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      The Ultimate Myth-Busting Guide to Digital Marketing Agencies for Nonprofits

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      Helpers need help too. Creating a nonprofit marketing strategy can be daunting, especially when you’re just warming up to the idea or you have limited resources. Even if you aren’t going it alone, bringing in a digital marketing agency feels like cracking open a can of worms as well.

      While engaging a skilled team with a proven history of nonprofit marketing wins seems like a no-brainer, there are common myths that often stand in the way of taking the plunge:

      1. You think “marketing for nonprofit organizations” is an oxymoron.
      2. Digital marketing agencies are too expensive to accommodate a modest budget.
      3. The goals you have for your organization are local or feel too small for an agency.

      Well, that’s where you’re wrong! There’s a world of growth and potential waiting for you on the other side of apprehension. Here’s what you should know if you’re considering hiring a digital marketing agency for nonprofits.

      You Should Definitely be Marketing Your Nonprofit Organization

      You’re already marketing your nonprofit with every phone campaign or mailer you deploy. Yet, very few nonprofits are taking full advantage of the marketing incentives available online.

      Consider Google Ad Grants, for example. Qualifying 501(c)(3) organizations can receive thousands of dollars worth of in-kind Google Ad campaign credits every month simply by applying to the program. While 40,000+ nonprofits are participating in the program, there are more than 1.8 million nonprofits in the United States alone.

      That’s a lot of money left on the table, and it could be going to your organization if you put a priority on marketing. All you have to do to qualify for $10,000 per month of in-kind advertising is:

      ✔ Meet the eligibility criteria, including being listed on TechSoup

      ✔ Have and maintain a high-quality website.

      ✔ Follow Google Ad Grant policies (which they’ll help you to do with in-program notifications).

      If the website requirement is stressing you out, that’s all the more reason to turn a critical eye on your digital marketing and online presence. Even if you aren’t interested in the free in-kind ad credits from Google, a strong website is step 1 in achieving broader reach and more donations online.

      In fact, online charitable giving grew by 12.1% over the past year, and people are contributing more than they used to: Double the Donation reports that online monthly giving revenue grew by 40% thanks to recurring donation options gaining popularity with online donors.

      Consider updating your website with conversion-ready features, then using that site as a central launchpad for ads, email campaigns, etc.

      There are Nonprofit Marketing Options for Every Budget

      Remember that Google Ad Grant we mentioned earlier? Free. 

      Google Analytics that help you understand your website traffic? Free.

      Doing more with what’s freely available? Priceless.

      The question becomes how to use these tools effectively to promote your cause without a lofty resource sink from your team. The answer: an experienced digital advertising team.

      Unfortunately, not every digital marketing agency for nonprofits is created equally. Some agencies avoid nonprofit clients, while others expect you to pay insane retainers for unspecialized knowledge and content creation.

      The good news is that there are agencies that want to see you thrive and offer assistance within your price range.

      Research agencies that have worked with nonprofit organizations before to find the best fit for you. Look into case studies, ask them about their strategies with causes like yours, and critically consider how well your intentions align with their offerings.

      Tips for selecting a digital marketing agency for nonprofits:

      ✔ Set a realistic budget and keep an open mind when discussing your ideas with an agency.

      ✔ Ask about nonprofit rates or budget matching incentives to see if you can stretch your funding further.

      ✔ Consider a focused strategy; Ask an agency how they would concentrate resources to deliver results.

      ✔ Assess the tracking tools an agency uses to monitor your leads, trace traffic, and measure campaign success.

      ✔ Remember that it’s okay to start small - with an email campaign, a few digital ads, etc. - when you want to get a feel for agency collaboration.

      Digital Marketing for Nonprofits Suits Any Growth Plan

      Whether you have a global reach or keep your cause local, marketing strategies for nonprofits need to be agile. Objectives pivot throughout the year as the needs of your cause shift. Maybe you have an event to promote this summer, but the main push around the holidays is securing cash donations on Giving Tuesday. 

      No worries there; any strategic goal set by a nonprofit can be aided with an equally strategic digital marketing stack. 

      A few common goalposts we’ve helped our nonprofit clients reach include: 


      Boosting Awareness

      Before anyone can open their hearts and wallets to a worthy cause, they have to know there’s a need. Awareness campaigns signal boost your message. Generous folks whose interests align with your communities' needs are the perfect candidates for targeted campaigns

      Whether you spread the word with social media posts or create long-form blogs, highlight how people can help.

