Digital marketing is vital these days to any social sector organization. We’re quickly moving to the best fundraising time of the year in the fall. Here are a few things to consider to kick-start your digital marketing in preparation for September.

  1. Don’t assume older donors are not online – Almost 3 out of 5 individuals aged 66 or older make contributions via the Internet. I’ve heard it often that older donors prefer to receive things in the mail or get a phone call. To some degree that may well be true. However, more and more of the older generations are actively doing nonprofit research and donating on the web. A Dunham and Company study, which you can click here, also noted that individuals who are 66 and older are more likely to respond to email.

I’ve heard of organizations that soft pedal email marketing. They don’t want to come across as “salesy”. If you don’t have a solid direct marketing program that includes email, it’s a mistake. For those organizations that have older donors, in particular, you may be leaving money at the table.

  1. Social media is an opportunity to engage, not just promote – Social media offers an opportunity for social sector organizations to speak to their constituents. Yes, using Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest for promotion or making people aware of what you’re doing is important. However, social media is an opportunity to deliver value to your donors and followers.

If and when people follow or like your page, it’s for a reason. There was something, a momentary spark that connected with your messaging. Use this to your advantage. Engage with your followers and supporters by responding to messages they send to you using social media. Find fun ways to get a conversation going with them either with the creative use of #hashtags, polls or questions.

Make sure you provide your followers with the information they expect to see from you based on your profile. Remember, the words you use in your profile are what people scan in seconds when they decide to like or follow your brand. Make sure you’re delivering to them the content they want to see. If you work at a school, post value added articles about education policy, for example. If your nonprofit addresses poverty, tweet messages related to your work.

Remember to share good content that comes from others. Social media is all about social networking. Be social! If people see you sharing content from others, they will be more inclined to share yours.

  1. Recruit social ambassadors – CaringBridge is a nonprofit that I mention frequently because of their skill leveraging the power of social networking. CaringBridge provides an online platform for individuals and families who are battling an illness. They can share updates and receive support. Families build private online websites and share progress with those in their circle who they care about most.

CaringBridge is not only a wonderful nonprofit, but it also uses social media effectively to help expand its message. The organization calls volunteers who help them promote and spread the word “amplifiers”. CaringBridge amplifiers volunteer anytime, anywhere in the digital and off-line worlds. Check out their volunteer page for amplifiers here.

In the digital world, this could mean amplifiers writing blog posts about their relationship with CardingBridge. It can also mean sharing CaringBridge content on their personal Facebook timeline or other social media accounts.

Nonprofits are all about offering supporters an opportunity for social good and making a difference. Imagine if you harnessed the strength of all of your supporters across your digital accounts to help amplify your message!

It’s amazing that summer will be ending soon. Time goes very quickly when you’re having fun. If you’re in the social sector business, the holidays will soon be upon us. It’s not too early to plan tweaks and changes to ensure this year is the best one yet for fundraising!

Author of “The Rise and Fail of Charities In the 21st Century: How The Nonprofit World Is Changing And What You Can Do To Be Ready”.


© 2015 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.