Digital Donor Engagement & The Future of Nonprofit Marketing

Digital Donor Engagement and Nonprofit Marketing

As technology continues to evolve, your supporters are online more than ever.

How do you keep up with the ever-increasing need for digital donor engagement? In this guide, we’ll discuss how to use digital marketing strategies to update your organization’s nonprofit marketing and outreach plans both now and into the future.

Remember that marketing for nonprofit organizations is not only about fundraising. As a nonprofit, you should also use your marketing strategy to increase donor acquisition, spread awareness of your organization’s mission, and steward your existing donors for lasting engagement. Today, we’ll focus on that last part, marketing for stronger supporter engagement

Outreach is all about creating and cultivating relationships with your donors, and digital marketing is no different. Here’s what we’ll be covering to better utilize marketing for donor engagement:

  • Core Nonprofit Marketing Channels 
  • Integrating Marketing Channels 
  • Donor Profiles and Records 
  • Analyzing Marketing Results

Before you begin developing your nonprofit marketing campaign, don’t forget to set meaningful goals for what you want to accomplish. These can be quarterly or annual goals. You can also align your marketing targets with other current goals for your organization, such as focusing on donor acquisition or stewardship. Once you’ve outlined your concrete goals, let’s explore these digital marketing tactics to help you reach them.

Core Nonprofit Marketing Channels

First, let’s go over the basics of the main methods your organization can use as a part of your marketing plan. You’re likely already using these platforms for outreach, but how can you use them in innovative ways to engage with your supporters? Let’s focus on these four main channels:

  • Direct mail
    • Yes, physical mail can be a part of digital marketing! In fact, consumers are likely to spend 25% more when you use direct mail and email together. Combine these online strategies with traditional nonprofit outreach to create an even greater impact on your donors.
  • Email
    • Email campaigns are vital to digital marketing, and there’s a wide variety of ways you can use them. Use email to notify your supporters about upcoming events, volunteering opportunities, and accomplishments like reaching a major fundraising goal. Each email should be a reminder of your nonprofit’s mission and how valuable your supporters’ help is in achieving your goals.
  • Your organization’s website
    • Your website is the public face of your nonprofit. This is the first place prospective donors will look to find information about what you do, and it’s where your current donors go to stay up to date. Refresh your website with recent pictures, fundraising updates, and results of your work. When your website showcases your organization’s impact and tells your story well, visitors will want to know more.
  • Social media
    • While social media marketing is no longer a new style of outreach, the platforms available are constantly evolving. By using both Facebook and Tiktok, for example, you can reach different generations of donors. To make the most of these platforms, include calls to action in your posts with direct links to donation pages or event registrations. Or, share compelling personal testimonials from your ambassadors.

Use these four means of communication in conjunction with other personalized outreach like phone calls for the best results. No matter which platform you’re using to engage with your donors, focus on storytelling and sustaining relationships.

Integrating Nonprofit Marketing Channels

To understand the importance of a multi-channel approach, consider how your different marketing channels work together. For example, a donor may first see an email about your upcoming fundraising event, then come across a post about the event on Instagram the next day. The more you strategically align your communications, the more likely that reader is to click on the event registration link.

Make it easier to attract new donors with integrated marketing channels by including links to your website in shareable social media posts. Or, advertise a new giving initiative across all your digital channels to generate broader awareness and include a link to lead donors to your online donation page.

You can also incorporate digital components into traditional marketing strategies. While we’ve touched on using direct mail and email together, you can also combine direct mail and social media to expand your campaign’s reach.

Top Nonprofits’ fundraising flyers guide suggests adding QR codes to your flyers or direct mail. That way, donors can easily scan the code to access your Instagram or Facebook page instead of having to type in a link. This makes it much more likely supporters will engage with your content online.

Donor Profiles and Records

It’s important to record data to evaluate donor engagement and create new strategies for stewardship. With digital strategies, you can easily track who engages with your campaign and then record that information in donor profiles.

For each donor, create a profile in your CRM to track data such as:

  • Which campaigns they engage with
  • When they donate
  • How much they donate
  • Events attended
  • Relevant interests and motivations
  • Demographics like gender, age, and location
  • Preferred method of communication
  • Volunteer activity

One of the most impactful ways to use the donor data that you collect from various campaigns is to segment your audience so that you can better personalize outreach. Leverage the data you’ve collected to segment donors based on preference and engagement patterns, and start tailoring your outreach for each group. For example, younger donors may prefer social media campaigns based on TikTok, whereas longtime supporters would appreciate a handwritten note from your staff.

Donor segmentation allows you to show your donors you value them by communicating with them in the ways they prefer, which will lead to more engagement.

Analyzing Marketing Results 

Along with donor data, you can also benefit from analyzing your marketing results. Now is the time to go back to those marketing goals you created at the beginning of the campaign and measure your success. Then, you can use that data to improve future campaigns.

Digital platforms offer lots of opportunities for analyzing this data. Use these KPIs, or key performance indicators, to measure your results:

  • Email open rates and click-through rates
  • Conversion rates (from email, social media, and your website)
  • Views, likes, and shares on social media
  • Website performance and traffic

For a more direct approach, you can also survey supporters about the effectiveness of your strategies. Send out surveys after events asking how they heard about the event, or include a short survey at the end of your donation page to find out why they donated.

After you’ve analyzed these results, use the raw data and the survey responses to inform your marketing strategy moving forward. Meyer Partners’ guide to nonprofit analytics explains how to do this with predictive modeling, an analytical strategy to predict how donors will engage in the future. Using data to change how you market to your audience will guarantee better results.

Nonprofit marketing covers the entire donor engagement process, from initial acquisition to donor appreciation and stewardship.

Each time you reach out to a supporter, you’re working to cultivate a positive relationship that will encourage them to stay involved with your organization. You’re not only asking them to give, you’re telling your nonprofit’s story and ensuring they feel they’re an important part of it.

The future of nonprofit marketing will undoubtedly incorporate digital features. However, you can use digital marketing strategies in conjunction with traditional ones to create a well-rounded and impactful initiative that reaches all of your supporters.

Share your thoughts