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Samantha Steidle – Supercharge Online Fundraising


Nonprofit organizations are competing in a highly digital marketplace that often leaves them behind due to a lack of resources. Here are the top 10 ways that your nonprofit can revamp its online fundraising efforts. With this hard-hitting advice, you can better reach target audiences and raise funds more efficiently in the competitive online marketing space of today.

1. Work Inbound Marketing Strategies

Use inbound pull marketing strategies alongside of any traditional outbound push marketing tactics such as TV, radio, newspaper, billboard, and email outreach. Quality content is a magnet for traffic, and promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, whitepapers, social media marketing, and other channels of content marketing all work to engage prospective donors. While outbound marketing is fueled by budget, inbound marketing is fueled by effort. These efforts will not only influence your digital reputation but also help you rank higher on search engines such as Google.

2. Use an Editorial Digital Marketing Calendar

This will help teams plan social media posts ahead of time, including who will take photos at events, holidays, program highlights, and more, so your donors can stay connected to your activities. Use the 80/20 rule: eighty percent of the content posted should relate to topics the audience (donors) cares about, such as interesting statistics and news. Posts relating to raising funds should account for no more than twenty percent of the total posts.

3. Facebook Ads

Leverage cost-effective Facebook ads ($5-$10/day) to drive highly targeted messages to individuals most likely to donate time or money. Highlight a particular Facebook ad or pull donors directly to your website. Boost a post relating to an upcoming event, compelling story, or request for funding, and target the ad to a specific gender, age, geography, or even sensitive topics such as income and marital status. Check out Canva.com, an online platform allowing anyone to design a custom e-flyer for use in the ad. Adding a visual aspect almost always boosts response rates if the message and design are strong.

4. Harness On-Page SEO

Create sites that are optimized for the web. This can be accomplished by researching keywords with tools such as Wordtracker or Google AdWords, and then naturally utilizing those keywords. Other ways to pump up SEO (search engine optimization) include press releases, resource banks, blogs, and email newsletters.

5. Connect with Influencers

Getting in touch with influencers can make all the difference in the world. For instance, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia says they get about 600 new followers each time Ryan Seacrest mentions them in a tweet. Who is the influencer in your region? You can find out by using websites like www.Klout.com. Twitter Search is also a great place to find the influencers in a particular field. This can be worth more than gold.

6. Launch a Wikipedia Page

Wikipedia is the eighth highest-trafficked website. Leverage this visibility to boost your online presence.

7. Give Donors More Choices

Use your digital marketing abilities to give donors more choices. For example, seamlessly encourage donors to give monthly with recurring donation options, or place “Donate Now” buttons on every page of your website.

8. Ask for Reviews

Ask your followers to write reviews for your organization. They can easily write reviews on sites such as GreatNonprofits, which syndicates reviews to GuideStar and other high-traffic websites.

9. Tell a Story

Start your digital marketing campaign with a strong story to help connect with people, as well as by offering compelling testimonials, which can be used from the website to Facebook, and to any other outreach effort.

10. Leverage LinkedIn

Use LinkedIn networks to make powerful connections. You can use LinkedIn’s advanced search to see which board members have connections that would be helpful – for example, contacts at a foundation you’re pitching for a grant. Simply creating content and cross-promoting can help forge lasting relationships.


Samantha Steidle, founder of Virtual Marketing, helps nonprofits with a variety of specialized online marketing services. Her team delivers results-driven search engine optimization, social media optimization, pay-per-click campaigns, graphic/website design, and more. Samantha has 15 years of combined traditional and online marketing experience, and she serves as a marketing professor at Virginia Western Community College. http://vmconnectors.com/

This article is reprinted from Vol. 3, No. 1, of Nonprofit Performance Magazine. Subscribe today!

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