A Year of Digital Marketing Campaigns for Nonprofits

Nonprofits, it’s time to talk about digital marketing. With $471.44 billion raised in 2020, it is hard to ignore fundraising goals in your marketing strategy; however, it shouldn’t be your only marketing objective. 

Consider creating marketing campaigns geared towards volunteer retention, information dissemination, and engaging the population you serve. If you are at a loss for where to start, you are in luck. 

Read on to find 12 campaign ideas that you can use throughout the year that don’t only focus on reaching fundraising goals. 

Month 1: A Volunteer Sign-up Form

Build your base of supporters and volunteers through a sign-up form. Important fields to consider adding to your form when creating it: 

  • Name
  • Email
  • Skill sets: Does this person have experience in certain areas that your organization can benefit from?
  • Hours of availability: This can be general, such as four hours a month, or specific times of the day people are available. Again this is based on your nonprofit’s needs.
  • Why you want to volunteer: You can gain valuable information about your volunteers and learn what drives them to help out. 
  • Ideas for our organization: A pair of fresh eyes and fresh ideas never hurt anyone.

You’ve crafted the sign-up form, now what? Share the form on all of your social media accounts and your website. Consider setting a monthly or quarterly volunteer sign-up goal or offering some special swag to new volunteers who sign up during a specific timeframe. To accomplish this, add an entry counter to your landing page so your community is aware of how many sign-ups there are and how many are still needed. 

Month 2: A Volunteer Email Campaign

Once you have an email list for your volunteers, it’s essential to nurture those leads. Consider sending a series of follow-up emails over the course of the first month or two after they sign up.

Reaching out to potential volunteers is essential to having them actually participate with your organization. Sending automated emails shortly after potential volunteers show their interest by signing up keeps your organization at the top of their minds and increases the likelihood they’ll take action.

Here’s how this automation would work: A potential volunteer fills out your volunteer sign-up form, then you have a series of automated emails set up to reach out one week, two weeks, and one month after a volunteer submits the form. You don’t have to monitor when people sign up, the automated email does all of the hard work for you. 

Need another reason to send emails to your volunteers? It will help you fundraise! Nurturing your volunteer leads serve as a two-fold action: get volunteers scheduled and acquire donations. In fact, according to AmeriCorps, volunteers are twice as likely to donate money than non-volunteers. 

Month 3: Branded Volunteer Event Photos 

Hosting a major volunteer event? Encourage volunteers to take photos of themselves helping out at your event, then ask them to post their photos to your online photo gallery. When volunteers add their photos to the gallery, have them choose a digital frame that has your organization’s logo, slogan, or mission that they can add to their pictures. Encourage volunteers to share their branded photos with friends to spark more interest in your organization.

Check out our guide on how to use ShortStack’s Branded Photo Frames template here. 

Month 4: A Twitter Retweet Fundraiser

Using the Twitter Retweet function is more than just reposting a tweet you find valuable; it can also be used in contests and, in this case, fundraisers. 

The basic premise for this type of marketing campaign is that a donating organization posts a tweet asking for followers to retweet that post. For every retweet they receive, a specific amount of money is donated to your organization. 

The beauty of this campaign is that it is 100% free to Twitter users but still benefits everyone. The Twitter user feels good about helping out an awesome organization, your nonprofit gets donations, and the sponsor company meets its yearly donation goals. Who doesn’t love a win-win-win situation?

Take a look at the Retweet Campaign we ran for The Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows. In sum, we donated $5 for every Retweet. This fundraiser served to both provide a donation and increase awareness of a great local organization.

Month 5: An Engaging Personality Quiz

Personality quizzes are an entertaining way to engage the community and raise awareness about your organization. Personality quizzes allow users to answer questions about their likes, dislikes, or other fun questions. For example, an animal shelter might create a quiz for people to see what type of shelter animal they are or to help folks find their perfect match for a volunteer role. 

In order to receive their results, quiz-takers need to fill out a form. This is a sure-fire way to grow your email list and give you more ways to reach out to potential volunteers and donors.

Month 6: An Organization Impact Story Contest

A story contest is a perfect way to collect powerful stories you can use to promote your organization. 

Ask your community, both volunteers and those you serve, to share their stories. For example, ask them how your nonprofit organization has helped them or invite them to share fun stories about working with your organization. These are just a couple of ideas to get folks thinking about how your nonprofit has impacted their lives.

