Digital Marketing Best Practices for Nonprofits

Nonprofit marketing teams are constantly being asked to do more with less. Resources are tight and teams are small. People have good intentions but are wearing multiple hats. Branding and marketing often fall to those that don’t have the expertise and time to do it right. I have spent a significant amount of my career providing branding and marketing for nonprofits and have witnessed this very thing. A plush marketing budget is nice, but not necessary to create an effective branding footprint, especially when it comes to a digital presence. Oftentimes, this is where nonprofits tend to struggle the most because they don’t have a clear understanding when it comes to creating and maintaining it.

Let’s focus on leveraging email campaigns and social media to help nonprofits create a digital presence. Both of these platforms have the ability to reach target audiences, tell a visual story, and provide access points to the organization. The goal is to amplify a mission statement, raise donations/awareness, draw volunteers, and increase the reach of the organization.

Branding Footprint
The overarching goal of a branding footprint is for all of an organization’s collateral to match. This includes a logo, website, social media, business cards, messaging, packaging … literally everything that represents your organization internally and externally. This conveys trust and credibility that the organization is well run and organized, as well as that the employees serving as stewards of the funds raised, will follow through on the organizations brand promise of serving those in need.

Digital Presence
A digital presence needs to fall tightly in line with the rest of the marketing materials and include consistent visuals and messaging seen online. Email marketing and social media are two effective tools available to create an enhanced brand experience online.

Email Marketing
Creating email campaigns allows organizations to segment and target the different people in their audiences. For example, you can focus on volunteers, donors, corporate partners, consumers, or peers. The key to success is to have clear messaging (what do you want them to know or do? What is the CTA?) that utilizes the same language and design elements across all the marketing platforms. It is easy to integrate video and drive people to a similarly branded organization website. Email marketing tends to be more formal and precise.

Social Media
Social media is an amazing opportunity to engage with followers and connect with people new to the brand. It provides an incredible opportunity to tell and show stories about the organization. To truly be impactful, it’s important to create a visual flow that incorporates the same design elements and messaging but allows for the ability to create a unique spin through video, animated gifs, guest appearances, tagging and design templates.

Create a branding guide (i.e. rules for use of logo, colors, fonts) and editorials calendars and stick to it. Remember, you don’t need a big budget to create a plan. Consistency is your key to success with both tools!