Far too often we hear the old distinction: that’s marketing, not fundraising. But the truth is, to connect with donors and prospects effectively and drive giving behaviour — particularly in digital — it’s critical that we, as fundraisers, focus on being better content marketers.
“Content marketing” is a term that was in vogue a couple of years ago — and it’s still just as valid today. By definition, content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience, most commonly online.
Sending out a Thank You email, reminding the donor to check their inbox, just being live on Facebook, or incorporating a single landing page is no longer enough. Your campaigns need to be fully integrated, founded in insights, and digitally-led.
In today’s marketplace, digital can no longer be an afterthought. You need to be digital-first.
Non-profits aren’t selling jeans or luxury cars. They give donors the ability to make amazing work happen — work that makes a significant impact. People want to engage with charities but the problem is, they need to care enough to take action.
In the world of fundraising, we know that stories matter. So, your content is Queen.
I know you have heard it all before — but we need to truly step up and use what we have to our advantage. Your donors are looking for engaging content to consume and charities have plenty of engaging content to provide — but we need to make it easy for people to engage (and give).
This is where your online channels are critical.
Your website, social media accounts, and email files are all ways to provide amazing content to your donors and a public audience in a way that is simultaneously targeted, high-volume, and cost-effective. In the ‘old days,’ in order to get your message out to a public audience, you had to spend a lot of money on advertising, with some significant challenges tracking direct return on investment. The growth of digital has changed this completely. Now, not only can your fundraising investment reach a comparable audience size with greater targeting, but also empower you to track, analyze, and optimize your outreach mid-campaign.
Here are two key points to remember when thinking about utilizing your content effectively.
- Digital doesn’t discriminate.
In traditional models, we believed that each revenue stream (direct response, major gifts, planned giving, etc.) had to have a specific, storied approach for each individual giving area.
This isn’t necessarily true. The story told to donors across segments can be exactly the same (though the offer may vary). Whether a donor can afford to give $10 or $100,000 doesn’t mean that the emotional story of the work will resonate with one donor and not the other. The digital space is a place with significant opportunity for all donors and supporters to access stories of the amazing work that is being done by your organization.
- When it comes to great content, the expiration date is later than you think
The stories you have at your fingertips are amazing. But once you’ve found those great stories and leveraged them in the digital space to amplify your message… then what?
Many charitable organizations miss realizing the full value of their content by letting it expire too quickly. That is, once content has been used once, it’s never used again. Then you need to look for more content — and sometimes that content and those stories are hard to obtain. The next groundbreaking donor story isn’t always served on a silver platter. So, don’t be afraid to use an old story, or to use a story more than once. People want to be updated, kept informed, and reported back to, and using content in a smart and effective way will make all the difference!
Unlocking the mysteries of the digital space comes from our ability to provide content that people want to engage with. Each digital channel has audience and targeting capabilities, and this is where you get the chance to really make your story resonate with your donors, across platforms.
Director, Digital & Strategy Integration