Digital Marketing for Nonprofits – Making your Mark Online

11 Minute Read
This image shows digital marketing for nonprofits in practice.

Digital Marketing for Nonprofits – Making your Mark Online

11 Minute Read

Over the past two years, the digital world has connected us in a time of physical distance, especially through digital media. It has immense power to influence our view of the outside world. Your nonprofit thrives on building meaningful connections with your audience, so it might seem daunting to convey emotions through a barrier like a computer screen. 

However, with the right tools, your nonprofit can master digital marketing to bring your story to life and grow your support base. 

Keep in mind that digital marketing comes in many forms, so you can tailor your strategy to best fit your nonprofit’s needs. This is where the Fifty & Fifty team comes into play. As a leading digital marketing agency for nonprofits, we leverage web design, web development, and digital branding strategies to help nonprofits make their mark and take their mission worldwide.

If you don’t know where to start structuring your nonprofit’s digital marketing approach, we’re here to help. This guide will cover all the essentials:

  • What is digital marketing?
  • What are the different forms of digital marketing?
  • What’s the value of creating a digital marketing strategy?
  • What’s the Fifty & Fifty approach?


In no time you’ll learn how to make digital marketing work for your nonprofit’s mission and help you change the world. Let’s dive in.

What is digital marketing for nonprofits?

Digital marketing for nonprofits is the use of digital channels to convey your brand identity and attract more support for your organization. It’s accessible around the globe, enhances your storytelling ability, is cost-effective, and is more environmentally friendly than the physical manifestations of your story. 

That’s precisely what makes digital marketing so valuable: it presents the potential for your nonprofit to be recognized on a global stage. Additionally, it’s a versatile tool for nonprofits to refine their brand identities and communicate their missions in interesting new ways. There are many avenues you can take to establish your brand, build your online presence, and achieve your nonprofit’s greatest potential—all through digital marketing.

How do you create an effective digital marketing strategy?

There are several elements of a digital marketing plan that you should answer ahead of time. Knowing the general direction of your campaign will help you decide which changes to prioritize. Here are some specific steps you can to start building out a digital marketing action plan:

  • Understanding your goals and the best outlets to achieve them
  • Having methods in place to track your engagement and results
  • Segmenting your audience in order to target certain groups with specific appeals and campaigns

 

Digital marketing today largely occurs in a multichannel context, meaning your audience encounters your brand and message through multiple platforms. This is so that you can better stay on their minds and strategically funnel them towards taking a desired action, like donating.

At the end of the day, a surefire big-picture structure of a digital marketing campaign should involve strategy and research, creating the digital assets, and understanding how they connect and drive engagement. If you’re new to this, don’t worry! This is a comprehensive guide for digital marketing tools you won’t want to miss when you’re making your plan.

What are the different forms of digital marketing for nonprofits?

Digital marketing is all about reaching your audience, no matter where in the world they may be, with engaging content and through the channels, they see every day. This means your marketing materials can take many forms and can be adapted to fit your specific needs and strategy. 

Here’s a rundown of effective digital marketing strategies for your nonprofit to consider when designing your plan of attack.  

Graphic design

Graphic design is the strategic use of imagery and text to creatively convey a message to your audience. In the case of your nonprofit, you’ll be communicating your most important message: your story. 

This is where images can be especially useful for your team, as images can convey a lot of meaning while also appealing to a broader audience than written materials. After all, some complex written materials aren’t accessible to certain audiences, such as younger viewers. However, images are a universal means of communication that transcends language, expanding your potential reader base. 

Here are some examples of uses for graphic design:

  • Logo
  • Letterheads
  • Website
  • Emails
  • Ads
  • Flyers
  • Social media images
  • Downloadable resources

 

You can use graphics to enhance multiple parts of your brand identity. A good place to start is at the foundation of your online presence—your website. A digital marketing pro will know how to optimize the user experience to make a seamless site for your supporters. Also, they’ll determine what style is best for you and your brand, and create a memorable look for users to associate your organization with. Additionally, intelligent graphics help you organize information in a concise and logical way.

This image shows people engaging with digital marketing for nonprofits.

Web design

Your website’s front-facing graphic design is only one piece of the puzzle. As the central online location for all things relating to your organization, your website should act as an anchor for your multichannel digital marketing efforts. This means your site needs to be designed in ways that actively facilitate engagement rather than hinder it. 

