Digital Marketing for Non-Profit Organizations

Non-profit organizations have thoroughly professionalized the last few years. The money they raise is used for good causes, and the projects they do often benefit society as a whole. But the awareness they raise for their projects is at least as important. We are convinced that digital marketing makes perfect sense for non-profit organizations. We know that because we have been members of a non-profit organization for many years, and still are.

Why do we think that? These organizations do not use marketing with the idea of making a profit, selling or making money. Yet, in our opinion, they DO sell something. Even if financial profit may not be their goal, non-profit organizations want to grow as well: they are looking to increase memberships, get more donations or find more sponsors for a project.

digitale marketing for non-rofit

Is online marketing different for non-profit organizations?

At first glance, there seems to be only a tiny difference. For website development, social media channels and email for example, the costs are more or less the same. And just like profit making companies, they are looking for online ways to reach their target audience.

But there are some differences. For non-profit organizations, marketing budgets tend to be significantly smaller. That makes them think more critically about what they will spend their budgets on. Most companies are looking to get as much bang for their marketing buck as possible, but non-profit organizations simply have have much less to spend, and have to prioritize even more.

Online marketing may cost less, but it still costs money to advertise on Facebook or hire a copywriter. That’s why non-profit organizations are forced to focus on low budget solutions. For example, instead of working out a traditional brochure, they will rather opt for organic social posts to reach their target audience. 

Non-profit organizations that use content marketing, don’t build their content around the customer, but around the charity or projects they are supporting. Companies use content marketing to inform potential customers about trends, discounts or their services. The ultimate goal for them is to sell products.  A non-profit organization however will create content around their purpose, their reason to exist.

Online tools for non-profit organizations

One of the biggest advantages non-profit organizations have, is that many online tools are available at big discounts. Microsoft and Google have their non-profit pricing, and platforms like Hubspot and Mailchimp apply special discounts for non-profit as well. You just need to look for it a bit harder.

E-mail marketing

We keep on telling people: email marketing offers one of the highest ROI’s. This also applies to non-profit organizations. Members typically join for a good reason, they have a very clear idea about what they want to achieve. Usually, they want to help a specific target audience with fundraisers or projects. That makes segmentation and personalization much easier, which in turn increases open rates. Many email marketing tools offer a free or very affordable basic version that can already help you stand out.

Social media

Non-profit organizations often have very strong content and catchy stories. Social media is the ideal way to share these stories with your target audience. You can do organic posts, or you can consider starting a paid campaign. In any case, choose well when and for what purpose you want to run paid aids. For example, if you want to sell tickets for a fundraiser event, or if you want to attract more members, it may be useful to advertise.

One of the reasons people make donations is to give back to society. Not everyone wants the same thing. Some people want to know where their money goes and how many people they’ve helped. Some people want to know successful stories from people they helped. Others may just do it out of pure goodness, whatever the cause may be. Social media gives you many options to get your message across.

If you’re doing marketing for a non-profit organization, then definitely consider online marketing. It is well worth the effort, and everyone’s online these days anyway. It only takes some creativity, some time to get familiar with new tools and the willingness to make a difference with your organization. If you want to get some inspiration for your non-profit’s digital marketing activities, feel free to contact us.

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