How digital marketing can affect nonprofit fundraising

Marketers will invest more in digital channels in 2014.
Date Published
01/14/2014

Fundraising for nonprofits often depends on strong marketing efforts by organizational staff. After all, if donors aren’t aware of an online pledge drive, how will a nonprofit enterprise achieve their fundraising goals? While traditional channels continue to provide a strong return on investment, digital marketing has the potential to improve outreach efforts for many nonprofit organizations, irrespective of size.

More marketers looking to online resources
Online activity tends to give organizations access to richer data resources that can then be leveraged to establish deeper donor relationships. Recent research from Salesforce.com affiliate ExactTarget Marketing Cloud supports this claim, finding that roughly 66 percent of more than 2,500 marketing professionals worldwide will increase their investment in digital channels in 2014. One of the chief priorities for marketers in the current year is putting greater financial resources toward data and analytics. Already, many charitable groups have recognized that software for nonprofits enables them to access, collect and organize a great deal of donor information.

Making the most out of data
This data – and maintaining updated information – is essential to foster stronger relationships with contributors and identify prospects who might be willing to give during a fundraiser. When outreach channels, whether they’re social media, an organization’s website or email appeals, are seamlessly integrated with a database of information, nonprofit groups will have a much easier time managing donor-generated data. Still, digital marketing efforts can do more than leverage data to improve donor relationships.

According to the ExactTarget survey, 46 percent of marketers are focused on improving brand awareness with the benefit of digital resources throughout the remainder of the year. Social media is one avenue that can significantly build up a nonprofit’s opportunity to improve branding. Because donors can share content and post about contributing to a specific program, social networking site tend to work well to share information.

How to measure return on investment
While using social media and other digital channels to increase brand awareness is an excellent goal to aim for, it’s always important for marketing efforts to demonstrate their value. In other words, return on investment is essential for a variety of nonprofit efforts, but measuring it for social media can be difficult. According to Multichannel Merchant, organizations should begin by isolating online marketing tactics. For example, nonprofits that use Facebook should isolate donor-created creations from paid content, like display ads, and keep in mind how much it cost to post those versus the number of individuals who clicked through. In this way, a group can see whether or not the expense associated with posting paid ads resulted in a greater number of donors and prospects interacting with the content.

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