For example, you need to guarantee that your website’s code is fast and functional, or else your audience will be bogged down trying to navigate the platform and eventually lose interest in your nonprofit. This means you have to optimize your web design for a positive browsing experience. Here are some page traits that you should prioritize during the web design process:

  • Attractive facade
  • Simple design
  • Intuitive navigation
  • Speedy load times
  • Easy-to-use donation and sign-up forms
  • Separate campaign landing pages to track campaign-specific results
  • Resource section with educational blogs and other materials 
  • FAQ page

 

You can have the most beautiful website in the world, but if it’s confusing, nobody will stick around to see what your nonprofit has to offer. Websites with intuitive features are more likely to garner more long-term traffic. This translates to a competitive site that performs well on the search engine results page and reaches fresh audiences. Digital marketers will help you enhance your web design and better engage viewers. 

Online ad campaigns

The average internet user spends 415 minutes per day online, which is 30% of a 24-hour period. You, as a nonprofit professional, can take advantage of this valuable time by inserting yourself into the digital advertising space. Some lucrative prospects in the digital space are social media ads, retargeted ads, and Google Ad Grants. 

A natural starting point for your nonprofit is social media promotions. Social media platforms offer paid advertising spots where scrollers will see your post interspersed in their feed. If you have a platform where most of your supporters are concentrated, that would be a great place to begin putting out ads for your events and fundraisers.

Additionally, your nonprofit can consider retargeted ads. This is when you serve promotions to people who’ve already visited your site. There are two types of ad retargeting you can use:

  • Pixel-based retargeting is when browsers use cookies to notify retargeting platforms to serve ads based on the user’s search history on your website.
  • List-based retargeting works after you already have someone’s contact information in your database. Submit your contact data to a retargeting platform and they will serve ads to these users when they visit their sites.

 

Retargeting ads are beneficial for zoning in on a particular group that shares an interest in your content. You can jog their memory about your nonprofit and increase the likelihood that they’ll view your site.

Another lucrative prospect for nonprofits using digital advertising is the Google Ad Grant program. This program awards $10,000 per month for nonprofit advertisements to appear on the top of Google search results. Plus, the program awards relevancy instead of size, so any nonprofit can participate, as long as they abide by Google’s eligibility requirements. 

Whatever you choose, your nonprofit should tailor your ads to reach specific segments of your audience to ensure a positive return on investment. Online advertising presents the opportunity to capitalize on the immense crowd of internet users, which is steadily growing every day.

Social media posts

Social media is only growing in popularity, and it shows no sign of stopping. It offers enormous potential for outreach and engagement among your supporters. However, it’s easy to get swept up in the boundless posting opportunities and lose track of your audience. That’s why you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin. 

Instead, set specific social media priorities based on which populations you’re trying to target and what kind of content you want to post. Here’s a breakdown of the typical age demographic for each social media platform:

 

Social media plays numerous roles in your digital marketing strategy. It grows your visibility and organic reach to new supporters while engaging with your existing audience. Additionally, you can use it to drive traffic to your website’s homepage, specific campaigns, and other relevant content on your landing pages. 

Once you pinpoint where you want to focus, it’s time to create your content. Digital marketers will help you research trends, types of posts in the space, and what content your current audience tends to interact with. Then, they’ll help you develop unique content that’s likely to grab your audience’s attention. Now, it’s time to let your viewers do some of the work for you! Encouraging your audience to like, comment, and share your post will help you reach new populations in their follower list. 

Search engine optimization

With over 200 million active websites competing for attention on the Google homepage, your nonprofit has to fight an uphill battle for your impressions. Thankfully, there’s a method to the madness of search engine results pages: search engine optimization, or SEO. You can adjust aspects of your site to help it rank highly on the search engine results page with the goal of surpassing your competitors in the sphere. Less than 1% of searchers look for results on Google’s second page, so ensuring your site is SEO-friendly is a major facet of digital marketing.

While making your website SEO-friendly is crucial, it’s not for the faint of heart. It requires having an active and healthy site that regularly posts high-quality content. Then, you should do research into specific keywords that your target audience might be searching for. Incorporating this keyword into your resources will increase the likelihood that your page will rank highly on the search engine results page. Digital marketing professionals offer tactics to boost your page’s rating on the search engine results page and attract organic traffic to your site.

Email

Email is one of the cornerstones of digital marketing and has been around since the inception of the internet. It’s among the most reliable ways to directly reach your audience. Plus, it’s versatile enough that you can send out multiple types of messages in a timely manner. Some messages that you might create include:

  • Welcome email
  • Newsletter
  • Program update email
  • Re-engagement email
  • Event invitation
  • Transactional email
  • Confirmation email
  • New content announcement email
  • Form submission kickback

 

These are only a few of the many email messages that you can send to your supporters. An important aspect of email marketing is to create targeted email streams based on how supporters have engaged with your nonprofit. Therefore, you aren’t inundating users with content that they don’t want to see. 

