Why You Should Vary Your Nonprofit’s Marketing Channels

Guest post written by Grant Cobb, Head of Marketing & Analytics, GivingMail

Marketing your nonprofit is no easy feat. Between effectively telling your organization’s story, getting donors invested in your cause, creating compelling marketing materials, and maintaining consistency across the board, there’s a lot you need to do in order to reach your audience. Despite all your hard work, you might feel like something is holding your marketing strategy back because you aren’t reaching as many people as you could.

But increasing your marketing strategy’s reach doesn’t mean you have to return to the drawing board. So what’s your solution? You should vary your nonprofit’s marketing channels, or connect with your audience across multiple platforms, such as direct mail, social media, or text messages. 

By using multiple channels, you ensure that your nonprofit’s marketing materials are getting in front of your donors in one way or another. In fact, according to this GivingMail guide on nonprofit marketing, incorporating a multi-channel approach is one of the most effective ways to spread awareness about your cause and to connect with more potential donors. Additionally, varying your marketing channels allows you to:

  • Reach a wider audience.

  • Determine the most effective campaigns. 

  • Connect with individual donors. 

  • Drive traffic to your site. 

  • Build your nonprofit’s brand. 

Although launching several different marketing campaigns might seem overwhelming, the long-term benefits will pay off. Putting in the extra time and effort to reach more donors can increase your revenue and help you establish a trustworthy brand for years to come. 

Reach a wider audience. 

By diversifying the marketing channels that you use, you will inevitably reach more people because part of your target audience might not be using the channel that you’re focusing on. As a result, by relying on a single channel, you are significantly limiting your potential reach. 

For example, let’s say you’ve primarily connected with donors through your social media account. Although this campaign might be going well, you are still missing out on connecting with potential donors who do not use social media frequently. However, if you were to add direct mail to your marketing efforts, you would be able to engage with new individuals who might not have a social media presence.

This example extends just beyond social media. The same thing would be true if you were only using direct mail and not social media or just email without text messaging. Ultimately, the more marketing channels you can use, the better because you’re increasing the amount of content that donors have the chance to encounter.

Creating memorable content for multiple marketing channels presents its own challenges. It’s difficult to know what you should prioritize to maximize your reach, but at the beginning, it’s best to try several different channels to determine which ones work together most effectively.

Determine the most effective campaigns. 

The way in which you talk about your organization significantly influences the likelihood of a donation. According to these 360MatchPro fundraising statistics, 90% of millennial donors are more compelled to donate based on a nonprofit’s mission rather than by name recognition alone. For this reason, you might want to try changing up your messaging if you’ve been running the same campaign for a long time.

Using multiple marketing channels allows you to experiment with different types of campaigns. With your fundraising or marketing software, you can keep track of the engagement metrics for each campaign. Not only will you get a good idea of which channels are most effective, but you’ll also know which type of messaging makes the biggest impact. 

Because so many donors pick organizations based on their mission, you want to get your language right. Here are some examples of how you could experiment with your marketing strategy: 

  • Find out which channels reach the most people.

  • Implement a storytelling strategy on one channel to see if it’s effective.

  • Phrase your donation solicitations differently across each channel. 

  • Test out new graphics on social media.

By exploring different marketing strategies, you can see which campaigns work and which ones don’t. This way, you won’t have to waste time and resources on rolling out an idea across all channels that proves to be unsuccessful. Rather, you can test all of your strategies on a smaller scale before implementing them everywhere. Plus, as you collect more information, you’ll be able to build a toolkit full of the most effective ways to connect with your audience. 

Connect with individual donors. 

Putting effort into your individual relationships with supporters can go a long way for donor retention, so cultivating these connections should be a high priority. Diversifying your marketing channels is one way that you can better relate to donors on an individual basis, and doing so can make supporters feel more appreciated.

With multiple marketing channels at your disposal, you can even give your donors the option to choose how they’d like to stay connected with your organization. If you have an onboarding survey for your supporters, you could ask them for their preferred communication method and then reach out to them based on their preference. 

Communication preference is just one way to segment your donors. Donor segmentation is the process of categorizing your supporters based on shared characteristics, and then tailoring your marketing strategy according to each group’s preferences or motivations. Here are some other ways you could segment your donors: 

  • Age

  • Gift size

  • Location

  • Engagement level

How does donor segmentation connect to marketing? Segmenting your donors can help you give the materials you send to each group a more personalized touch. 

For example, if you were launching a mailing campaign, it would be smarter to send invitations to a local event to donors who live nearby while you send an email about a virtual event to those who live further away. However, this type of marketing strategy is most effective when you can use multiple channels because you can better optimize the delivery method. 

Drive traffic to your website. 

Another benefit of using a multi-channel marketing strategy is that each of your platforms can work to drive more traffic to your website — the most important place for supporters to go. Here, your supporters can make donations, learn more about your organization, or sign up to volunteer. 

If you want more people to explore your site, you need to be able to pique their interests. That’s where multi-channel marketing comes in. With enough disseminated materials, it’s more likely that potential donors will remember your organization or will want to learn more. 

For instance, a donor might forget about your nonprofit after seeing just one social media post in their feed, but your cause is more likely to stick in their mind if they see a post and later receive an email. Additionally, because your donors likely consume so much digital content every day, your online fundraising campaign might perform better if it is supported by a more physical marketing channel, like direct mail. 

To ensure that recipients of your marketing materials actually visit your website, make it easy for them to get there. Link to your site in emails and on social media and prominently display the link on any direct mail campaigns. 

Build your nonprofit’s brand. 

Your nonprofit’s branding strategy is crucial because it influences how supporters learn about and understand your organization. With a wider array of marketing channels, you can better develop your brand identity and ensure that it gets enough exposure. When building your brand, you should consider some important design elements, such as: 

  • Visuals: For the majority of your marketing channels, visuals will likely be the most memorable. Make sure that your logo, images, and other graphics look cohesive and reflect your nonprofit’s mission. 

  • Text: Just as your visuals should be cohesive, your text should be as well. Use a maximum of two fonts across your different marketing channels. Combined with your consistent visuals, you will create an established “look” for your nonprofit. 

  • Color scheme: The final design element that will bring your entire brand to life is an aesthetically pleasing color scheme. Choose between three and five primary colors and a handful of secondary accent colors to help your brand pop.

Your branding should also be as consistent as possible across all channels. Whether you’re managing an email campaign, hosting a hybrid event, or simply posting on social media, maintaining a consistent brand will encourage supporters to see you as reliable and professional. 

Varying your marketing channels can help you effectively reach a wider audience and determine the best ways to connect with your supporters. Your donors are already passionate about your cause, but it’s easy for them to lose track of the organizations that they support. By reaching them across multiple channels, you ensure that your cause stays at the forefront of their minds.

About Grant Cobb

Grant Cobb is a fundraising specialist with over 6 years of experience in the nonprofit space. Currently the head of marketing and analytics at GivingMail, he is a huge proponent of data-driven decision making and the push to bring high-level analytics and fundraising to all.

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