By incorporating some nonprofit marketing best practices into your day-to-day strategies, your organization can increase your visibility to the community, communicate your mission, and share opportunities to get involved.
We've broken down the top nonprofit marketing best practices into 5 different categories. This way your nonprofit can target the area of marketing with the most opportunity for growth.
Read through our whole guide or use the navigation below to jump to the section where your marketing strategy needs a tune up:
- Best Practices for Donor Retention
- Best Practices for Email
- Best Practices for Social Media
- Best Practices for Events
- Best Practices for Acquiring Supporters
Refining your strategy is best accomplished when you can implement all of these nonprofit marketing best practices from a single integrated software suite. With a single solution, you can focus on outreach, data storage, and donor retention all at the same time!
If you're in a hurry, we also have a condensed list of our nonprofit marketing best practices below.
Nonprofit Marketing Best Practices:
- Store insightful data about your supporters.
- Segment supporters into meaningful groups.
- Brand your organization's emails.
- Make sure emails are mobile responsive.
- Trigger email series in response to supporter actions.
- Keep up with various social media platforms.
- Automate scheduling of social media posts.
- Link to your event registration page.
- Create an events page on your nonprofit's website.
- Use effective lead capture forms.
Ready to learn how it all works? Let's dive in!
Nonprofit marketing best practices for donor retention
Marketing doesn't only refer to your new supporters. While acquiring new supporters through your marketing outreach is important, your organization should also be focused on retaining your existing supporters.
The average donor retention rate from 2018 was 45.5% according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project. The retention rate after a single donation tends to be lower than those after the second donation.
But how can your marketing strategy help retain more donors? To effectively market your nonprofit to your existing supporters, make sure you store insightful information about supporters and segment them into meaningful groups.
1. Store insightful data about your supporters.
When supporters give to your nonprofit, they provide ample information to help you learn more about them. For instance, you may learn information about each individual donor's:
- Preferred method of giving
- Average donation amount
- Connections with other supporters
- Events attended
From this information, it's easier for your nonprofit to reach out to supporters and help them get more involved in a meaningful way.
For instance, if one of your supporters has given in the past using your online fundraising page and has a high email open-rate, you'll likely have the most success reaching out to that individual through email and linking them directly to the fundraising page.
It's all about nurturing the existing relationships. The more you know about your supporters, the better you can refine your messages to best appeal to their interests and needs.
2. Segment supporters into meaningful groups.
Storing information about individual donors is great, but it's difficult (or impossible) to reach out to each individual supporter with new marketing materials.
That's why we assign meaningful groups of donors so that we can reach out to many supporters based on a shared quality.
Within your CRM, you can choose to segment supporters by any of the data you've collected within donor profiles. Then, you can adjust your marketing materials based on the quality shared by the group of supporters.
Segmenting your supporters into meaningful groups helps your nonprofit personalize your marketing outreach without adjusting the materials individually.
With a completely integrated CRM and marketing software solution, you can easily apply your segmented groups to various messages without downloading lists or uploading contact information. It can all be done from the single platform!
Nonprofit marketing best practices for email
Email is one of the main tools used by nonprofits to communicate with supporters. It's an easy and unobtrusive way to reach a large audience. Plus, when used effectively, email can be paired with the donor retention strategies listed above to improve donor relations.
Most donors probably check their emails at least once each day, ensuring you're likely to get decent visibility rates in their inboxes.
If you're not already using email as a part of your marketing strategy, now's the time to start. And if you're already using it, now's the time to improve.
When you craft emails to your supporters or potential supporters, be sure to brand them, create trigger series, and ensure your emails are mobile responsive. Curious about other email best practices in the nonprofit world? Campaign Monitor has a list of 7 Items Every Nonprofit Email Should Include.
3. Brand your emails for your organization
By maintaining a consistent brand throughout your marketing materials, you can better establish an element of trust with your supporters.
Between checking out your website, social media platforms, and emails, they'll get used to your brand. This way, they'll know a message is from you before they even start reading!
To brand your emails, maintain certain visual elements between your various online materials such as:
- Your logo
With a well-established brand, you'll help increase your organization's visibility for your online community.
4. Make sure emails are mobile-responsive
Once your email is branded, it's time to move onto the next nonprofit marketing best practice: mobile-responsiveness.
You never know which device your supporters are using to read your messages. With the popularity of smartphones, it's becoming more and more important to make sure your emails look good on a desktop, tablet, and mobile device.
The right marketing software makes it easy to design your emails to match your brand and ensure high quality on any size device.
5. Trigger email series to reach the best audience.
Email series are multi-step, triggered email workflows in response to supporters joining different groups, completing specific actions, completing an action on a specific page, or otherwise interacting with your organization.
Essentially, the steps in an email series look like this:
- A supporter takes action with your organization, such as signing a petition.
- The supporter receives an automatic email thanking them for their involvement.
- Additional emails are sent to the supporter over time encouraging further involvement.
- Once the ultimate goal is completed, the supporter is dropped from the series, but can remain on your normal email list.
Email series are great options to encourage new supporters to get involved in new and exciting ways with your organization.
For instance, if your goal is to obtain donations from new supporters, you might trigger an email series to encourage giving from those who sign up for your newsletter.
Nonprofit marketing best practices for social media
Social media is no longer an option for nonprofits. It's so embedded in the day-to-day lives of people that it would be silly not to have accounts set up for your organization.
Social media is a great opportunity to keep your supporters up-to-date about the latest news from your organization.
These are powerful platforms to get the word out about your next event, fundraiser, or other activity. But in order to make the most from your accounts, your nonprofit should keep in mind some nonprofit marketing best practices for social media: keep up with your platforms and automate your posts.