As for the contest portion, celebrate the most impactful story by inviting the winner and runner-ups to a reading. Award entrants with swag bags, dedicating an area of your organization in the person’s honor, or, if available, grant the winner with funds or free access to your organization. 

This is also another opportunity to partner with another organization to sponsor this contest. For example, team up with an electronics store and reward the winner with a new computer. 

Here’s a list of example prizes:

  • [Winner’s Name] Library, Garden, Reading Room. Computer Room.
  • Monetary grant to purchase electronics, books, car repairs, etc. 
  • The winner gets to be a spokesperson on radio, TV, or social media advertisements. 

Tip: Share these stories in a podcast or on social media, with permission of course. This is a no-brainer way to obtain and share content throughout your other social media channels and engage followers across the web.

Month 7: A Gala Ticket Giveaway

Many nonprofits host annual galas with a major fundraising goal in mind. While the main goal of a gala for the nonprofit organization is to raise funds, for the folks attending, it is to get all dolled up and have a great evening with community members.

If your organization hosts a gala, consider offering the opportunity for a couple of your volunteers (who might not be able to afford a ticket) to attend. To enter, ask volunteers to fill out a form. To ensure only your volunteers are participating, email them a special code or password. That way, you’ll limit the invites to only those you want to attend. 

Month 8: An Organizational Misson Knowledge Quiz

Knowledge is power, and the more people know about your nonprofit, the more they are willing to tell others about your mission. Test your community’s knowledge about your organization and its mission with a knowledge quiz. Quizzes allow you to increase knowledge, gain leads, and spread awareness.

A great benefit to knowledge quizzes is that if someone answers incorrectly, you can easily provide them with the correct answer. Use a form to gatekeep the final results, allowing you to grow your email list for marketing with potential volunteers and donors. 

Month 9: A Facebook Comment-to-Enter Contest

Do you have a Facebook Page? For this next campaign, engage with your followers by asking about what type of volunteer swag they would like to receive. Or, better yet, ask them what type of swag they are willing to buy as fundraiser items. 

Simply post the question on Facebook and ask your followers to comment with their responses. To increase participation, run a comment-to-enter giveaway. Once the new promotional items arrive, your winner(s) can receive them for free.  

TIP: ShortStack has a comment import tool that can pull all of the comments on any given post. Then that data can be easily exported to a spreadsheet to see which potential swag items have the most interest.

Month 10: A Design Contest

Want to freshen up your swag or is your organization in need of a new logo? Reach out to your members and ask them to submit designs. This contest gives people of all ages the opportunity to participate, which keeps community involvement with your nonprofit at an all-time high. You can also use this opportunity to produce a limited edition item to increase the hype and demand for your promotional items, thus increasing fundraising goals. 

To conduct this contest, create a form with a photo upload option. Entrants can upload a .jpeg or .png of their design and a brief artwork title. Once the contest is over, meet with your internal stakeholders and select your favorite design. 

Month 11: A Swag-inspired Hashtag Contest

Is your volunteer or donor swag the “it” item of your organization? Ask supporters to show off their style with a hashtag contest on Instagram and Twitter, the perfect contest for collecting some easy user-generated content.

The idea for this campaign is simple: ask all supporters who purchased or were gifted swag to take a picture, post it on Instagram or Twitter, and use a specific hashtag. To add more icing to this contest, ask to join forces with some local businesses and pick a random swag wearer to win a custom gift basket. 

TIP: When thinking about a hashtag for users to include in their posts, using unique hashtags will lessen the likelihood of receiving random entries. For example #volunteerslove[YOUR_ORG’S_NAME]swag vs #swag. The first option is more specific and less likely to collect an image from just anyone posting about their new swag.

Month 12: A Volunteer Best of the Year

The end of the year is the perfect time to celebrate the volunteers who have helped your nonprofit throughout the year by dedicating their time and energy for free. Set up a nomination-style campaign where folks can nominate volunteers they think went truly above and beyond. Once all volunteers have been nominated, you can create a committee to pick the winner(s) or put it to a vote from all of your organization. 

In Conclusion

With that, a year of digital marketing campaigns is complete! This list is sure to get you an increase in volunteer leads and retention, as well as increase awareness of (and donations to) your organization throughout your local and national communities. 

ShortStack offers a 50% discount to nonprofits. To take advantage of the discount or learn more about our templates and tools mentioned above, reach out to our support team at theteam@shortstacklab.com. 

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