HarrisonRand Know-How: 3 Trends to Watch in Nonprofit Marketing

by Jason Rand, HarrisonRand

There are more than 2,500 nonprofit organizations in Hudson County doing amazing work every day to enrich our communities and elevate the quality of life throughout the County for all. Each has a unique history, mission and audience of donors and participants and each has unique challenges as trends in marketing continue to shift, technology becomes more advanced and donor behavior changes. With that in mind, it’s become increasingly important for organizations to be proactive and focused on developing strategic plans that integrate these factors to maximize engagement in new ways to amplify your message and tell your unique story to donor bases and communities.

Tell Your Story

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The growth of content marketing (video, blogs, and social media to name a few) continues to accelerate across all sectors. Non-profits have a distinct advantage here due to their emphasis on mission and positive outcomes. This sense of purpose provides the necessary foundation for great storytelling – a critical component to an effective content marketing program. Over the past year, according to a recent non-profit study, organizations have increased their focus on content marketing from 61% to 76%, only 26%, however, believe that their efforts are realizing an impact largely due to challenges such as staffing, budgets, planning and measurement.

Tip: To maximize efforts and minimize stress, develop a strategic plan and action calendar for creating, distributing, and measuring content and performance. Dedicate a team when possible to driving the initiative (consider board members or donors who might have valuable insight into outreach efforts and valuable messaging).

  • Develop a workflow plan that guides and schedules your content production, delivery and the various platforms you will use
  • Analyze and create donor personas and the content that resonates best with them
  • Focus on the how, what and whys of your approach to storytelling
  • Measure content engagement on different platforms (clicks, comments, sharing, traffic)

Think video. Think mobile.

As the undisputed champ of content marketing, video provides the most compelling and engaging experience for non-profits to communicate their mission, tell their story and demonstrate the value of the organization’s work. Most importantly, it helps create an emotional connection with your supporters that can motivate them to take action.

According to one marketing study, 90% of users said that viewing a video about the organization impacted their decision process. At HarrisonRand, we’ve discovered that video implementation also aligns with successful fundraising efforts across multiple platforms.

After studying a number of high-performing fundraising pages, we discovered that the one consistent component of each was compelling video. Visual storytelling can be an effective way to connect supporters to your mission.

Tip: Compelling video content should be considered for events, websites and email as well as social marketing campaigns.  Also consider embedding a call to action within the video, to make sure viewers know what they can do. Remember, Hudson County is on the go! Make sure your communications are consistent, clear and responsively designed for mobility (Keep your messaging brief and CTAs colorful, bold, and clean). Streamline the conversion process to keep your supporters engaged and improve your mobile strategy.

Make it Personal

The rise in content creation and online communication with audiences presents unique opportunities for nonprofits, but also often frustrating challenges for organizations to track, analyze and truly engage audiences in ways which best suits their preference. Non-profits of all scales, from global to local initiatives are competing for audience’s attention so your mission’s ability to truly connect requires personalization.

Like all relationships, nonprofits can strengthen their connection with donors by effectively communicating in a way that’s meaningful and personalized for them. This requires a deep understanding of your supporters and how they like to be engaged.

Fortunately, as technology has improved, it’s become cheaper and easier than ever to leverage the right resources that can help you learn more about your donors and deliver customized content to them, no matter their current engagement stage.

Tip: There are a number software solutions to better understand your donors. For example, with the right fundraising software, you can add intake questions to your checkout page to gather more information, such as interests and reasons for giving. You can then craft separate follow-up messages that are meaningful to your supporters and show that you care.

There are also many email automation software options available that you can use to analyze donors’ interactions on a broader scale and launch subsequent targeted email campaigns. And by feeding this application into a backend CRM (constituent relationship management) system, you can also effectively manage and track donor data in a single database. This will help you understand supporters’ giving habits, track trends, and identify opportunities for larger gifts.

In light of these emerging nonprofit marketing trends, it’s time to think more strategically about your organization’s strategic planning in concert with communication methods. No doubt it will require time, effort, and patience, but the improved results will be well worth the investment. By taking the necessary steps to understand your supporters and how they prefer to be engaged, you can dramatically improve engagement and more effectively carry out your mission.

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