Guild Gathering: Nonprofit Organizations’ Digital Marketing & the Online Experience

by Danielle Gauthier

Posted December 5, 2018

Once a month, our staff hosts a "Guild Gathering" to explore a timely topic. Read on to discover what was on our minds this month...

At our most recent Guild Gathering, our staff explored how nonprofit organizations’ digital marketing strategies and the online experience influence potential donors.

Digital Marketing Strategies

We discussed the variety of ways nonprofits are using digital marketing to spread their message, as outlined in this article from Lean Labs. Some of our staff found the Make-A-Wish video (see below) to be especially impactful as it spoke to the importance of storytelling. A nonprofit’s ability to capture the work that they do in an engaging and moving way—most often through photos and video—can be crucial to enticing donors. Other members of our staff, however, said they preferred when nonprofits share numbers and data about their giving impact, as opposed to personal client stories.

We also discussed the roadblocks nonprofits may face in instating a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Some nonprofits, for instance, may be hesitant to ask for donations on their social media for fear of harming their curated images. Other nonprofits may struggle to create compelling, story-driven content because much of their work must remain confidential. Nonetheless, we all agreed that the importance of digital marketing in securing donations and furthering an organization’s mission and reach is only increasing.

Online Experience

In addition to digital marketing, we also discussed the role that the online experience plays in a website visitor’s likelihood to donate. A recent study found, as reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, that if it were easier or more convenient to donate to their favorite nonprofits online, nearly half of those surveyed would give more often. And furthermore, the majority of donors in their 30s or younger said that the ease of donating online was the decisive factor in whether or not they trust a nonprofit organization. We reviewed the websites of a number of nonprofit organizations and discussed factors that may or may not encourage visitors to donate. For instance: How easy is it to find the donate button? Does clicking on the donate button allow you to donate directly on the site or are you sent to a third-party facilitator? Does the site appear modern and well-managed?

The big take-away?  As donors become increasingly more technologically savvy, nonprofits need to ensure that digital marketing and the online experience are strategic priorities.

Development Guild DDI is a nonprofit consulting firm that provides executive search, fundraising counsel, and campaign services.


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