Creating a successful marketing strategy takes time and effort, and it’s easy to get frustrated when you’re told one or two effective methods aren’t enough. Being exceptionally successful on one platform is cause for celebration, but you’ll only ever reach a fraction of your potential audience when you limit yourself to the handful of marketing tactics you’ve mastered.
Expanding your marketing strategies doesn’t just give your nonprofit more opportunities to reach supporters. Maintaining fundraising momentum, especially in a crisis, requires a variety of strategies to keep up with current marketing trends and avoid getting lost in the online shuffle.
As a fundraising coordinator, you may still be unsure if it’s worth it to invest resources into researching and implementing new marketing strategies. To explain what benefits your nonprofit can gain from diversifying your marketing tactics, this guide will explain how a varied communication strategy can:
- Spread the word about upcoming events
- Send traffic to your online donation page
- Break through the digital clutter
- Build personal relationships with supporters
Learning how to ask for donations takes time and experimentation. Expanding to new platforms requires trial and error, but your efforts can be rewarded by putting your nonprofit in touch with an entirely new audience.
1. Spread the word about upcoming events
Fundraising events don’t just help your nonprofit earn donations, they also give your supporters an opportunity to come together and form a community centered around your nonprofit. This means that in addition to bringing in revenue on the day of your event, properly managed events can lay further groundwork for continued support.
Whether your event is in-person, hybrid, or online, you’ll want to attract as many guests as possible to ensure its success. If you have specific communication channels that already have a large audience, you should continue to use them. But be aware that by limiting your range of platforms, you are also limiting your potential audience.
Successful marketing for nonprofit events relies on a multi-channel approach for a few key reasons:
- Create more touchpoints with supporters. Using more platforms means that you may run into the same supporters more than once. While it might seem wasteful to market to the same person twice, repeated contact is actually a vital part of converting your audience into supporters. Through multiple interactions across different platforms, supporters will be exposed to your nonprofit’s message in a variety of ways, some of which may appeal to them more than others. Each interaction also gives your supporters another chance to act on your calls to action.
- Reach new supporters. Not everyone uses the same platforms. Consider supporter demographics as you research new potential audiences. While you do want to market to people who are similar to your current audience (and thus likely to offer support), you don’t want to impose restrictions on who you reach out to. By expanding to new channels, you might find potential supporters who have much in common with your current audience or unexpected new supporters you didn’t initially consider.
- Increase brand awareness. Before launching your marketing campaign on a new platform, create a style guide to use for all external communication. By doing so, you can ensure that your marketing team is creating materials that consistently represent your nonprofit’s brand, no matter where their messages are posted. Supporters who see your brand will then become increasingly familiar with it and more likely to interact with your materials due to that recognition.
Events allow your nonprofit to make personal connections with new supporters and reconfirm relationships with old ones. This makes them one of your most valuable marketing tools. Even if everyone who attends doesn’t end up becoming a lifelong supporter, expanding your attendance gives you more opportunities to find a few who might.
2. Send traffic to your online donation page
Virtual fundraising requires your nonprofit to have an online donation portal. While it’s easy to link your donation page in emails and other digital marketing messages, you can also direct traffic to your giving page using other methods that might be more convenient for some of your donors.
Your donation page should be optimized for mobile users, so supporters who are away from their desktop computers can still donate with ease. However, you can direct donors on their phones to your donation page even faster than the time it would take to type in your donation page’s URL.
QR codes can be added to your direct mail appeals and other physical marketing materials to allow users to quickly scan an image and navigate directly to your donation page. For direct mail, specifically, QR codes can expedite the donation process as most people carry their phones everywhere on their person, including when they check their mail.
Text-to-give numbers can be even faster and pair well with events. For example, while your supporters are engaging with a fundraising activity or watching an event, you can announce your text-to-give number to the entire crowd. Supporters who take out their phones to donate will encourage others to follow suit.
Text-to-give requires using a software provider, which means doing your research ahead of time. Resources on the internet like this one can help you get started in understanding core features. Additionally, you can reach out to other nonprofits who use text marketing and text-to-give tools to ask about their experience and gain valuable insights.
3. Break through the digital clutter
Online marketing has created new opportunities for nonprofits to connect with their supporters, no matter where they are in the world. However, it’s also created new challenges. As nearly every organization now has the ability to market online, digital spaces have become highly competitive, which can make it difficult to get noticed.
This doesn’t mean your nonprofit should drop its social media or email campaigns. These tactics can still reach supporters scrolling through their feed and emails with attention-grabbing images and subject lines. However, you can complement your online presence by giving your supporters other ways to stay in touch.
For instance, traditional mail now feels more personal and thoughtful than it once did. Formal invitations, handwritten cards, and other mailable documents all stand out because supporters expect digital marketing as the norm. Of course, it’s not enough just to send a letter through the mail—the content you deliver also needs to give supporters a reason to stop and consider it.
GivingMail’s guide to fundraising letters walks through key strategies to construct an effective outreach letter. A few highlights are:
- Discuss your cause. In a social media post or email, you need to get your message across fast. Supporters scroll through their feeds quickly and only stop if something catches their eye. Your physical letters should be concise, too, but they provide more space to share your nonprofit’s story. Use emotional appeals and anecdotes to explain why your nonprofit’s work is important and how supporters can help. Ensure your language choices center donors as the heroes of your organization by directly attributing your nonprofit’s accomplishments to their support.
- Personalize your message. Letters already feel personal, and your nonprofit can further reinforce this by addressing each supporter by name. For supporters who have engaged with your nonprofit in the past by donating, volunteering, or attending events, reference their involvement in your letter. This shows that your nonprofit is aware of and appreciates their support.
- Make your letter visually appealing. One of the greatest strengths of traditional mail appeals is their physicality. Recipients pick up your letter, turn it over in their hands, and make a visual assessment before deciding what to do with it. You can improve the likelihood they’ll hang on to your message (and keep it in the back of their mind) by using engaging visuals and high-quality materials.
Mail shouldn’t replace your online marketing strategy. But by using these tactics alongside your digital outreach campaign, you’ll approach supporters on multiple platforms, giving them more opportunities to consider your message. For example, if a letter does catch their attention, the next time they see a social media post from your nonprofit, a donor might be more inclined to see what it has to say than before they received your mailed appeal.
4. Build personal relationships with supporters
Your supporters believe in your cause, but they also want to feel a personal connection with your nonprofit. Building relationships takes time and repeated contact, which is easier to accomplish when you have more ways to approach your audience.
Think about your different types of supporters. There are supporters who like to donate quietly, guests who attend activities and events, and your volunteers (who may also like to donate and attend events). You can build stronger relationships with these groups by creating unique marketing approaches for each one.
For example, if you want to encourage your volunteers to consider donating, you wouldn’t send them your normal donation request email because they already have a relationship with your nonprofit. Instead, your communications with them should reference volunteer experiences they’ve had with your nonprofit to acknowledge their past efforts.
As Double the Donation’s guide to volunteer management explains, “Proper volunteer acknowledgment can take many forms, from simple thank-you notes after a shift to full-blown volunteer appreciation events.” In other words, diversifying your approach to engage your volunteers stewards relationships with the people who keep your nonprofit running.
Take this approach for every group of supporters. Consider their past history with your nonprofit and brainstorm multiple ways you can build on your existing relationship to encourage future participation.
Your marketing strategies all have the same goal: to encourage supporters to interact with your nonprofit by reaching them in new ways. Even if most of your audience share similar interests and goals, no two marketing tactics are exactly alike. Different platforms simply engage specific segments of your audience better than others. By diversifying your approach, you set your nonprofit up for more options to achieve marketing success.