Over the past decade, I have helped numerous non-profit organizations with their online marketing strategy. Each non-profit faces different challenges due to their limited budget, staff size and overall understanding of the best use of online marketing. With all the options on the web today, I have put together a list of 10 valuable ways to help non-profits find the means to promote their brand, market their events and, most importantly, encourage online donations to drive revenue.
1) Create a web site that is eye-catching, dynamically built and developed on a strong CMS platform.
These days, most non-profits’ need to maintain a strong web presence. As an online hub, non-profit websites have become the center of interaction between the non-profit and its members. Make sure your site is completely branded with the organization’s activities, cause and mission, and leads visitors to the proper call to action. Having a website that is up to date with event information, blogs, tweets, and photography will give visitors an immediate positive first impression.
A great Content Management System (CMS) should help syndicate all the information about the organization on all the appropriate pages. More advanced CMS platforms may even deliver proper information based on the visitor’s clicks and the keywords that drove the visitor to the website in the first place. Always find ways to encourage your visitors to come back by providing the key information that makes your non-profit unique. When choosing a CMS, make sure you put together a list of all the features you want from your CMS instead of choosing one based on name recognition or your developer’s preference. Make sure your staff tests the CMS and finds it easy to use without having to know any programming. Great content management systems should enable syndication easily and allow you to follow the business rules you put in place to sustain your strategy. Your webmaster should just populate the system, thus keeping your cost of ownership very low.
2) Use social media to share what your organization is doing.
In order for non-profits to survive and build membership, they must do positive things in the community, which reinforces the notion that it is an organization worth joining. Potential and current members enjoy reading about the results and impact your non-profit is producing. This is especially true if it affects readers directly. Use social media to focus on creating opportunities for these direct connections to flourish, and as a vehicle to build online testimonials and shares via other users. Find ways to spread the word about your non-profit’s work by promoting them on social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Quora, Google Hotpot, Yelp and other industry websites your users and potential members visit. By sharing your non-profit’s work across different platforms, you increase your odds of reaching out to potential new members.
Remember that the key to social networking is not to post blurbs about just your non-profit’s events and news, but to post and share other non-profit’s noteworthy news as well. This will help you build a relationship with that organization, so they will be more willing to spread your non-profit’s news in turn. This is a crucial strategy for all non-profits to follow.
3) Allow brand enthusiasts to become creators.
Non-profits have the best brand enthusiasm because members usually have a personal stake in the non-profit’s success. These brand enthusiasts become what we call “creators” because they will define your brand’s voice on the internet. These brand enthusiasts will create blogs, publish personal websites, and even create videos and podcast that will promote news and activities of your organization. The key for the organization is to give brand enthusiasts the proper tools to spread the word on its behalf. Tools such as RSS feeds, widgets, maybe even a connection via an API to specific information will provide brand enthusiasts with the resources they need to convey your message easily. By offering this platform to brand enthusiasts, you are essentially allowing them to become creators for your non-profit. Give your advocates the power to advocate for you!
Being a non-profit does not mean being non-proactive. Next week, I’ll share more insight on methods that will help your NPO reach out to online visitors, help them stay connected with your organization easily and effectively, and, in the end, allow your organization to stand out in an ocean of competing interests.