Donations are the lifeblood of nonprofits—they fuel your philanthropic work and assist you with overhead. But without leveraging the potential of content marketing, it’s often challenging to keep those contributions coming in the door.
Whether your nonprofit was just established and you’re solidifying your brand and mission, or you’re a staple of the community but are looking for additional support, content marketing can amplify your nonprofit’s message and attract generous donors.
What is Content Marketing for Nonprofits?
For non-profit organizations, content marketing is a marketing strategy that involves the consistent creating, curating, and sharing of content (such as blog posts, social media posts, and videos) that provides value to donors and stimulates interest in a particular mission. From the webpages you have on your site to the updates you post on social media, all of it can drive new sources of funding.
1. State Your Mission
Sharing your nonprofit’s purpose and vision in an understandable and relatable way will drive both community engagement and donor support. Your website and social media profiles should clearly:
- Explain what your organization does and why you matter
- Offer concrete examples of the work you’re doing
- Present the challenges you face
- Invite donors to be an active part of the solution
A strong mission statement should be concise (1-3 sentences), explain the scope of your impact, and how you make it happen. When it comes to a nonprofit’s website, the About Page typically receives a significant amount of traffic. To ensure your visitors know what you do, include your mission statement prominently on your About Page.
If you don’t have an About Page, prioritize it on your content marketing to-do list. Remember to include testimonials, introduce visitors to your team, highlight your accomplishments, state your core values, and include a call to action in conjunction with your mission statement. If you need examples to inspire your mission statement or about page, check out the following nonprofits that got it right:
2. Share Success Stories
Tell a compelling story about the people you serve by highlighting the challenges they faced and how your organization helped. A meaningful narrative about your nonprofit’s vital work is an effective way to gain a loyal audience who will stand behind your efforts.
For instance, to make their annual reports more compelling, the Animal Welfare Institute uses vivid photography and journalistic storytelling techniques to engage their readers. Not only does it help them share their success stories, but it reinforces their mission and underscores the value of their work.
3. Create High-Quality Content Consistently
Not only do donors want quality content, but they also want it regularly. The Donor Loyalty Study found that “more than half of all donors want at least monthly communication (except Millennials, who want to receive content at least twice monthly).” In order of most to least preferable, donors want to see:
- Short, self-contained emails (no links)
- Short letters or online articles (2-3 paragraphs)
- A short YouTube video (under 2 minutes)
- An email with links to other articles
- Posts to Facebook
- An annual report delivered via mail
However, it’s not just consistency that matters; it’s quality. In fact, 72 percent of donors said low-quality content would impact their decision to donate or not. More specifically, they said they would stop donating if content was:
- Too vague
- About programs they’re uninterested in
- Dull and boring
- Has incorrect information about them
- In an inconvenient format
Consider ways to personalize your content. Keep it concise yet comprehensive, and explore a variety of formats. For instance, email newsletters are easy to personalize with data mapping, scripted videos can help tighten up messaging, and using Facebook’s Creator Studio to post will allow you to disseminate content on multiple platforms at once.
4. Amplify Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is just as critical in the nonprofit sector as it is in the for-profit sector. In 2019, The Harris Poll identified Best Friends Animal Society, National Down Syndrome Congress, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Girl Scouts of America as the top brands in the nonprofit industry.
In terms of branding, the common denominator between all of these organizations is a strong digital presence. They take time to update their websites, post on social media, and add to their story.
On average, you should strive to communicate directly with your audience at least once a month directly through an email newsletter. On social media, you can turn up the frequency and post daily if you have the resources to do so.
Be sure to create one shareable, substantial piece of content quarterly. Create an eBook, a video, or an online or print magazine. By doing so, you’ll instill confidence in your current donors about the state of your organization and provide value to potential donors.
Connect With Your Donors the ‘Write’ Way
Before donors can write a check, they need to know about your nonprofit first. Whether you create a high-quality blog or you send out monthly newsletters, you’ll likely notice that your increased content output aligns with an increase in donations. Ultimately, nonprofits that use content marketing successfully will reach their fundraising goals, grow the organization, and positively impact more lives.