Making the most of digital marketing in the not-for-profit sector

David Spriggs shares a few things to consider to help you get started with your digital marketing.

Your organisation’s online presence has never been more important. According to the 2021 Digital Technology in the Not-For-Profit Sector report, organisations understand the importance of digital marketing, however less than half of these organisations are adequately tracking and reporting on their efforts, therefore limiting the potential to improve. 

From free or low-cost design platforms to analytics tools, there are endless opportunities to push your organisation’s message online without the need for a big budget. 

However, it should be acknowledged that getting your digital marketing right takes significant time and resources. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few key things to consider.


Your website is the window into your brand, so it’s important to ensure that it’s up to date and user-friendly.

Make sure your website is optimised to be viewed on mobile devices. This means that your website will adapt to properly display on smaller screens, making it easier to navigate for those visiting on a mobile phone or tablet. 

It’s also important to ensure your website is well optimised so that it can be easily found on popular search engines. The Digital Transformation Hub has an excellent guide detailing search engine optimization (SEO)

If you’re not utilising Google Ad Grants for not for profits, you should be. Google Ads are the advertisements that show up on Google search results pages. Organisations pay for them to appear at the top of the page via a bidding system, with the highest bid receiving the rights to the top listing. 

If you’re eligible, you can sign up for a Google for Nonprofits account which will entitle your organisation to US$10,000 per month of free advertising to ensure your organisation or specific campaign appears in that coveted top spot when people search for the keywords you’ve purchased. 

Be sure to monitor your website engagement. Set up a monthly report for free using Google Analytics, which will track visitors to your website, popular pages, where your users are based geographically, content engagement and much more. Learn more about how and what to monitor over on the Digital Transformation Hub

Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most efficient and cost-effective methods of promoting your organisation to people who are already engaged in what you do. 

It’s worth subscribing to an email marketing system such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor, both of which have packages designed for small- to medium-size organisations and offer special pricing for not for profits. These systems are great for creating your content, evaluating your campaigns and managing your subscriber database. 

These systems also allow you to closely monitor subscriber engagement, from open rates to bounced emails, you’ll have an excellent picture of who is interacting with your communications. 

Planning a regular email communications schedule to promote fundraising activities, advocacy messages, updates to client services and stories showcasing what your organisation has achieved is a fantastic way of keeping your subscribers engaged.

It’s worth noting that sending regular EDMs (electronic direct mail) simply for the sake of appearing in your community’s inbox isn’t a great idea. Unless you’ve got something valuable to say, it’s usually best to wait a few weeks until you’ve got something “news-worthy” to communicate. This reduces the risk of people clicking on the dreaded unsubscribe link.

Social media

A social media presence is a great way of increasing the number of people you can reach, with many of these people actively engaged in your content given they’ve hit the follow button.

Even the most basic social media strategy will put you in good stead to build a following that is actively engaging with your organisation, so be sure to spend some time putting one together.

Remember, you don’t need to be on every social network. Assess what networks are used by your key audiences, and tailor your presence and content to those groups. 

It’s also worth checking out how your direct competitors use social media. How often are they publishing content and is their audience engaging with it?

Acknowledge that to manage a successful social media network, there is a time commitment involved. This goes beyond regularly publishing content but includes actively engaging with comments and other organisations in your sector. The more you engage, the more the algorithms will favour you and see your content appearing across a greater number of feeds.

Keep on learning

Ready to overhaul your online presence? The Infoxchange Group has a great range of digital marketing courses suited to all skill levels on our Connecting Up platform. Many of these guides and workshops are low-cost or free of charge for not for profits.

Remember that your digital marketing strategy will grow and evolve over time as you learn more about your audience and what they enjoy engaging with. 

The Digital Transformation Hub is continuously updated with the latest information on digital marketing and social media with a focus on the not-for-profit sector, so be sure to sign up for the latest info on courses, webinars and training sessions.

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