      Real-life example: Young Musicians Unite wanted to get the word out about their work delivering music education to students in the Miami-Dade area. As a bonus, a bump in cash and instrument donations would be a plus. We used the Google Ad grant to launch YouTube ads for YMU, pointing people back to their website and encouraging them to learn more. Not only did they see an increase in site traffic from the ads, but their YouTube subscriber count increased too, allowing them to continue connecting with interested donors.

      Increasing Engagement

      Awareness can be a difficult metric to measure, but understanding what compels your existing audience to take action and engage can be just as helpful.

      From clicking through to your website to joining your newsletter to buying raffle tickets for your next event, the goal is to see your audience take action.

      Real-life example: Catch a Break! had an incredible offering: renewable college scholarships for teens lacking financial resources. The trouble was that they weren’t receiving many applications. With a dedicated landing page, cold email campaign, and eye-catching flyers, we were able to more than double the number of applicants Catch a Break received. By reaching out to educators directly, we helped Catch A Break! tap into a broader network of deserving students than ever before.

      Driving Donations

      Obviously, fundraising is a big deal for nonprofits aiming to make a meaningful impact. Just like for-profit businesses targeting customers, convincing folks to buy-in is a process.

      The decision to part with hard-earned cash is one weighed by donors and customers alike. Accordingly, we advocate for taking a page from the for-profit playbook and trying Account-Based Marketing (ABM) to secure more donations.

      What is Account-Based Marketing? Account-Based Marketing unifies marketing and sales teams to focus on high-value customers. For-profit businesses use ABM to put their resources where they yield the best return - to focus on the high-dollar client who is ready to spend.

      But what about nonprofits? Why not use the same unified strategy to nurture relationships with corporate or recurring donors? 

      With the right tools, ABM for nonprofits is a logical way to maximize limited resources and achieve the best ROI. 

      Real-life example: Save the Chimps has a self-explanatory mission, but their work is far from simple. They came to us with the hopes of furthering their message and securing much-needed donations for their cause. Thankfully, the message of protecting these intelligent creatures resonates with so many people - we just had to find and target them! To do that, we created campaigns and ads that focused on the people most likely to donate, and donate they did. Targeting those who were deemed “high-value” based on interest and intent, Digital Reach helped Save the Chimps set an upward trajectory for donations.

      Tracking Leads & Campaigns

      Throwing pasta at the wall to see what sticks is great when you have a big budget and a lot of time. For those looking for a more data-driven approach to finding what works, though, tracking is key. 

      Every nonprofit marketing strategy we have discussed so far benefits from thorough tracking and data review. There are free and paid tools available that can help organizations understand where their website traffic, phone calls, and donations are coming from. 

      A digital marketing agency for nonprofits can round this data up for you, show you which tools are worth using, and derive actionable insights from the data.

      Real-life example: Digital Reach launched a top-of-funnel ad campaign to raise awareness about Latet’s work to combat hunger and food insecurity in Israel. Using an organized suite of tracking and campaign deployment tools including HubSpot, Google Analytics, and Oribi, Latet could see their progress clearly. Of the 703 unique visitors to their landing page during month one, a whopping 636 of them came from Facebook advertising. Now, Latet knows where their most actively engaged community can be targeted.

      Get Results That Go Beyond Your Goals with Digital Reach

      Your mission and cause deserve more attention online. Our nonprofit marketing team knows that when we do well for your organization, you can do more good. 

      Solve the struggle of finding the right digital marketing agency for nonprofit growth. Go with the agency that cares about your cause and walks the walk when it comes to getting you results. You’ll get:

      ✔ Collaborative planning and strategy building to ensure your needs and goals are met.

      ✔ Affordable plans including content marketing, data tracking, tools training, and more.

      ✔ Clearly outlined, focused strategies that maximize resources according to your goals.

      ✔ A roadmap for definitive success across key metrics.

      ✔ Detailed progress reporting for every stage of your marketing development and buyer journey.

      ✔ An agile and understanding team dedicated to growing with your organization.

      We’d love to talk with you about our success stories and works in progress. Who knows? You may be our next rising star.


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