up and avoid major social media missteps.

      Now that you have our top 3 best practices for nonprofit marketing in the new year, there’s nothing stopping your nonprofit from gaining the exposure, raking in the donations, and finding the success you deserve.

      Written by Dan Quirk

      Dan Quirk is the Marketing Manager at Salsa Labs, the premier fundraising software company for growth-focused nonprofits. Dan’s marketing focus on content creation, conversion optimization and modern marketing technology helps him coach nonprofit development teams on digital fundraising best practices.