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4 Online Marketing Tips for Your Nonprofit

    Last Updated on February 18, 2024

    What are four important things nonprofits need to think about when it comes to their online marketing?

    The second of our online marketing books is coming out in July, and this one is specifically aimed at helping nonprofits with their online marketing. Both Bridget and I have a lot of experience supporting nonprofit clients – and half of my clients are nonprofits.

    1. Nonprofits are businesses

    Is there really a big difference when it comes to online marketing for nonprofits and small businesses?

    Bridget: Only in the mentality of the people running the non-profit or non-profit as a business, your, your customers are your donors, your volunteers, and the people that you serve. It’s actually more complicated than a small business. Also, in the US, nonprofits, in order to be a nonprofit, you have to be a five on 501C3 corporation. You literally are a business, and you need to run like a business. You need to market like a business.

    Warren: All right. How does that play out then with online marketing? How do I think about donors and volunteers actually being customers?

    Bridget: Well, you want to keep that connection, right? So, with nonprofits, if you have recurring donations or monthly, your donations will, or your revenue usually jumps about 43%. They’ve done studies. Now my information is maybe four or five years old, but it’s easier for that money to come out automatically.

    Think about how much money we give to Amazon all the time or Netflix, or like the NBA league just charged me again. And the season’s basically over. So I don’t really know why I paid for it, but whatever, it’s only $30. Right. And so that’s how it is. I’m giving to the world wildlife foundation, Oxfam, I do a bunch of little donations, which ends up being about 10 to 15% of my profit, because I believe in it, but it just comes out like this.

    2. Get your donation tool online

    We talk about small businesses publishing constantly and telling you about their products and following you around the internet. When you’re giving you want the nonprofit to tell the donors what is happening with that money. You have to tell your donors what you’re doing. With customers, you’re keeping them up to date with products. With donors, you’re keeping them up to date with results and with progress.

    Warren: So, what I’m hearing is that the automation, the online flow of money, and having that built in is important.

    Bridget: Yes. Stripe and PayPal offer this as a part of their program to have subscriptions or monthly donors., which is the best donation form for WordPress, has a package called recurring donor donations. And that’s what you want. has it. Network for good, has it too. Even when people do fundraisers on Facebook, have the option of donating like that. On Facebook for my birthday, I have a fundraiser for the five sisters project, which is for women in crisis. And that brings me another topic – a lot of times nonprofits don’t realize that their donors donate because the cause is close to their heart, and it touches their identity.

    I think because of that psychology, non-profits could really benefit by making sure they’re really upfront and secure. You can do this online with a trusted partner like swipe, or paypal.

    Automate and simplify your online donation tool

    I just set up a PayPal button for nonprofit client who have a school in Nigeria, and I just sent 25 euros over to test it. And I was thinking, if we were testing this process with a check perhaps, or standing in the room, testing the process by my giving you cash, it would probably be a much smaller amount because we’re seeing that money. But when we deal with online transactions that money’s not real. And so, we deal with larger sums.

    Bridget: I wish nonprofits understood is that it’s good to be online. Even credit card or payment processing fees can be deferred. Then the donors pay the fee. I know you can do this with You can do it with other situations where you allow the donor to cover those fees. And they have the option to click a button. I would like to cover those fees that happen with a GoFund me that I just donated to.

    Your donation form also needs to be simple. First name, email amount, approve, donate. That’s it. If you want more information, you can ask them later, right. And it needs to be your website. It needs to be mobile responsive because we’re holding phones that are what, three inches wide?

    It needs to be super easy. That’s why I like having the PayPal button because, and some of them allow you to use apple pay and Google pay now, too. I’m sure some are using Amazon pay because I’ve saved my credit card elsewhere. But if I have to get off the couch and go to my purse and get out my wallet, well, I don’t know if I’m going to do it now, but I’ll do it later. I’ll do it later on I’m at my computer. Right. And then later means I forgot. Even if you don’t like PayPal, a lot of your donors do. All they have to do is log in, use my face, boom done, and back to whatever I was.

    Useful links

    3. Content Marketing, baby!

    It’s very important to continue to give donors updates on what you’re doing.

    I’ve been coaching this nonprofit. And now she does little videos on Instagram and Facebook, the show, like every woman that comes, she gets this laundry basket, which is practical, right? And then it’s got a handmade quilt in it. It has toiletries, it has pampering things as gift cards. It has snacks. So when they come, because they’ve left with nothing, they get this basket and it costs X amount of dollars to do this. Right. So whether it’s email marketing and, or on social media, they’re updating you about how your money affects the, the population that you’re helping, whether it’s the SPCA was rescued animals or, water, charity, whatever it is, people need to see that they are making a difference or they’re going to think the nonprofit has a lot of money and they don’t really need me.

    Warren: It sounds on one hand a lot, like this is content marketing. Transparent content marketing. I mean, every small business does videos. They do magazines and giveaways to make us connect to their brand, but they certainly don’t say how much of the price of the coffee they’re spending on advertising. Not up front. We’re not going to do that as a business, but as a nonprofit or as a business that has a nice connection with nonprofits, it’s actually an advantage to say, hey, from the money that you’re donating, this is what we do with it. And this is to be expected. And because we’re giving money so easily online, you have a twist to content marketing, which is really of advantage for a nonprofit.

    4. Nonprofits partnering with business makes sense

    I know my friend, Beth, whose auto glass company lets you choose an animal charity that they will donate to for every single repair or replacement of your windshield.

    Warren: That is cool. I like the partnership idea. That’s very good. Then you definitely have benefits on both sides. The nonprofit can say, look, here are the companies we partner with. I think this is really probably important for local businesses. Businesses can say here are the charities that we’re supporting. I think that’s really good as well.

    Bridget: And if it’s applicable, you can donate your time. I could say I’m donating time at the San Antonio food bank and then get my coworkers to help in our local economy. You have them all vote so that the, so that the employees have ownership in the volunteerism. And you can do that also with Giving Tuesday.

    This is an important point – people giving their time, volunteering their time, because if you’re not giving money, you’re giving time, but your time is money. So, it is still a transaction. It’s a win win! If you aren’t talking about this yet, and you’re a nonprofit, then you’re leaving money on the table. People can only donate if they know you need the money and you make it easy. And people like recognition.

    4 Things your nonprofit should be doing online wrap up

    Warren: All right. So, to sum up:

    1. non-profits need to realize they are a business,
    2. they need to make sure that they donation function is online and integrated in a very simple system like paypal, or using a plugin like
    3. and they need to be very transparent in their promotions and their content marketing. What are you doing with this money and really extending that feel good.

    Bridget: and 4. Don’t be afraid of partnering with a company – like Sport Clips, partners with St. Jude Cancer Research. So, they’ll have a certain month where they’re shaving heads for example and that’s for charity.

    Giving Tuesday Free Worksheet – Thanks Bridget!

    We also have “40 days to Giving Tuesday worksheet”. That’s included in our second book, but here is the link for the Google drive. It gives you all the tasks to do from October 1st to November 30th.
    It will ask you to copy this to your Google Drive folder so be sure you’re logged in.

    Further Reading

    Would you like to be notified when our Nonprofit book is published? Please contact us!

    Thank you for the great image Annie Spratt!