Emails are also a great place to implement a call to action. That way, you can catch your reader’s attention and direct them to their next step along the engagement path. There’s a reason email has never gone out of style!

This image shows nonprofit professionals using digital marketing for nonprofits to grow their reach.

What’s the value of digital marketing for nonprofits?

Investing in an effective digital marketing strategy will activate your organization’s ability to do good and influence your community. Digital marketing will raise awareness for your mission and brand, which brings a slew of other benefits. It can help generate donations, acquire repeat donors, volunteers, and members, and maximize retention for all your organization’s supporters. 

For instance, just take a look at how the Fifty & Fifty team has achieved concrete campaign results for nonprofits trying to harness the potential of digital marketing. Here are just a few examples of the ways that strategic and well-designed digital marketing campaigns can drive results for nonprofit organizations.

Kindness.org

Fifty & Fifty worked with the Kindness.org team on updated brand guidelines so that everyone was on the same page as to who the organization is and what they do. Then, we created a website designed to get people excited about the power of kindness and engaged in kind acts. The website also provides education about their programs, including a new Work Kind program.

  • Services: brand refresh (update visual identity, brand guidelines), web design and development
  • In the first 6 months since the website launch, compared to the previous period:
    • Traffic increased by 75%
    • Logins to the platform increased by 935.25%
    • 800 people onboarded to the platform
    • Organic search traffic increased by 30%

 

The Game Changers

The Game Changers is a documentary about plant-based eating that aims to show the broader public the benefits of veganism without scaring them off. Phase 1 of the project involved promoting the film’s premiere, so our goal was to get people to watch the trailer and click the button to “get tickets.” 

Phase 2 brought the full website into play. We mapped out the target audiences and key messaging and then thought through how we could clear roadblocks to behavioral change. 

  • Services: website design and development, marketing, paid media strategy, asset development
  • In the first two weeks post-launch of Phase 1:
    • Nearly 100,000 visitors went to the site
    • On average, 9.09% of visits included clicks to get tickets
    • Recorded over 38,000 clicks to get tickets in the first two weeks of the launch
    • More than 4,000 trailer views
    • Within 1 week of adding an email pop-up form to the site, we gained 40,000 new email subscribers

 

UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) wanted to get people excited about their Sustainable Development Goals and the project’s progress, educate users on the larger issue of inequality, and inspire people to commit to action. We wanted to cater to different types of audiences, so the report expertly balances highly skimmable content and opportunities to dig deep with links to further information.

  • Services: web design and development
  • In the first 24 hours of the launch:
    • A tweet about the site received 436 likes and 312 retweets
    • An Instagram post received 4,198 likes and 37 comments
    • A Facebook post received 135 likes, 6 comments, and 45 shares
    • The website was shared over 100 times on Facebook 

 

UNEP

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) needed a streamlined system that would capture leads and foster engagement. We built web pages, interactive games, and hundreds of social media posts that drew people into the campaign. We also crafted a heavy lead-based marketing campaign and engagement funnel within Hubspot to drive users through a series of stages.

  • Services: create visual elements like campaign branding, webpages, and marketing material for World Environment Day in 2021.
  • Results:
    • 65M views on TikTok
    • 130M views and 4.4M discussions on Weibo
    • 42K articles published in 174 countries and 37 languages
    • 17% increase in YoY PR coverage

How do you get started with digital marketing for nonprofits?

If you’ve decided to unlock your nonprofit’s full potential with digital marketing, you can get started immediately. Nonprofits should review their past results and audit the specific marketing strategies and outlets they’ve used before. Then, they should define the results they want to see and the outlets and improved strategies that could help. Finally, they should keep learning more about marketing best practices and invest in professional help.

If you’re in need of a premier digital marketing agency for nonprofits, look no further. Fifty & Fifty is an award-winning agency that can provide expert guidance, strategy, design, and implementation services for projects of various scales. 

We aren’t out to save the world, but to tell the stories of those who are. We take pride in supporting our clients through the change-making process and elevating their outreach goals. Contact us here. We’re eager to hear your story.

Additional Resources

About Fifty & Fifty. Learn more about how you can enhance your digital marketing and make real change in your community. 

Fifty & Fifty’s Work. Explore more examples of how we’ve transformed mission-driven causes through digital marketing and brand strategy.

Fifty & Fifty’s Services. Read more about how we can help you change the world.

Fifty & Fifty’s Blog. Explore other guides, lists, and articles on how to make an impact in the mission-driven space.

Other Recent Posts

Talk To Our Team

If you have any questions, connect with us directly and we'll explore things further.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.