When it comes to attracting new donors, your nonprofit likely uses tried-and-true strategies like direct mail and referrals. While effective, these traditional strategies limit you to people with some connection to your geographical location and mission. With new technology, though, anyone in the World is now a potential donor. And as more people spend more time online, it’s crucial that your outreach meets them there.
As part of a series of articles on attracting new donors, this piece covers innovative strategies you may not have considered and how to use them without being a tech expert or spending a fortune.
If you haven’t already, create accounts on the major social media platforms, especially those popular with your current donors. Make sure to publish any content or major events for your organization. Social media platforms are a great way to build an emotional connection from your work to increase donations.
The key to social media is being adaptable. Platforms come and go, and you need to be willing to learn the next big thing. You might have a platform working well now, like Facebook, with your existing donors. But it’s essential to test out other platforms to reach new audiences, such as Instagram or TikTok.
When you try a new platform, appreciate that success takes time. Be willing to commit at least six to 12 months with a similar effort to your other channels. If you post on Facebook every week but only once every three months on another social media platform, can you really determine if it works?
One benefit of trying new social media platforms is that they allow you to experiment. Perhaps you have a creative idea for a post, but it’s a little outside your comfort zone. Try it on your secondary platform first because your primary audience will likely not see it if it doesn’t land.
An influencer is someone with a large following and platform on social media. Think of who is well-known in your niche and the local area. See whether they’d be willing to do a joint post together.
For example, if you run a humane society, you could ask local dog influencers if they’d be willing to shoot a video at your site. Your organization will benefit from their reach, plus you gain the skills of an experienced content creator. They might even be willing to cover costs to generate goodwill for your mission.
Another type of influencer would be a large/mega donor in your community. Some nonprofits think they should keep these donations secret, but what is that benefit? See whether the donor would be willing to sit for a video to explain why they gave. It could encourage others to do the same, especially if they know the donor.
Your website is the foundation of your online marketing appeals. Make sure it’s well-designed, clearly showing the good work you do. Also include multiple, obvious links to your donations page throughout.
As you plan your website, you need two types of content. First, the site should have evergreen pages explaining your operations. This content highlights and explains why your work is meaningful and doesn’t change much over the years.
Balance this with material showing what your organization is doing at this moment through blog posts and photos. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic allowed nonprofits to show how they reacted in real time. Posting regular content can also help your website rank better with search engines.
Paid search engine and social media ads can drive more traffic and potential donors to your website, posts, and other content. Google also offers a program where nonprofits could qualify for up to $10,000 monthly in free search ads through their Google Ads Grants program. Figuring out the return on paid ads isn’t always obvious, especially in the short term. But the investment could end up making a significant impact.
Let’s say there are 100 nonprofits in your city focusing on your work, and a highly motivated volunteer is looking to commit their time and money to just one. If your organization isn’t showing up in a search engine, how will this person find you? With paid ads, you can become the first option people see.
That said, planning paid ads can be complicated if you aren’t experienced and don’t have the help of a digital marketer. A straightforward way to start is by setting up paid ads for your nonprofit’s name. It’s simple and relatively inexpensive. In exchange, you wouldn’t lose traffic to a similar nonprofit when people search for you.
Another strategy is to team up with a nonprofit operating in a similar lane without being a competitor. For example, a food bank could partner with a secondhand clothing store for a joint coat drive. Some ways to team up include:
- Hosting joint events
- Sharing donor contacts
- Coordinating on joint thought leadership pieces
- Promoting each other’s social media posts
Attracting New Donors with Aldrich
Launching donor outreach strategies takes time. If you’re new to these approaches, consider starting with one and building from there. Soon you’ll be getting the word out through all kinds of different channels.
For more help attracting new donors, check out the tips for traditional outreach strategies or reach out to the nonprofit experts at Aldrich.
Meet the Author
Bobby LaCour, CPA
Aldrich CPAs + Advisors
Bobby joined Aldrich in 2005 and has over ten years of experience in public accounting. He specializes in providing attest and accounting services to nonprofit, manufacturing and other private middle-market entities. He also has extensive experience with internal control and operations analysis. Balboa Park Online Collaborative audit committee member American Society of Certified Public Accountants member... Read more Bobby LaCour, CPA
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