I enjoy speculating about email subject lines. If I added another word or two instead of [xyz] to the subject line of this email, do you think it would increase or decrease the open rate?

However I’m already digressing. This isn’t a post about subject lines. But it is about how important the digital environment now is to nonprofit marketing and fundraising.

The actual title of the NonProfitPro article that caught my attention was: 10 Awesome Marketing Ideas for Nonprofits. Author Eric Burger was writing about how to reach volunteer and donor prospects.

I eagerly opened the email, hoping to find a provocative range of ideas.

What I did find was a useful list of ideas, but one heavily weighted toward use of social media.

In pre-Internet days, expanding and tapping one’s prospect pool was almost exclusively the domain of direct mail. And the expansion strategies were limited and straightforward … find more (relevant) mailing lists to rent. In very special, emotive and rare circumstances, print ads might deliver decent leads, if not donors. And for certain types of nonprofits, DRTV would work. What else was there?

But nowadays, the digital environment has opened the door to incredibly far-reaching opportunities to create awareness, win attention, and gain leads.

Hence the nature of Eric’s list:

  1. Take Advantage of Google Grants (for online advertising)
  2. Invest a Little Budget in Paid Social Media Ads
  3. Add a Donate Button to Your Nonprofit’s Facebook Profile
  4. Use Your Existing Nonprofit Content in New Ways (with emphasis on feeding digital/social media outreach)
  5. Create More Segmented and Personalized Email Campaigns
  6. Use Facebook Live to Become More Humanistic with Your Prospects
  7. Create Social Media Contests to Excite Your Prospects
  8. Host a Twitter Chat to Increase Influencers and Build PartnershipEight of ten ideas relate to digital media. The other two:
  9. Leverage Your Nonprofit’s Existing Volunteer and Donor Database and CRM)
  10. Write More Captivating Content and Tell Better Stories (even here, suggestions dealt with feeding digital/social media)

Now, I’m not knocking Eric’s list … plenty of useful ideas. Take a look.

I’m just engaging in a bit of nostalgia — the pre-digital version of #9 …

SOOO long gone are the days where I spent weeks wandering around the major cities in the U.S. midwest, lists of Common Cause members in my briefcase (many of those names generated by NY Times ads and solicitations to a tiny number of magazine subscriber lists), meeting people on those lists and asking them to suggest others they thought might be interested in our organization (and often sleeping in the homes of those first members) … looking for ‘birds of a feather’ that we might later send a direct mail letter to.

Wow, can any of you relate to that?




This article was posted in: Communications, Direct mail, Donor acquisition, Online fundraising and marketing, Social media.
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