How to Do Digital Marketing For Non-profits

In recent years, nearly 70% of non-profit organisations around the world have struggled to get funds over $500,000.  But what makes some succeed, when others fail? The answer is marketing- storytelling, originality, and collaboration.

Like any other business or organisation, non-profits also depend on marketing to spread their message across and gain the needed brand awareness. A big difference here is that the target audience consists of potential volunteers and donors instead of potential consumers, as it is with other companies and businesses. A big challenge that marketers face when dealing with non-profit marketing is persuading people to donate or participate in the cause without having to give anything in return.

In this article, we will take a look at the benefits marketing strategies bring to non-profit organisations, as well as some useful tips on how to implement them.

How to Do Digital Marketing For Non-profits

Benefits of a Non-profit Marketing Campaign 

  • Awareness. Marketing can help a non-profit communicate a message, introduce its mission, and promote awareness on certain issues and campaigns to the right target audience and stakeholders.
  • Brand image. It is vital for a charitable organisation to use its mission and brand values to create a powerful image in the eyes of people that are important to the organisation. This would eventually lead to brand loyalty and positive feelings towards the non-profit.
  • Lure partners and volunteers. Marketing is extremely important when trying to get more people involved in campaigns and volunteer. Getting the message out there will also help to grab the attention of potential business partners, who want to participate in charitable activities and events.
  • Stimulates social change and action. At the end of the day, the main focus of non-profit organisations is to promote and encourage positive change. By reaching and involving a larger group of people with a marketing campaign, there is a bigger chance of lobbying strong companies, politicians, and other strongly influential individuals.
  • Raise funds. Without donations, such organisations would not be able to grow, thrive, and operate. Hence why developing appropriate communication on donation procedures and how donations are being used is essential for their existence.

What is a good ROI of Digital Marketing for Non-profits

Return of investment (ROI) plays a crucial role in all aspects of promoting and selling, especially in digital marketing. ROI provides information on whether certain campaigns are worth the efforts and returning previous investments.

Making sure that efforts are focused mainly on areas of marketing with the highest ROI is essential for non-profit organisations. This would eventually lead to spreading the word to valuable audiences and placing the organisation where it would make sense.

According to an M+R study, the spend on digital marketing by charities in 2020 has increased by 33%, with organisations spending $0.10 per every $1 spent, and return per ad spend reaching $4.78 for search advertisements, $1.05 social media, $0.38 display, and $0.27 video.

Steps for creating a successful Digital Marketing strategy for non-profits

Think of sustainable Goals

It’s good to dream big but when it comes to organisations and businesses, it’s more important to dream realistically. Choosing sustainable goals means that you have calculated and brainstormed ideas and strategies that your non-profit can genuinely sustain without losing too much of the initial investment, any supporters or participants in the project.

Build an Attractive Website

In the digital marketing world, having a great online presence is of great importance. The first step towards that goal is creating an attractive, accessible and user-friendly website. In many cases, this will be the first thing an audience encounters when looking for further information about your campaigns and missions. The website’s design should be stimulating and persuasive to get more people involved in your cause. Its success depends on grabbing the attention of everyone who sees it and helping you build a presence online, meaning that target audiences and stakeholders need to be aware of it.

Engage in Social Media Marketing

Social media has taken an irreplaceable role in our lives. More and more people rely on social media platforms to get familiar with news, events, and different campaigns they would like to take part in. These channels are not only great for sharing information and getting your message across but also provide an opportunity to expand your audience and reach. To do so, it is important to respond to questions, ease the donation process on these platforms, plan and produce sharable content, and measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns.

In order to have a more successful social media campaign, you will need to get familiar with the different platforms- their purpose, and user demographics and interests. Here are 4 of today’s top most famous social media platforms among businesses:

  1. Facebook– Generally used for sharing photos, news, and updates, Facebook is a platform built to connect people with family and friends, with main users being either in their 30s or 40s.
  2. Twitter– The go-to place for updates and news, and sharing opinions on specific topics. Most people using this social media platform are between the ages of 25 and 35 years old. Note that using the right hashtags on Twitter is essential to reach the right target audience.
  3. LinkedIn– The professional networking platform is aimed at professionals and businesses. LinkedIn is great for B2B marketing and creating awareness among many influential figures.
  4. Instagram– It’s where people go to take, edit, and share photos and videos. You can use Instagram to reach your audience and take them “behind the curtains” of your campaigns. According to Embedsocoial, a third of the most viewed stories are ones shared by organisations.

Make a Blog and Optimise it

Now, when you’ve developed a great-looking website and have a clear vision of your sustainable goals, you would want to keep online visitors engaged and interested in your website. Here’s a great way to attract people to your website:

  1. Create a blog page.
  2. You need to drive traffic to this blog. To do so, you will have to optimise the blog content with the use of specific keywords that your audience is typing in when looking for information.
  3. You need to share interesting and fresh content, that would place your website on the first pages of search engines, and will stimulate readers to get involved and donate.
  4. Link to and get links from other relevant blogs, as Google transfers authority via those links.
  5. Remember to be consistent and creative with the content you provide to your readers.

If possible, it will be beneficial to take an SEO course to learn about optimising and other search engine opportunities. Explore the below list of quick, easy, and free SEO and digital marketing courses, shared by reliable sources:

Create an Investor Outreach Strategy

When working on an outreach strategy, it’s essential to have everyone involved in your organisation in mind. We are talking sponsors, donors, partners, volunteers, employees, and so on.

Communication is what marketing is. Hence why the outreach to your stakeholders and followers has to be proactive and consistent. Send informative emails, ask for feedback, and answer questions- simply engage with your audience.

In order to have a strong outreach strategy, you need to be aware of the organisation goals, research the market, talk to internal and external stakeholders, have a strong strategic plan, and most importantly- know your brand and audience. Some digital channels that you can use to execute your outreach campaigns can include email, podcasts, and social media.

How to Do Digital Marketing For Non-profits


Email/text prospects to Increase Awareness

An old, but still quite effective way to get a word across in non-profit marketing is sending promotional emails and texts. This way you can make your supporters aware of future campaigns and events. You can take this strategy a step further and send out personalised messages. After all, building a relationship with your audience is extremely important for charitable organisations.

Track your Digital Marketing Efforts

How you will measure the success of your digital marketing campaigns is one of the first things you need to decide on. Some metrics you should consider are the ones concerning email subscriptions, volunteer applications, pledge signatures, and completed donations. Once you’ve got those numbers out, you need to plan the strategy execution process and later analyse the performance of your campaigns. This would give you information on why your target is not completing certain actions that are essential to donations, subscriptions, etc.

To help, here is a list of five free tools to monitor your digital marketing efforts, results, and how to improve them:

  1. Google Analytics (analyses all that is being searched and clicked; great for PPC) –
  2. Hubspot (website, social media, and CTA performance) –
  3. Screaming Frog (SEO) –
  4. Semrush (SEO) –
  5. Ahrefs (SEO) –


As you see, digital marketing is slightly different for non-profits, but the goals are similar- to get as much as you can on a limited budget and get recognition. Follow and apply the above-mentioned tips, and you will find it much easier to succeed with your digital presence.

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