Inbound Marketing for Nonprofits: Turning Prospects Into Passionate Donors

Getting to know your prospects may start as a casual conversation in the real world, where you’re gathering tidbits of information about the individual. This same paradigm applies to connecting with your future supporters in the digital world, where donors and potential donors control how they receive information — while consciously deciding how to act on it.

The donor’s journey of today has changed drastically in this new digital landscape, which presents a challenge in the way organizations have traditionally connected and nurtured relationships with donors. This new dynamic means it’s more important than ever that your organization is prepared and ready to connect with its potential donors on each stage of their journey. The rise of digital platforms fueled by two-way communications has afforded every organization the same opportunity to connect with individuals looking to give back. With an inbound marketing strategy, your organization will attract new donors by standing out amidst a crowded field and earning — not buying — their attention.

The conversion phase of your organization’s inbound marketing strategy is rooted in continual connections with your prospects and developing a deeper understanding of who they are. With new, easy-to-use and integrated technologies, your organization can build meaningful relationships with prospects based on actions taken on your website, emails or social channels through a seamless blend of email marketing, analytics and marketing automation.

Using these tools to drive deeper connections is key to continual engagement, but it also requires your prospect’s permission to do so. How do you get it? Adopting these four essential elements in your strategy will help your organization move the needle and convert these prospects into advocates of your mission.

Gated Content

Powerful and relevant content is what attracted your prospects to your website. It’s what positions you as a thought leader in your field, and it creates a positive connection in the eyes of your prospects. It is imperative to make this content — such as blogs, eBooks and infographics — easily accessible during the attraction phase of your organization’s inbound marketing strategy. These individuals are just getting to know your organization, and inbound marketing is about building trust.

But now they’re on your website, where some of your most valuable content resides. Your webinars, case studies and white papers showcase your high-level thinking and expertise. Instead of giving this content away for free, it should be offered to your prospects in exchange for something useful to your organization — like their contact information.

Once an individual has made it to your site, they have already considered your organization as a solution for their passion to give back, meaning they’re more likely to accept the exchange.

Website Calls to Action

Your prospects are on your website. They’re aware of your organization, its mission and impact. But simply making your prospects aware of this information is not enough to get them to support your cause. Including a tangible call to action — like making a donation, signing up for an email newsletter or a volunteer opportunity — gives your prospects a specific way to take immediate action on your message.

In addition to receiving their permission and contact information, calls to action help your organization gauge the interest and level of commitment each prospect has to your cause. You’ll want to have a bold, attention-grabbing and enticing call to action on nearly every page of your site, ensuring that an individual browsing can take the next step and engage at any point.

Landing Pages and Forms

Whether it’s on your website, your social media or in your newsletter, your call to action needs to be linked to a landing page. This is where an individual will go once they’ve accepted your call to action. This page is focused on your call to action and doesn’t include access to other content or parts of your website. In addition to describing your call to action further, your landing page should include motivating information on how it will benefit the prospect — and a form.

Your form doesn’t need to be invasive or burdensome for your prospect. It’s simply a way for you to obtain the information you need in order to connect with them further and feed their particular interest in your work. Asking for basic information like their name and contact information should equip you to do so successfully going forward.

Embracing Digital Transformation

Ensuring that your organization thrives amidst this change in dynamic relies on your willingness to adapt to the new philanthropic landscape. Adopting an inbound marketing approach will align your nonprofit’s development and marketing efforts, alleviate the stress of high costs and wasted outreach efforts, and ultimately allow your organization to make better connections with its donors.

If you’re still not convinced, we understand. Philanthropy is historically slower than the for-profit sector to innovate, but early adopters are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. As a result of leveraging new technology, these early adopters are becoming more efficient and raising more money to support their mission.

And if you need more convincing, we’ve written an article highlighting five reasons why adopting inbound strategies is a worthy investment of your organization’s time and resources. You can read it here.


photo credit: Ian Schneider via Unsplash 

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