Here is some good news: the amount of people giving to non-profits is set to grow steadily year-over-year, and there is little indication that this trend will stop.
In 2018, annual giving is expected to rise by 3.8%, and a lot of that giving is being done online.
To reach wider audiences, more non profits are turning to the web to market their causes and reach more people. Nothing speaks louder to this trend than the fact that 92% of NGOs worldwide have facebook accounts and 72% have twitter.
As giving increases and the importance of amplifying the effectiveness of an online presence grows, non-profits have to carefully form a targeted marketing strategy that can increase audience engagement and ultimately generate more online donations.
Here are 10 highly effective non profit marketing ideas that have proven to increase online donations:
1. Add testimonials to your site to increase your credibility and donations
It isn’t surprising that 92% of consumers read online reviews and testimonials when considering giving. 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 82% of them say positive reviews and testimonials make them trust an organization more. If you have more than 50 reviews on your site, it can increase your conversion rate by 4.6%. When an organization achieves over 10 reviews for a product or program, it organically increases website traffic by 10-20%. When a consumer interacts with a review, two major things happen from an outcome perspective: 58% are more likely to convert, and 62% more revenue per site visitor is generated. Invest in testimonials on your site to produce greater outcomes. Period.
2. Tag people and organizations in your post
When you make a post to social media and it includes information with specific people or organizations make sure you tag them in the post. By tagging them in the post, you ensure that your message is heard by a broader range of people. It’s an organic way to increase your post reach and it also publicly acknowledges your appreciation for individuals and institutions that have ties to your organization. By tagging organizations with a large audience it opens up doors to be exposed to a big network of people who can impact your work.
3. Use hashtags to expand your reach
When you make a post on social use hashtags that are relevant to the content you are publishing. Hashtags ensure your content can be seen by a relevant audience. It also helps your audience understand the theme of your content. You can use sites such as Hashtagify to determine hashtag popularity.
4. Make sure your website is mobile friendly
The fact is that if your site isn’t optimized for mobile you are going to lose supporters and have a high bounce rate. People will leave a site if they struggle to navigate it and can’t find what they are looking for quickly. The data supports this hypothesis. 53% percent of mobile users abandon websites if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Another reason that mobile can’t be ignored is that over 25% of all global website traffic happens on mobile, and this figure is only set to grow. Analyze the mobile version of your website and make sure it’s simple and easy to navigate. Users need to be able to find what they are looking for as quickly on desktop as on mobile. If they can’t, then you need to seriously consider making the revisions necessary for ensuring a better mobile experience.
5. Integrate an instant messaging tool on your website
44% of all online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of a website visit is one of the most important features a website can offer. 63% said that they were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat. And a surprising 38% of respondents indicated that they made an online purchase or donation because of the chat session itself. Evidence indicates that there is at least a 30% return on investment from using live chat on their site, and it has increased online giving/sales by over 200% for some organizations. I have personal experience using instant messaging tools on sites I have managed. One of the biggest benefits outside of seeing an increase in giving was that we were receiving questions from visitors that helped inform us about problems and opportunities with our programs. We were able to act on a lot of those questions and make organizational improvements that would have been impossible to make unless we had this tool in place.
6. Do facebook ads and boosting to increase your reach and audience size
The marketing world is migrating toward an algorithm run system that prioritizes organizations making financial investments in ad and boosting campaigns. It’s how facebook makes money, so it’s clear why organizations that invest money into ads get priority placements on news feeds. If you want to maximize your engagements and reach, you have to be willing to spend a little bit of money on ads and boosting. The new algorithms are making it increasingly difficult to make organic content successful. Even $1 a day can go a long way in helping you ramp up your marketing efforts. Try it, and make sure to do research to determine how to effectively target audiences relevant to your cause. Here is a great article that can help you with targeting.
7. Make online giving as simple as possible
Have you ever heard the saying “sophistication is in simplicity”? Everything about your website and checkout process needs to be as clear as possible. You need to make sure that visitors can immediately figure out how to get to volunteer and donation pages. You need to make sure there are a minimum number of pages they need to visit to get there. You need to clearly lay out directions and information to inform them about what steps they need to take next. If you create complications in this process, you run the risk of losing potential supporters. They won’t donate if donating is too difficult to accomplish online. It’ll be hard to secure volunteer commitments if you require people to fill out a form that requires two hours of work. Keep it short and simple, but remember to provide them with enough information so that they feel comfortable with making a commitment to you. It’s a careful balance, and it’s one that you need to take seriously to ensure you can grow your support base.
8. Add credibility markers to your web-based platforms.
Credibility markers are small features that you can add to your website to display that you are an accomplished and trustworthy organization. It could include adding an “As Seen In” section where you include high profile websites that you have been featured in – think about Forbes, National Geographic, BBC, Time Magazine and New York Times. When you see affiliations like this on a website the trust you have for that website immediately enhances. It could also include the inclusion of a partnership section on your home page. This section would include logos of high profile organizations you are associated with. If you are a conservation-based organization, it could be important to list organizations like the United Nations and Wildlife Conservation Society to show that you are working alongside credible partners. Try adding this to your page, and you will see an increase in conversion rate.
9. Get more supporters to generate content for you
Having supporters of your organization talk about you on social networking platforms has never been more important. Engagement with an organization increases an average of 28% when users are exposed to a combination of user created product videos and professional content. User generated content ads get 4x higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost-per-click. Youtube videos generated by users get 10x more views than content uploaded and created by brands. And 93% of consumers find user generated content helpful as they make purchase decisions. Surprisingly, there are 29% higher web conversions on campaigns or websites that use user generated content versus websites that don’t use it at all. Getting your supporters and users to talk about you online is essential to online success. If you are struggling with ideas for how to encourage user generated content on social media, then check out this article for help.
10. Create a visually appealing website that creates positive perception immediately
Research indicates that it takes about 50 milliseconds for people to form an opinion about your website. You literally have the blink of an eye to convince people that your organization is worth further exploration. Investments in better photography, flashier buttons and more inspiring language is critical to helping visitors quickly forming a positive outlook for your organization. But it’s worth taking this mindset and applying it to each section of your site. If a visitor lands on a certain section of you site, it needs to be as clear, visually beautiful and easy-to-understand as what you put above the fold. If you run this experiment you will find yourself very carefully analyzing every word you use, every picture you place, and every framework you use to structure your design layout. This is essential to your online success, and it’ll help you generate more online donations.
We hope you find value in these 10 highly effective non profit marketing ideas. Let us know how it impacts your donations, and please feel free to leave comments below that can help our NGO network increase their online giving.
This article was written by David D’Angelo with support from danamojo, an online payment gateway that is helping NGOs in India raise more money.