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Marketing for a Good Cause: Nonprofits Digital Marketing Strategies

June 5, 2019

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Nonprofits Digital Marketing Strategies


Nonprofits are hit with the biggest digital marketing challenge of all: having no money.


To operate, thrive, and raise awareness for their cause without spending a substantial amount of money can seem impossible in a world of bigger, louder, and more financially equipped online advertisers.


Even though the challenges sound momentous, the people in these positions are often super passionate and driven by a cause that feels bigger than themselves.


But marketing for nonprofits still ain’t easy! In this post, you’ll learn seven digital marketing strategies to help non-profits get noticed in an over-populated digital world, without spending every last marketing penny available.


#1: Do PPC for Free with Google Ad Grants


Many non-profits mistakenly rule out pay-per-click marketing simply because it starts with the word “pay.” These marketers likely aren’t aware of Google’s Ad Grants program, which is basically free money given to non-profits to advertise on the world’s largest and most effective search engine, Google.


Both Microsoft and Google give roughly 1 billion dollars to help non-profits promote their causes online each year, so who says you can’t be one of those lucky non-profits advertising for free?


Naturally there are some limitations in terms of bids and budgets in Google’s Ad Grants program. Advertisers can’t exceed a $2.00 CPC bid, and can’t use more then $10,000 per month, but if you’re advertising free of charge, you probably won’t find these restrictions to be a huge road-blocker.


To be considered for Google ad grants, you need a Google Ads account (formerly known as Google AdWords), a Google non-profit account, and the customer ID from your Google Ads account. Start the application process and get advertising for free so you can spread your cause to a much larger audience!



#2: Awaken Emotions Through Video


I’ll never forget when I heard Scott Harrison, founder of my favorite non-profit Charity:Water, speak at HubSpot’s 2013 Inbound marketing conference. The reason his presentation was so impactful to me was the videos he shared exposing how big the water crisis actually is. Yes, I knew that it was a global issue, but hearing the stories, seeing the people affected, and empathizing with the scope of this crisis evoked such strong emotions in me that I not only shed tears among 5,000 other marketers, but went on to create my own Charity:Water fundraising birthday campaign.


Marketing for nonprofits requires hitting people on an emotional level

I’ll stop rambling on, but the power video has on awakening one’s emotions shouldn’t be underestimated, especially when it comes to digital marketing, where your messages have the power to spread to enormously large groups of potential donators. Emotions are ultimately what drive people to act, so spending some time and resources on video production and hosting shouldn’t be put on the back-burner for non-profits.


Of course, video marketing can be intimidating. Luckily, there are a lot of resources available to help you produce your own high-quality videos on a strapped budget. Check out this guide to shooting high-quality videos on your iPhone.


#3: Allocate a Small Budget to Promote Your Best Content on Social Media


Budget, huh? I know, I know, I used the b word. But your content has minimal chance of gaining visibility on social networks like Facebook and Twitter if you don’t put a little bit of money behind it.


“Unless you have a really large following, thousands of advocates sharing your content and maybe a couple of other organizations pitching in to spread the word, you probably won’t make a dent in the social space,” says Huffington Post writer Tulani Elisa.


Luckily, if you’re smart about advertising on social, you won’t end up spending an arm and a leg. When I was working directly with Larry Kim, he used to continuously preach that you can advertise successfully on Facebook with just $5 a day. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all have insanely granular targeting options you can use to go after the people that are most likely to care about your cause. For instance, let’s say your non-profit is working to provide education for underprivileged children – on Facebook you can target mothers who make a certain salary and are interested in education and social change.


#4: Apply for a Facebook “Donate Now” Button on Your Non-Profit Page<