It’s by no surprise that businesses and organizations are relying on digital business practices more than ever before. A lot of federally mandated laws and public health concerns have required organizations and businesses to do things dramatically different than they ever could have imagined. However, if we turn our optimism dials up a bit, this global tragedy is forcing businesses to do new and different things. Thus, spurring growth and innovation. Now is the time for nonprofits to start investing in the digital space. To help with that, we had our project manager and web developer sit down with each other to discuss how to utilize digital marketing for nonprofits. Whether you are fresh into the digital world or a seasoned expert, there are things you need to know and should be considering. If you want to watch our team hash this out on camera, click the video below. Otherwise, keep reading!
What are nonprofits doing to adapt to today’s climate?
Many nonprofits depend on in-person fundraisers and events to raise money for their annual budget. However, due to restrictions on large gatherings at this time throughout the country nonprofits have been faced with a major obstacle to reaching their fundraising goals in 2020.
Although these challenges have forced nonprofits into difficult circumstances, the necessity for transition has created opportunities for them to dive head-first into the world of Digital Marketing. One of the main ways nonprofits can recover and/or replace their funding needs is through virtual fundraising events.
Virtual Fundraising Events
Virtual events allow organizations to take the core components that make up their in-person event and turn it into a digital experience that can be broadcast to a much larger audience. There are several methods you can utilize to plan and pull off a virtual event, but our best recommendation is to utilize either the “Livestream” or “premier” functionality of Facebook Live, Youtube, or Vimeo. This method allows you to build urgency around a specific date and encourage people to tune in at the same time and ultimately donate to your cause within a fixed time window. By creating urgency and at times suspense with a “snooze you lose” hype around your event, people will not want to miss it! However, it leaves you with the opportunity to still share the recording with people at a later time through follow-up emails and your social channels for those who could not make it. You’re free to post it publicly after the event is over for people who couldn’t make it. Just don’t tell people that will be an option before the event starts.
When done properly, virtual events can be very simple and easy to repurpose once you’ve developed the model for your organization. Beyond repeatability, some other benefits are:
Reduced Overhead Costs
Virtual events eliminate the large expenses associated with in-person events and such as venue rentals, catering, decor, etc.
Expanded Audience Reach
Without venue limitations, your event can now be in front of an unlimited amount of people
You are no longer limited to a local audience. With the ability to extend and filter your audience you can push your event to people who normally wouldn’t be able to make your event (maybe out of towners) and target people who have the highest possibility of donating to your cause.
Maximize Your Team’s Time
If you decided to pre-record your event, during the day of the event, all you need are a couple of moderators and people to answer questions via interactive chat boxes, by phone, or video calls. We also advise having someone manage your social channels to monitor its activity and update your followers accordingly.
Proper planning can help you get a big chunk of the work out of the way early and set it all up on an automatic schedule. Isn’t marketing automation wonderful?
With virtual events, you can still make people register! Once they RSVP, you can set up a drip campaign that will automatically send them the link when the event is about to start.
Easily extend giving beyond just the event
With your list of RSVP’d guest attendees, you can continue to follow up and create unique follow-up emails based on their behavior during the event. For example, if someone registered, but did not make it to the virtual event, you can send them an email saying. “Sorry, we missed you! Whatever the circumstance, we want to make sure you feel like you’re a part of this community. So, here is the link!”
You can also send thank you’s to people who donated and “check out reminders” to people to add a donation amount, but never hit “submit”. In other words, an abandoned cart reminder.
Social Media Tips for Nonprofits
Beyond your virtual event, a nonprofit organization can capture more reach by investing in its social media channels. People are online more now than ever before. We touched on this in our blog last week. Social media provides an opportunity to take advantage of that screentime surge and engage with a younger audience in new ways and help your org evolve their communication and fundraising methods beyond the “this is how we have always done it” approach. If you choose to invest in your channels, consider these tips:
- Try doing a live stream or a zoom call. Let people get to hear from those on the frontlines of your organization. Show a little behind the scenes that only your social media viewers get to see. Try using the stories feature to build more engagement.
- Give your audience a virtual field trip or tour of your facility, programs, services. Always make your brand messaging clear and consistent. Does the experience of a client or program participant in real life match up to what you’re portraying online?
Digital Advertising for Nonprofits
Another way to expand the reach of your event is to advertise it! Since your event is now virtual, you might as well use virtual/digital ads! We talked more about this in a previous blog so check out → Reach More Donors With Your Online Presence.
Nonprofits receive some fantastic benefits through Google (like a complimentary stipend of $10,000/month spend on Google Ads) to help promote their organization. Use it to your advantage and reach hundreds of thousands of people every month!
Depending on your target audience, you Unfortunately, that stipend does not cover the 2 major social media platforms, Facebook, and Instagram. However, you can go a long way with a little bit of money on those platforms! The reach may not be as big as a $10,000 budget on Google, but social media ads have proved to be more effective in regards to ROI and the conversion rate. Give them both a shot!
Setting Up Your Website For Online Donations
When you start to take donations online, there are a few things you need to do beforehand. First, and arguably most important, get your SSL certificate. This is essentially a way to verify the security of your website and give you and your visitors peace of mind that hackers cannot steal their credit card or other personal information.
After that is verified and set up, check your payment processor. Similar to Google giving nonprofits special features and benefits, most payment processors offer a discounted rate on your transactions. One of our favorite payment processors, Stripe offers a 2.2% + 30¢ per transaction for nonprofits as opposed to their for-profit rate of 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. It may not seem like much at first, but trust us, it adds up.
Your donation page and donation form should be quick, easy, and pleasant to use. You want to make the giving experience as easy as possible. We also HIGHLY recommend making sure you have the option to set up recurring giving. You will raise more money (and thank us later).
Monthly giving is a great way to include people who may not be able to contribute in a large sum, but can give consistently over time! It also helps create a sense of community, collaboration, and teamwork with your donors. Their constant contributions help give a sense of inclusion and connectivity to the organization.
Data is the world’s most valuable resource, surpassing oil! As a nonprofit, you have the ability to tap into that resource and use it to increase giving and stay connected with your donors. Start off by collecting names and email addresses. Ideally, you would have more than that, but if you don’t this is a great place to start. Another vital component of data collection is combining it under one roof. Preferably a CRM or Customer Relationship Management tool like Salesforce, Hubspot, or Sharpspring.
By having it all under one roof it is easy to organize your data lists, reach out to the right people, and plan marketing campaigns with data-backed strategies.
Stay Connected With Your Donors
One of the largest benefits of investing in the digital sphere is your ability to stay connected with your donors. Communicate clearly and often to ensure they don’t forget about you.
There is a lot of noise in the digital marketing arena. So, make sure your message is clear, concise, and gets to the heart of your organization.
We have given you a lot of things to think about when it comes to navigating the sphere of digital marketing within your nonprofit organization, but don’t feel too overwhelmed. Whether you’re just beginning to dive into digital marketing or need some specific feedback on how to take your marketing to the next level, we are here to help. Contact us by clicking here or giving us a call at 253-680-3980