Digital Advertising for Nonprofits: A beginner’s Guide

Nonprofit marketers must confine themselves to cost-effective strategies. Unlike their counterparts in corporations, they don’t have access to huge budgets. A significant chunk of whatever money is available goes towards supporting the organization’s causes.  

Digital marketing and advertising provide a fantastic solution. There are tons of brand-building opportunities, both paid and free.   

We understand how challenging digital marketing and advertising can be, especially for beginners. 

Our article provides a guide that can help launch the nonprofit’s digital marketing.  

A Nonprofit Marketing Plan Needs Clear Goals 

The first tip we will share in this nonprofit marketing guide is to start with clear goals. What are you hoping to achieve? Some goals include:

  • Brand building is about establishing the organization in the market. 
  • Increasing awareness of the organization through tactics that will generate visibility. 
  • Attract donor and volunteer support for the nonprofit.
  • Step up fundraising efforts.
  • Build authority and credibility in the market.  

The goals will act as a guide to all the activities you take thereafter. The best tool to use as a beginner is the SMART principle. This means:

  • Specific in that there should be no ambiguity about what you want to achieve
  • Measurable – which requires you to come up with metrics. 
  • Achievable means a goal that you can attain.
  • Relevant means it aligns to long term objectives.
  • Timely that requires putting timelines on the achievement of the goal.  


Identify Your Target Audience 

Who are you targeting with the nonprofit digital marketing campaign? Take your goals into consideration when defining the audience.  

Research will be critical at this stage. It helps to know your target audience very well. It will define what you say and how you say it.  

Marketing Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations

The digital platform has tons of avenues, both free and paid. Let’s check out some of them.  

The Nonprofit Website

A website is the most powerful digital marketing tool for nonprofit marketing. Remember, it is the first place people go to for information. 

That makes it the first step in establishing an online presence. There is so much you can do with a website including:

  • Content marketing through articles, whitepapers, research pieces, and videos. The aim is to provide relevant content consistently. 
  • Become an industry authority with the right content. You want to become the go-to source for any industry news.
  • Link building opportunities for brand visibility and establish credibility
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to achieve good rankings on search engines. It helps increase brand visibility.   

Websites work because there is a lot of flexibility. The digital team can change content as often as they wish. Use the platform to educate, inform and engage with stakeholders.  

You can also allocate a budget to paid advertising on the website. Some ways include:

  • Display ads
  • Paid search including Google Adwords
  • Promoted content or paid discovery
  • Sponsored content marketing
  • Traffic ads to create awareness of specific content on the site
  • Google display networks allow you to advertise across other websites 

The aim of paid advertising is to buy traffic to your site. It allows for better targeting, resulting in more impressions.   

Social Media Marketing for Nonprofits 

Digital marketing for nonprofits must include the use of social media. The nonprofit can open an account on every platform. It provides a way to reach a broad audience base.  

Audience targeting is possible, thus improving the chances of the messaging reaching the right ears. And the analytics tools let you know what is working or not.  

The trick with social media is to be consistent about posting. And, do not forget to engage with the audience. With a budget, you have the option of paid advertising. These include:

  • Pay per click (PPC) advertising entails paying every time someone clicks on your ads.
  • Use of Influencers.
  • Boosting posts for better engagement.
  • Paid conversion or lead generation ads to get a specific action out of audiences. 
  • Display ads. 

A combination of both paid and free advertising provides an effective way to reach audiences.  

Public Relations

Third-party endorsement of the nonprofit’s activities is another excellent digital marketing strategy. The trick is to get people to say positive things about you.  

  • Collect plenty of testimonials or reviews from those who have benefited from the organization’s work. Post them on the website and social media platforms. 
  • Share plenty of stories or news items with the media. It builds credibility and people will take note when the organization gets a mention in the articles.
  • Reach out to influencers who can support your cause. 
  • Be active in the community. People are likely to support an organization that they can put a human face to.  


Email Marketing

Email marketing is effective and allows for proper targeting. We go back to the point of knowing your audiences.

Proper segmentation is critical because you can develop specific messaging depending on who you want to talk to. It is a fantastic way to avoid your emails landing in spam or junk folders.  

Sign Up To Google for Nonprofits

Google for nonprofits is a platform every digital marketing beginner should know. Two powerful tools can help with advertising and marketing for nonprofit organizations.

Google Ad grants give advertising value of up to $10,000 to nonprofits. 

YouTube for nonprofits provides a platform to showcase the organization’s work through video content. And viewers or subscribers can donate on the platform. Google takes on the transaction costs, so the organization gets the full donation.  

Measure the Performance of Your Nonprofit Marketing Campaigns

In the beginning, we pointed out that goals must be measurable. The nonprofit marketing plan would not be complete without this section. Measuring performance lets you know what is working or not.  

Let’s say your goal was to increase traffic to your website by 20% within 3 months. 

At the end of that period, did you achieve what you set out to do? If not, what do you think went wrong? And, what can you do better going forward?  

Final Thoughts

Digital advertising and marketing for nonprofits have lots of potentials. You get both free and paid avenues to increase awareness.  

As a beginner, it helps to get the basics right. Use our article as a guide and see success in your digital marketing efforts. 

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