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Growth Marketing

6 Nonprofits Using Digital Marketing to Spread Their Message

Written by Melissa Randall / January 3, 2018

As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.

When it comes to increasing awareness and buzz around a cause, non-profits are often forced to adapt creative and scrappy tactics. Tight budgets require them to squeeze every bit of ROI from every investment, especially marketing.

Non-profits are starting to realize the power of digital marketing methods to accomplish their goals and get the most mileage from their marketing budgets.

In this article, we highlight seven nonprofits that are using creative digital marketing strategies to build awareness and successfully reaching a wider audience for their causes.

6 Inventive Examples Of Nonprofits Using Digital Marketing

  1. Engage More with Your Audience
  2. Simplify Digital Campaigns
  3. Create Bold, Meaningful Stories
  4. Implement Paid Search + Social Strategies
  5. Switch Up The Tone
  6. Impactful Content and Video Marketing

The same digital marketing campaigns used to generate leads and spread brand awareness at for-profit companies can also be used for non-profit. Here are some specific examples of how actual nonprofits are utilizing these strategies to spread their message.

1. Engage More With Your Audience | Make-A-Wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has worked to fulfill the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses since 1980. They are constantly engaging their audience with interesting and inspiring content utilizing digital marketing strategies.

By publishing engaging content such as blog posts and videos, Make-A-Wish helps spread the message about the kids they work with.

These tactics contribute to Make-A-Wish Foundation's success. They're currently one of the largest charities in the United States, bringing in around $302 million per year.

2. Simplify Digital Campaigns | IRC

In response to The Trump Administration's ban against Syrian refugees, The International Rescue Committee (IRC) launched a letter-writing campaign. The goal was to reach elected officials and encourage them not to discriminate against refugees.

The IRC supplied their followers with a printable postcard and the mailing addresses of elected officials. They also encouraged participants to tweet out their support of the campaign. As a result, nearly 70k letters were sent from activists.

The simple, yet creative approach is a great example of how non-profits can do more with less.

3. Create Bold, Meaningful Stories | UNICEF Sweden

In 2013, UNICEF Sweden produced videos calling out “slacktivists”. Slacktivists are people who regularly engage with charities online, but rarely donate. One video featured a ten year old boy named Rahim, who said he's not worried about getting sick like his mother because UNICEF Sweden has so many Facebook likes.

Aside from sending a clear message, “Likes Don’t Save Lives”, the goal of the campaign was to raise money for vaccines. It worked. Nearly 637,000 children received vaccinations.

Bold stories aren't difficult to tell. Non-profits can stand out by creating messaging people actually care about and feel an emotional connection to.

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4. Implement Paid Search + Social Strategies | GlobalGiving

GlobalGiving connects donors with charities that match their interests and goals. Before finding out about Google Grants, GlobalGiving tried more traditional marketing methods. After gaining a free PPC advertising grant from the program and maxing out their $10,000 budget, GlobalGiving received a $40,000 and increased their traffic by 400%.

Facebook and Twitter can also be useful for targeting potential donors. By using their hyper-specific targeting tools and boosting posts that have performed successfully previously, non-profits can experiment and refine a paid social strategy.

5. Switch Up The Tone | The ALS Association

The Ice Bucket Challenge was a huge win for the ALS Association. Using the momentum from that campaign, The ALS Association improved their content strategy, and optimized their site for mobile. As a result, they saw an increase in engagement from previous and new donors.

A specific tactic The ALS Association used was to update their email marketing campaigns. Instead of writing on behalf of the association as a whole, they wrote the emails from the perspective of a doctor working directly with patients. By switching up the tone, the association saw an increase of people reading through the emails, as well as an increase in donations.

6. impactful Video Marketing | Charity Water

Charity Water has been around for a while. And, because of their aggressive content marketing, you've probably heard of them before. They are great at utilizing impactful video content to build awareness and generate support for their clean water initiatives.

Rachel Beckwith's Mom Visits Ethiopia. from charity: water on Vimeo.

Nonprofit Marketing Thrives Under Pressure

Non-profits don’t need a large budget or expansive team to pull off inventive, smart digital marketing strategies. By creating interesting content for your non-profit and driving traffic to your site, you can start connecting with more donors and increasing your chances of raising funds for your cause.

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