6. Keep up with various social media platforms.
We've seen nonprofits make the same mistake over and over again. They want to improve their visibility, so they create accounts on every social media platform they can think of. But when it comes to maintenance, they don't have the staff or time to post to every platform regularly.
This can actually hurt your nonprofit. Just imagine, a new supporter searches for your organization on Facebook, but realizes nothing has been posted in the last 5 years. That supporter immediately leaves and doesn't give the organization another thought.
Platform maintenance is more important than platform number for nonprofits.
This means that your nonprofit should only open accounts for as many social media platforms that you can maintain and post to on a regular basis.
7. Schedule and automate posts.
One of the best ways that nonprofits can not only keep up with their various social media platforms easily, but also ensure their message is reaching the largest group of people, is to schedule and automate the release of posts.
If you schedule posts ahead of time to be released at the same time as you send emails to your supporters, you'll ensure the largest group of people possible will see your message.
Consider this: Let's just say your nonprofit sent an email inviting everyone to an annual event. A supporter sees your email, but doesn't get the chance to read it thoroughly due to a busy schedule. However, later on, they see the post on Facebook about the event, remember the email, decide to learn more, and eventually register.
Within a complete nonprofit marketing and fundraising solution, it's easy to automate the release of social media posts to multiple platforms, saving you time and energy.
Plus, with this process automated, your nonprofit can easily manage more social media platforms! For instance, check out the above image. With the right marketing software, you can automate a mass post for your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumbler accounts all at once.
Nonprofit marketing best practices for events
Events are an incredible engagement opportunity for your nonprofit's supporters. They get to see your staff members face-to-face and enjoy all of the activities your organization has to offer.
It's a great way for your nonprofit to raise money while stewarding your supporters toward further involvement.
However, events must have attendees to be successful. That's why you need to focus on effective marketing best practices for your events. For instance, include plenty of links to your registration page and an events page on your website.
8. Link to your registration page
Registration pages collect valuable information about your event attendees. This tool helps your nonprofit collect payments, prepare for the number of attendees, and collect other vital information about each attendee. For instance, you may want to know about your attendees':
- Meal preferences
- Custom seating options
To obtain the information you need and encourage more registrations, be sure to link to your registration page from your marketing materials.
When your nonprofit creates the event registration page in the same software platform as your marketing emails, social media posts, and more, you'll create a seamless transition from the marketing material to the registration page.
Plus, creating resources within the same software ecosystem makes it easy to keep consistent branding and feel between your outreach materials and registration page.
9. Create an events page on your website
Some of your regular supporters will be excited to get involved with as many of your events as possible. That's why it's our next nonprofit marketing best practice to create an events page directly on your organizations's website.
You'll want to accommodate those supporters who not only want to attend one of your events, but as many as possible.
Create and frequently update a page on your website where you list each of the upcoming events and link to the registration page for each.
Other elements that you might consider adding to this page include:
- A calendar. This makes it easy for supporters to get a visual idea of when each of the events will be taking place and how they can plan accordingly.
- A map. Including a map on your events page helps supporters better understand where your events take place in relation to your headquarters or their homes.
Maintaining a consolidated location to host all of your events' registration pages helps supporters know exactly where to go to learn more about your upcoming opportunities. However, it also helps your organization quickly and easily link to content in future marketing materials.
Nonprofit marketing best practices for acquiring supporters.
Reaching out to supporters already in your CRM is an incredibly effective way to encourage further involvement from those who have already interacted with your organization.
But how do you get new people to interact? Acquiring new supporters to get involved with your organization takes a different mindset than encouraging existing supporters.
With existing supporters, you already have information about their interests to help you personalize messages. Plus, they've already shown an interest in your organization, so you don't need to explain your mission or fundamental information to them.
To acquire new supporters you need to introduce them to your organization and encourage them to engage in a low-risk way.
One of the most effective ways nonprofits can collect information about new supporters is through strong lead captures.
10. Use effective lead capture forms.
Lead captures are simply forms that organizations can include on their website to engage supporters and encourage them to provide their basic information, such as their name and email address.
Strong lead capture forms should:
- Be branded to your organization
- Fit in naturally with the rest of your website
- Not overwhelm your supporter
Form builders should be completely customizable so that your nonprofit can ensure your lead captures appear natural.
Plus, completely customizable forms will help your nonprofit ensure you can collect all of the necessary information from the supporters. However, be sure not to ask for too much or else they may abandon the form.
When your nonprofit has access to a software ecosystem that seamlessly integrates functionality, you can streamline the information new supporters provide in the lead capture into your CRM. This helps you quickly segment these supporters and further steward their support right away.
When it comes to nonprofit marketing best practices, our best recommendation is to invest in a completely integrated software solution.
With a solution like Salsa, your nonprofit can streamline data collected from your various lead captures or registration forms into your CRM and into segmented lists for better future marketing.
Plus, an integrated software suite enables your nonprofit to create all of your marketing materials within the same system. This streamlines internal operations while ensuring effective transition of information from one software functionality to another.
If you want to unlock more online marketing and supporter engagement, check out these additional resources:
Free Download: Digital Fundraising Checklist. 50 online engagement best practices to build long-lasting, authentic constituent relationships.
Free Guide: Quick Guide to Marketing Automation for Nonprofits. Learn the basics of marketing automation and discover specific ways you can scale 1-to-1 communications.
Free Guide: Clear and Complete Guide to Fundraising Software. Learn 34 features and 5 integrations you need plus the 4 best ways to sell your boss and board on new software.
Free Demo: Salsa's Online Marketing and Fundraising Software. See how your nonprofit, campaign or 501c3 organization can leverage our online marketing and fundraising tools!