Digital marketing is a job within itself, yet in many nonprofits that role falls to a marketing or development manager or anyone who seems to a have a grasp of the online lingo. 

Nonprofits can’t afford to ignore the prevalence of digital marketing. Donors are online and if nonprofits are not speaking their language on the platforms where they hangout, nonprofits are missing the mark…and the money. 

Review these signs to determine if your nonprofit needs a digital marketing strategist or consultant (and no, it’s not the marketing manager). 

You think digital marketing is magic. It’s not that you haven’t seen other nonprofits having success with digital marketing, it’s that you don’t know how to get in on the action. You think if you post on social media, donors, volunteers, and interested parties will appear. There is no sleight of hand or secret compartments in digital marketing. And believe me, if you pull a rabbit out of a hat, it’s because the digital marketer told you where to find it.  

Your social media is an afterthought. You plan events or have great mission moments. But, after the moment, you scramble to put something together for social media. You don’t tweet or go live during the moment and you don’t plan ahead to capture memories to use later. Know what you want to say in social before you say it.

You have shiny platform syndrome. You think your organization needs to be on every platform. You don’t. You just need to be on the platform where your customer/donor lives and on the platform that makes sense for your organization. A strong social media presence on one platform is worth more than a number of subpar profiles across the web.  

You don’t have a strategy. You haven’t planned out an editorial calendar of relevant, always-in-style content. You post whatever comes to mind or whatever drops on your desk on any given day. There are no goals to achieve (except additional likes, of course) and no real messaging. No strategy. No gain.

You use social media like a megaphone. Your social media messages begin with: Donate now. Become a sponsor. Be a volunteer. Sign up for this. Give. We need you … etc. Your audience is sitting on the end of these messages asking “Why?” Don’t lead with your promotions. Tell your organization’s story for no other reason than because it needs to be told. Educate your audience. Give them value they can use whether or not they give. By the time you ask for something, they will think “Of course.

You’re focused on page likes and followers. “Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who is the fairest nonprofit of them all?” Seriously, it’s not about the likes. Likes do not save lives and likes are not tied to any money-making event. It’s just a thumbs up. “Yay, nice job.” You’re not saving the world just for someone to “like” you. Strive for engagement not likes.

You rely on boosted posts instead of Facebook advertising. If you want to advertise, advertise. Boosted posted are not a substitute for real Facebook ads for nonprofits. Spend money through the ads manager to reach a far wider audience than any boost will give you.

Nonprofits need to be just as savvy as not-for-profit businesses when it comes to social media marketing. Reaching donors in the social world takes science, strategy, and skill. A digital marketing consultant can help focus attention on translating the mission online. 

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