Today’s charities face an increasingly competitive and online environment. With challenges like government funding cut backs, an aging donor base, increase competition and more marketing directed at one’s disposable income, is it any wonder more charities are scrambling to stay a float? In order for non profits to succeed, they need to embrace emerging ways or marketing to current and future donors. Here are 5 tips we believe (and know) will help…
Call to Action: 5 Easy Steps
1. Do You Have a Blog? If Not, Get One Going!
Blogging is a powerful way to show your organization is up to date on current events and issues related to your cause. A blog will also allow your supporters and donor base to engage with your work on their time, rather than having newsletters and mailers sent to them when they may not want them. If you create and set up your blog properly, you can take advantage of the online social marketing and have your readers promote your content for you. Consider adding tags for Del.icio.us, Digg and Reddit to each post.
There are many posts in this blog that provide tips on effective blogging. Just use the search feature. Or, call us, and we can discuss ways you can improve your blog and blog traffic.
2. Get on Facebook
If your organization wants to stay current and interact with a younger audience, you need to be on Facebook. There is no if-ands-buts about it. Faebook is currently the most popular social networking site today – tomorrow it will be an other, but for today: Facebook is “It.”
Start with creating a Facebook group and inviting your staff and volunteers to join it. A Facebook group will allow you to post current events, message members, post photos and videos and inform your membership base of upcoming events. As more and more people join the group, others will see this activity on their “news” feed, a great place for free promotion. The trick to Facebook is to keep it fresh and relevant. Message users once a week, post something on the group wall regularly. Once your group is established, make sure you encourage your group members to invite their Facebook contacts. This will allow the group to grow. GuluWalk is an organization that has harnessed the power of Facebook to raise money. They have a “Facebook It” tab where users can add their personal fundraising page to their Facebook profile, effectivly reaching thousands of individuals who have never heard of them.
3. Google Ad Words, Yahoo Search Marketing and MSN Ad Centre
Advertising on Google, Yahoo and MSN can be a very cost effective way to bring qualified traffic to your webiste. Why is that traffic qualified? Simply because you are in control of who sees your ad and when by selecting the keywords and geographic areas your ads show.
Depending on the cause, you may be able to advertise for a few pennies per click. Make sure to define your overall goal for these campaigns and track your performance. All too often, charitable organizations want people to click their ad and donate money and seem to forget the concept of building a relationship with their potential donors. Relationship building works in the offline world and is important in the online world also. Set a goal that is realistic like users registering for your newsletter or viewing a key page of information. Give them something (like an white paper) in exchange for the permission to market to them in the future.
4. YouTube Likes Not for Profits
Does your organization have videos of events, fundraisers, to-dos and shin-dings? If so, assign someone to take video at the next one and post it on YouTube. Encourage those who attended the event to go online and see the video. This is a great way to keep participants engaged in your cause. Videos also allow your supporters to virally market you to others and send those videos to their friends. Be sure to put your YouTube videos on your blog as well. Consider running a contest where users can submit a video of their best fundraising idea, top event site, etc etc, and win a prize from your organization. YouTube for non-profit is another great resource. Apply to have your organization featured there—you must be American with the proper 501(3)c to be accepted.
5. Search Engine Optimization is the Key
How does your website rank? Is it visible on search engines for keywords that are relevant to search engines? If not, you have work to do. Being on the first page of the three major search engines is so important to promoting your cause to potential donors. Optimizing your website takes time and energy but the pay off is worth it. Consider hiring an organization to consult with you (like Ninthlink!) or do the work on your behalf (like Ninthlink). There are many right ways to optimize and a lot of wrong ways that could jeopardize the future success of your search engine rankings. Breaking the guidelines that Google, Yahoo and MSN have written can be extremely damaging for your organization. So – do it right! And you know, we can do it right for you – all you have to do is ask.