A Beginners Guide to Digital Marketing For Non-Profits

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Digital marketing is one way to get your message heard to potential donors, volunteers, and users of your service. In this beginner’s guide, we will give you all you need to know to get started. Have a read and then contact our digital marketing experts at Pivotal New Media for more information and support.

A Beginners Guide to Digital Marketing For Non-Profits

Define Your Marketing Goals

Before you get started with your digital marketing strategy, you need to define your goals. These will help you to shape your message and will give you an idea of the strategies you might want to consider with your marketing. Potential goals might be:

  • Increase brand visibility
  • Attract more volunteers
  • Attain more online donations
  • Educate the public

These are just a few examples, but you might have specific goals that pertain to your non-profit organization.

When you have defined your goals, outline the strategies that you might need to follow to achieve your objectives. These strategies will include finding the social media platforms that your demographic might be using, crafting the message that you want people to hear, and finding ways to measure your marketing so you know how effective your efforts are. 

Set Up Your Website

Your website isn’t your only digital marketing tool but it is the lynchpin for your marketing efforts. You can direct people to your site when using social media and email marketing, and you can connect people to it through online ads and guest blog posts.

For people to sit up and take notice of your message, your website does need to look good, and it needs to function well too. Chances are, you probably have a website already, but if not, take a look at these free website builders and put something together yourself or hire the services of a web design firm to give you something that truly looks the part. 

It’s important to remember that many of your site visitors will be connecting to your site through their mobile devices, so you do need to follow these tips to make your website mobile-friendly. A web designer can help you in this regard if you get stuck.

Your site should also be tailored with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind, as you want your site to rank highly on search engines. These beginner’s tips might prove useful to you, and there is plenty of other advice online if you need it. It’s worth hiring an SEO expert too if your budget can cover it. 

For an idea of what a good nonprofit website should look like, there are some excellent examples here. Have a look and learn from them when creating or adapting your website, and commit to further research online for the qualities your website needs to attract the attention of your site visitors.

Set Up Analytics

We mentioned the need to measure your marketing efforts earlier, and there are a number of tools available to you. There are some you will have to pay for, but there are also some that are free. Concerning the latter, we recommend you equip your site with Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

With Google Analytics, you’ll be able to measure some of these key digital metrics:

  • Bounce Rate
  • Click-through Rate
  • Conversion Rate

Google Analytics can help you track who visits your site and what marketing channel they used to find you. This is useful because you will know which of your marketing tactics are the most effective, be it an email, social media post, a paid ad, or something else besides.

Google Search Console will give you an insight into the words people are searching for when finding your website (organic search). Knowing what these words are will give you an idea of the keywords you should be using across all of your marketing efforts (blog content, social media content, and even physical marketing materials).

These aren’t the only analytic tools on the market, but because they are both highly effective and free, you might prefer to use these over anything that might eat into your funds. 

List Your Organization Online

Consider the listing websites that people might be using when looking for non-profit organizations such as yours. There will be some that are directly associated with the cause you are promoting, so commit to a Google search and list your organization on them.

Be sure to localize your organization by promoting what you are doing on local listing sites. Again, a Google search will point you in the right direction.

And when it comes to your local presence, set yourself up with Google My Business, as this is a free way to advertise your organization online. You can include your opening hours, your address details, and information about upcoming events you are holding. 

Set Up Your Social Media Profiles

With social media, you can:

  • Provide up to the minute information about your organization’s mission
  • Share success stories
  • Send out appeals for online donations
  • Link people to your website
  • Respond to comments and questions
  • Use hashtags to boost engagement
  • Spread your message by encouraging your followers to link your site to their social media networks

Depending on the social media platforms you use, you can include videos and pictures that showcase your work. You can provide infographics with easy-to-read info and stats about your organization. And you can pay for ad space to promote your business further. Facebook Ads is but one example. 

So, consider what social media channels might be useful to your organization and set up accounts with them. At the very least, we recommend Facebook and Twitter, but you might want to consider YouTube for video marketing purposes, and LinkedIn for finding staff and volunteers.

Check out this short guide on social media platforms, and consider their viability for your non-profit organization’s social media strategy. And be sure to talk to our experts at Pivotal New Media. We have the experience and talents your organization needs to take your social media marketing to the next level, so benefit from the support we can give you with this and all other aspects of digital marketing. 

Apply For A Google Ad Grant

One way to promote your organization online is through the use of Google AdWords. These are clickable ads that will appear within Google’s search results (search ads). You have probably come across them before when doing your own searches online, and they are an excellent way to get your organization noticed. There is a small fee attached for each click, but Google has shown their charitable side by offering grants to help nonprofits cut the costs of this type of advertising. 

They offer $10,000 a month to those nonprofits that qualify so you should definitely check your eligibility when planning your marketing strategy. Visit the Google Ad Grants page today to submit your application and (hopefully) benefit from their service when sharing your message online.

Benefit From Free Digital Marketing Tools

There are all kinds of tools available to help you with your digital marketing strategy, and while some of them are expensive, there are also those that are free. This is good news for you, of course, as you will be able to spend more of your money on the causes that matter to you.

We aren’t going to list all of the digital tools you should be using here, as we found this article on free marketing tools for you to peruse. We have already mentioned some of them within this guide, but there are others that are also worthy of note, including Buffer which can be used to schedule your social media posts, Canva for creating images for your social media channels, Simply Measured for analyzing your social media effectiveness, Google Trends for finding keywords, and HubSpot for generating email leads. 

There are loads more in the linked article, so have a look, and use whichever digital tools are relevant to your marketing efforts. 

Use Email Marketing

You can collect email addresses from people who subscribe to your website or social media channels, or who share them with you when making charitable donations to your cause. When you have their email contact details, you can keep in touch with your supporters by sending them newsletters, event invitations, donation appeals, and messages of thanks for their support.

You can also encourage your email recipients to share your information with others on their contact lists, as this is one way of spreading your message to a wider audience. These email campaigns will go a long way wit building a long-lasting relationship with your donors and/or members.

Check out this guide on email marketing for nonprofits for more information, and speak to our experts at Pivotal New Media for detailed advice on this aspect of your digital marketing. 


We haven’t covered every aspect of digital marketing here, but we hope the information we have provided sets you on the right path towards success for your organization.

For more advice and support, do get in touch with us. With our digital marketing campaign management and consultancy services, we can help you take your marketing efforts to the next level. We are experienced in what we do and can provide a tailor-made service that will ensure the people you want to target get to hear about your organization’s message. 

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