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3 Digital Advertising Strategies To Help Nonprofits Grow Their Donor Bases

May 28, 2021 Sarah Cavill

For nonprofits, 2020 was a year when strategies that had long been in place needed to evolve due to effects of the pandemic. According to the 2021 Nonprofit Leadership Impact Study, from NonProfit PRO, 48% of charities moved in-person events to virtual, and many nonprofits were forced to scale back their engagements due to reductions in donations. However, many people continued to give, with 44% of nonprofits receiving more donation dollars in 2020 than the prior year, according to the NonProfit PRO study. 

As the pandemic winds down across the U.S., it is critical for nonprofits to leverage the gains made in 2020, continuing with effective digital donor recruitment strategies that are scalable and cost effective. 

1. Effective Nonprofit Lead Generation Campaigns Can Scale Recurring Nonprofit Donor Bases

According to NonProfit PRO, “41% of nonprofits believe their biggest challenge is acquiring donors, while 10% of nonprofits believe that their biggest challenge is retaining donors.” Effective nonprofit lead generation campaigns can collect the data from high-intent hand raisers, allowing nonprofits to regularly message prospective donors through a variety of channels, including email, SMS and phone. As campaigns mature, data related to media cost, conversion rates and lifetime value can be leveraged for campaign optimizations.

2. Social Media Campaigns Can Tell Stories That Drive Nonprofit Donor Excitement

Social media, used by 93% of nonprofits to connect with their bases, can be effective at generating the interest of younger donors, an audience many nonprofits court. 

For example, CARE, a nonprofit with a mission to “save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice by putting women and girls in the center,” recently used its Instagram page to share shout-outs, from Presidents Biden, Obama and Bush, celebrating CARE’s 75th anniversary and the six million CARE packages delivered in the U.S. since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Quality content that resonates with donors can drive engagement and donor growth for nonprofits. 

Additionally, 21% of nonprofits in the NonProfit PRO study said they want to engage in more corporate partnerships in 2021. Whether it’s Earth Day, Mother’s Day or an ongoing partnership with brands or businesses, strategic partnerships benefit both the nonprofits and the brands, introducing each to new audiences. Social media campaigns are frequently used to promote strategic partnerships. For example, nonprofit Every Mother Counts (EMC) recently partnered with a number of brands for a Mother’s Day awareness campaign, and those brands, including Minted, shared the details of their commitments to EMC on Instagram and Facebook.

3. Email Subscriber Acquisition Can Increase Nonprofit Donor Engagement

Email remains one of the most integral parts of fundraising strategies for charitable organizations, with 91% of nonprofits citing it as an outreach tool. By building and maintaining email subscriber lists, nonprofits can connect with current and prospective donors, tell compelling stories and drive donations.

A recent International Rescue Committee (IRC) email campaign prompted their subscribers with a call to action (CTA) to send thank you cards to healthcare workers in Syria, who were working under extreme conditions on the ground offering healthcare and support during COVID-19. Once subscribers clicked through, they filled out forms with personalized notes to healthcare workers, which, after hitting send, took subscribers to a donation page. 

Email subscriber acquisition can be an extraordinarily scalable and cost effective way to grow email databases with new, high-intent subscribers who opt in to receive communications from a specific brand. Often implemented with performance-based pricing, email subscriber acquisition helps nonprofits continually grow email lists to maintain freshness. But the true benefit of a robust email database is the continued use of that data. From prospective donor engagement to donor retention, nonprofits that own and manage their own email databases benefit from the longevity of the relationships they create with their subscribers.

Are You Ready To Engage And Scale Recurring Donors?

DMS helps nonprofit brands across the country build consistent and sustainable fundraising revenue with performance-based campaigns supported by technology-enabled digital media distribution. Offering solutions from email marketing, donor CRM building and sustained giving, our team of nonprofit advertising experts have demonstrated success leveraging full-funnel digital marketing strategies that focus on retention and lifetime value in addition to donor acquisition.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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