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3 Innovative Digital Advertising Campaigns From Nonprofit Organizations

October 28, 2020 Sarah Cavill

With in-person fundraising efforts at a standstill because of COVID-19, the need for innovative and multichannel digital advertising strategies is more important than ever for charities and nonprofits. The Chronicle of Philanthropy notes “Charities that have been nurturing relationships with donors, communicating transparently and making the most of technology have laid a strong foundation to weather a crisis like the pandemic.” Here are several nonprofit campaigns that have made the most of digital advertising tools and strategies to increase donor volume.

Truth Initiative Leverages Content Marketing And Audience Targeting To Stop Smoking And Vaping

Truth Initiative is a nonprofit organization aimed at stopping tobacco use among teens and young people. The organization has a wide range of initiatives, including exposing the systemic racism in tobacco marketing, sharing the health risks of vaping and partnering with universities and corporations to create smoke-free environments. Strategic partnerships with brands like Vans, CVS and the NFL have created high exposure for Truth Initiative, which was launched in 2001 with funding from the Master Settlement Agreement with big tobacco. 

Truth Initiative has also launched multiple smoking and vaping cessation campaigns that rely on digital strategies and tools. “This Is Quitting,” a digital campaign from Truth, is geared at teens, offering support via mobile SMS and social media. And, BecomeAnEx, a partnership with the Mayo Clinic, is a “digital quit-smoking plan and online community of thousands of smokers and ex-smokers.” Both programs rely on robust content marketing across a family of landing pages to keep those enrolled or interested in the programs motivated and informed. Truth Initiative offers a tone and tenor that, while research based, appeals to younger, tech native audiences and doesn’t feel stodgy or out of date like more traditional anti-smoking platforms. 

Truth Initiative pivoted their content during COVID-19 to include the risks of vaping associated with coronavirus and other health and wellness factors that are relevant during the pandemic. Outreach via social media, a weekly e-newsletter and community involvement drives donations to Truth Initiative, which also offers a monthly donation option.

Nonprofit Organization Vitamin Angels Partners With Corporations To Amplify Their Mission

Vitamin Angels, a nonprofit organization, provides minerals and vitamins to pregnant women, new mothers and children under the age of five, reducing morbidity and illnesses like blindness. By partnering with corporations including Walgreens, The Vitamin Shoppe and Whole Foods, Vitamin Angels is able to further their mission and increase brand exposure and credibility. The partnerships offer shared resources, including digital tools and assets. For example, Walgreens released several commercials highlighting children around the world who have benefitted from Vitamin Angels and the continuation of the in-kind donation that Walgreens provides with purchases of participating vitamin retailers at Walgreens. 

“With the support of Walgreens, Vitamin Angels has been able to reach millions of mothers and children under five at risk of malnutrition with life-saving nutrients,” said Howard Schiffer, founder and president of Vitamin Angels. “We are honored to be partnering with an organization [Walgreens] that cares so much about children and moms in the U.S. and around the world.”

World Central Kitchen Uses Social Media And Hashtag Campaigns To Raise Awareness And Donations

World Central Kitchen (WCK) was founded by chef Jose Andres and his wife Patricia Fernández de la Cruz in response to the humanitarian crisis after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Since then, WCK has served meals, often hot, fresh food made on site, around the world in times of crisis. In addition to meeting immediate needs, WCK works with local communities to make long-term commitments to solving regional food crises, inclusive of creating educational opportunities (#EcoleDesChefs), bringing safer and cleaner cooking solutions to women, offering grants to farmers (#PlowToPlate) and training school cooks to create healthy, safely prepared meals (#SinkToStove). WCK’s strategic partnerships with other nonprofits like the Clean Cooking Alliance has allowed the nonprofit to broaden their reach and impact, increasing donor interest.

During COVID-19, WCK pivoted to provide fresh packaged meals to families, seniors and children suffering from food insecurity during the pandemic. The hashtag #ChefsForAmerica was created to promote the WCK COVID-19 initiative, which, in addition to providing food, also provided support to struggling restaurants. According to the WCK website, “As part of its #ChefsForAmerica nationwide emergency food relief program, World Central Kitchen has purchased over 11 million meals from local restaurants totaling more than $117 million, and delivered those meals directly to Americans that need assistance.” Over the last several weeks, Chefs for the Polls (#ChefsForThePolls) has been offering fresh meals to people waiting in line to vote, explaining “Together, we will use the power of food to make Election Day one of community and hope.” By always attaching a hashtag to their many initiatives and having an active and informative website and social media presence, WCK is able to grow donor interest, scale fundraising efforts and create excitement and accountability around the work they do. 

Nonprofit organizations that leverage effective digital advertising strategies like audience targeting, co-branded digital partnerships and promotions and robust social media strategies, are able to establish credibility and garner the donations necessary to keep going, even during a pandemic. By staying authentic to the mission and making the necessary changes to stay relevant and seen, nonprofits can use digital advertising strategies to share their stories and reach new donors.

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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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