Top 10 Online Practices for Nonprofit Marketing


If you are a nonprofit management professional, you know that social media and online presence is vital to the success of your organization’s marketing efforts today. Mike Byrnes, an ESC Consultant and active independent social media speaker and consultant, names ten key points for managing online content, websites and social media for nonprofits.

1.) Fresh content
If you want to maintain optimal online presence for your nonprofit, you’ve got to provide followers with a steady flow of content on a day-to-day basis. Share recent industry news articles, keep up a blog, or share photos from recent events to stay in the present.

2.) Clear and easy navigation
Help viewers skip the hassle of looking for the information they want by bringing relevant content to your audience through a clear, simple interface. For example, part of any nonprofit’s audience is potential donors; it should be common sense to feature “how to contribute” on your home page, along with mission information and other hot, must-see content points.

3.) “Above the fold” real estate
Displaying the information you need to be seen “above the fold” is imperative to the success of nonprofit marketing efforts online. The phrase refers to content that’s seen on the screen without having to scroll down. If your nonprofit’s website has relevant content stretched throughout a long vertical homepage, you may want to evaluate its arrangement to be sure important text, links and photos are seen immediately by visitors.

4.) Scanable, to-the-point content
Websites and social media profiles don’t have to pack in a breadth of text. Quality content is concise and easy to read while still expressing all the entirety of details your nonprofit needs to convey. Ernest Hemingway may have never dreamed of writing online content, but his style provides an excellent baseline for writers who need to pack a big punch with few words.

5.) Pictures
Visuals are a necessary form of content today, and, thanks to social media, photo shares can make a huge difference in marketing for nonprofits. A post by Common Sense Media’s Taryn Degnan on Beth Kantor’s blog tells the story of producing a viral Facebook image and includes several points for best image creation practices, including how to add text, what to look for in competitors’ successes and why it’s important for nonprofit photos to be original. If you need help with sizing, HubSpot has produced a must-use infographic for the average social media manager.

6.) Videos
Videos are equally important storytelling tools for nonprofit management professsionals to incorporate in their online marketing strategy. If you are at a loss for how your organization could produce a video, or what subjects might be compelling enough within your nonprofit, think about the stories you have to tell. With modern technology, creating a video can be as easy as shooting and posting from your smartphone.

7.) SEO (eg. keywords, etc.)
Search engine optimization (SEO) can make or break your nonprofit’s online marketing campaign. Choosing the right keywords for your audience can seem like a daunting task, but a look at your mission and services should make this step a breeze for established nonprofits. For more thoughts on SEO’s impact, Mashable breaks down the concept and its history over the last decade for new and experienced online marketers.

8.) Independent pages
If your homepage features several tabs including your organization’s mission, history, constituencies and other relevant subjects, each of those pages must be able to stand on its own. This means anyone who comes across these pages through search engines, rather than being led to them through the home page, should be able to quickly identify that these pages are a part of your nonprofit’s website, and they should invite the reader back to the homepage for further exploration and to other connected sub-pages.

9.) Capture contact info
Without a way to capture contact info, your organization’s website and social media profiles can only be landing pages for eyes rather than certain connections. Develop something that is worth the exchange of an email address–a newsletter subscription, a guide that is useful to your audience, or another “gift” uniquely desired by the people you aim to connect with online–to maximize your online impact.

10.) Measure results
Finally, nonprofit website and social media managers should use analytics and other forms of measurement to track how their posts are helping their organizations better fulfill their missions. Facebook Insights, Twitter Ads and Google Analytics are just a few major examples of tools to help you navigate online marketing results. Without measurement, and a follow-up of adjustments your results may call for, time and effort put into social media and website work can be wasted. Keeping all ten of these best online practices for nonprofits at the forefront of your mind will ensure the success of your new media marketing efforts.