Imagine you get a postcard in the mail from a nonprofit you’ve supported. It displays a photo of a smiling kid holding a backpack and reads, “Because of supporters like you, Maya can go to school with all of the supplies she needs.” You’re so inspired by the messaging that you decide to give to the organization again.
The above scenario effectively displays why nonprofit marketing leaders should do everything they can to encourage their supporters. A strong content marketing strategy can play a critical role in how supporters respond and engage with your nonprofit.
You may focus this strategy on digital storytelling efforts, such as email, website, and social media content. Or, you can utilize printed marketing to offer a personalized approach that can be hard to mimic over the computer screen. By mixing the two approaches, you can create multiple touchpoints for donors and expand your reach.
Your nonprofit’s website, email messaging, and other digital materials should all align with and support your printed content. This guide will walk through the following steps to ensure your content strategy is set up for success:
- Establish content strategy goals and messaging for your audience.
- Map out a timeline to send your content.
- Use your content to invest in donor relationships.
Aligning your digital and print content strategy is essential, especially if you want your nonprofit mission to reach and inspire as many people as possible. Read on to learn how.
1. Establish content strategy goals and messaging for your audience.
When it comes to developing and aligning your digital and print content strategy, you need to establish three key details:
- Your goals
- Your target audience
- Your message
For example, what do you want your nonprofit marketing content strategy to accomplish? Are you trying to reach a specific fundraising goal? To help you figure it out, use the SMART method. Make sure your goals are:
- Specific: Specify what you want to accomplish. For example, are you trying to raise money for your year-end fundraising campaign or recruit more volunteers? It’s easier to aim for a straightforward goal than a vague one.
- Measurable: Identify quantitative ways your content strategy should benefit your nonprofit. Look to your past fundraising goals to see what you’ve previously accomplished and create a new goal with similar measurements.
- Achievable: Observe your previous goals and aim just a little bit higher. Be sure to track your goal and progress within your nonprofit database.
- Realistic: Make sure you’re setting goals that are ambitious but achievable based on past fundraising results.
- Time bound: Set a specific deadline and significant checkpoints for your plan.
For instance, let’s say your nonprofit is focused on providing more educational opportunities for children. You set a goal to fundraise $100,000, which is a 10% increase from what you raised last year, by the end of the year.
To apply your SMART goals to a content strategy, consider your audience. It’s likely that your digital vs. print audiences are a little different, with your print audience consisting of your older donors, major donors, and other active supporters. In contrast, your digital audience might consist of younger generations of supporters as well as your small and mid-range donors.
Double the Donation recommends conducting audience research, through which you’ll collect information about your audience’s motivations, priorities, and attitudes. This will give you a better understanding of your current donors, identifying donation patterns that can help you develop targeted messaging.
Targeted messaging will personalize each message to the audience. Be sure to include specific details to personalize your messaging, like the supporter’s specific impact and so on. For example, if you’re reaching out to past volunteers, make the program sound appealing and thank them for the previous hours they contributed to your organization.
2. Map out a timeline to send your content.
According to Kanopi Studios, your messaging should inspire your audience and “speak to their values and priorities.” To ensure your digital and print content strategy impacts your audience, plan a timeline for how each message will be relayed to meet your supporters’ priorities and your organization’s goals.
Consider creating a fleshed out calendar depicting all the times you will send out various marketing materials. Digital and print content will require different timelines:
- Digital: Even though website content, social media posts, and email newsletters can be published instantaneously, your nonprofit’s digital content marketing strategy should be centered around a well-planned posting timeline. For example, plan which days of the week, month, or year would be best to send out volunteer requests.
- Print: Note that you will likely need more time to develop, print out, and send your materials to the right address. Plan in advance the days that you’ll develop the materials as well as the days you plan to send them out so they reach supporters ahead of fundraising deadlines or events.
Planning communication to meet your supporters’ priorities will depend on your audience research from the goal-setting stage. For example:
- Volunteers: Supporters who have volunteered in the past likely prioritize giving their time to your organization. In return, your nonprofit should be considerate of their time and busy schedules as you request volunteer help. Space out your volunteer requests and offer a variety of sign-up times to make volunteer opportunities more conducive to their schedules.
- Older donors: Your older supporters might prefer direct mail to anything sent over the internet. Develop a list of supporters who are responsive to this type of communication and compile their addresses. This will speed up the mailing process, since you’ll already have a list of addresses ready to go once you’ve printed the materials.
- Peer-to-peer donors: Supporters who give as a result of a peer-to-peer campaign are likely aware of your organization because of a family member or friend. Now that you have their attention, consider following up immediately with content that explains what your organization does. This extra information can get them interested in your mission and encourage them to stay involved.
The content in your digital and print materials can be similar, but be aware of the capabilities of each medium. For instance, you can embed an animated explainer video into your website, but will need to include a QR code in your printed letters to direct supporters to your digital content.
You should also assign specific tasks to the key players on your marketing team. Ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the goals, audiences, and messaging strategy that you initially outlined.
3. Use your content to invest in donor relationships.
With an established timeline and clear goals as your foundation, your digital and print strategy can work together to drive genuine results and engagement for your nonprofit. Engage your donors through digital and print content with the following outreach tips:
- Ensure your marketing content is as inclusive as possible. For both digital and print content, accessibility is key. Some easy ways to make your content more inclusive is to make sure the color contrast and font size are easily readable. Incorporate branded elements, such as your nonprofit’s logo and brand colors, so supporters can easily associate your nonprofit with the message.
- Use the same target action in your calls-to-action for both digital and print content. The target action for your marketing content is based on your core goal. For digital content, embed a link or prominent button. For print content, you might have steps listing out how to submit a gift along with a QR code that directs supporters to your giving page. Both types of content should make the call-to-action easy to act on.
- Thank your supporters and donors for their help. Supporter appreciation is a step that you cannot forget in any engagement strategy. Thank every volunteer, anyone who gives to your organization, and all your event participants. Whether the follow-up is digital or print will depend on your existing relationship with them as well as their individual preferences.
Engaging and developing relationships is one of the most rewarding parts of being a nonprofit leader. By demonstrating appreciation to your supporters, you’ll be able to retain their support for the long run.
As your content strategy evolves, it’s critical that your nonprofit tools are actively tracking its progress. From the rate of email opens, direct mail responses, online fundraising gifts, and more, you can get a better understanding of which outreach method is garnering effective and valuable results.
That’s why it’s important to keep track of your outreach data. Once you establish which methods are most effective, you can use this insight to hone your content strategy for upcoming communications.