Our world is constantly changing, reshaping the needs of donors and how nonprofit organizations connect with them. In recent years, the digital age has altered nonprofit marketing and leveled the playing field for organizations seeking to attract and engage new donors.
The rise of social media that came with this has created a landscape designed for two-way communications, affording every organization the same opportunity to connect with individuals looking to give back — initiating the development of inbound marketing.
In an ever-changing world, adaptation is essential for continuous growth and impact. In addition to presenting the social sector with a tremendous opportunity to truly maximize growth and strengthen mission impact, making this paradigm shift in your nonprofit marketing strategy will streamline and ease your efforts.
Developing a strategic, well-planned inbound marketing strategy will help position your organization as a thought leader, allowing it to stand out from the rest. There are plenty of reasons why adopting inbound strategies is a worthy investment of your organization’s time and resources, but these five are particularly compelling.
1. The Digital Landscape
In today’s world, it is more necessary than ever before to adapt to the digital landscape. The digital age has altered the way organizations successfully reach donors and has shifted the path of the donor’s journey. Rather than waiting for your donor development team to reach out, a donor can search and find almost instantly an organization or cause aligned with their passion — allowing them to evaluate, form conclusions and make decisions about who to support without ever speaking with a person.
Taking the time to develop a nonprofit marketing strategy that leverages inbound methods will offset this imbalance and position your organization to use it to its advantage through opportunities to connect through new technology and approaches. Jumping in and navigating the digital landscape is the best way to attract and nurture your current and future donors.
2. Inbound Marketing Builds Trust
As we mentioned, the digital landscape has shifted the path of the donor’s journey — along with the way we effectively connect with them. Connecting used to mean pushing products or services to individuals, but with so many organizations fighting to reach the same individuals, how do you make sure your organization creates the personal, emotional connection necessary to stand out?
Inbound marketing connects personally, earning — not buying — an individual’s attention, and gives your organization the opportunity to connect with donors on each stage of their journey. Once a prospective donor has discovered a problem, they will begin researching solutions and opportunities to give back.
Through engaging content such as blogs, books, podcasts, infographics and white papers, your organization can attract and connect with donors by solving their unanswered questions — automatically establishing your organization as a trustworthy source. It is about planting the right seeds and attracting your supporters, creating connections that will position your organization as the one to fulfill their passion for giving back.
3. It’s Cost-Effective
Before the rise of digital platforms, nonprofit marketing teams used traditional outbound methods like cold calls, blind advertising and snail mail to connect with donors. Outbound marketing tactics require your organization to spend a lot of money on outreach methods that regularly do not generate return.
If you’re not convinced, consider this — inbound produces three more leads per dollar and costs nearly 60 percent less than outbound.
4. Interruption Marketing is Less Effective
Today, outbound marketing methods take a different shape, but are arguably even less effective. When we surf the Internet, scroll through our apps or check our email inbox, we are constantly bombarded by information and messages from marketers. On average, most Americans are exposed to up to 10,000 ads a day. All of these messages, constantly interrupting our user experience has forced us to develop a screening process for what we choose to engage with — increasing the likelihood that a message is ignored.
What used to be the primary way for marketers to reach individuals is now thought of as intrusive and annoying, making it more difficult than ever to reach people effectively using outbound marketing strategies.
5. Inbound Marketing Optimizes Your Donors’ Experience
Attracting new donors is important, but keeping your current donors engaged and interested in your mission is key to retaining their support. Inbound marketing aims to help you create a deeper, more meaningful relationship with your organization’s donors by developing personalized and donor-focused content.
The emergence of new, easy-to-use and integrated technologies has generated a streamlined approach that leverages your new and preexisting content to help your organization stay connected with its donors. Marketing automation tools provide a seamless blend of email marketing, analytics and technology that enables nonprofits to build deeper, more personal relationships with donors and prospects.
Maximizing Impact by Adopting For-Profit Best Practices
A decade ago, nonprofits were hesitant to embrace social media while it was on the rise. As years went on and social media became an integral part of communications, the need for adaptation became clear to organizations slow to adopt.
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.
Years of trial and error in the for-profit sector has given the social sector a test-free strategy and framework for harnessing the power of inbound marketing. Adopting this approach will align your nonprofit marketing efforts, alleviate the stress of high costs and wasted outreach efforts, and ultimately allow your organization to make better connections with its donors.