Today, 60% of charities have a digital strategy, representing an 11% increase since 2020. In our current digital world, using the opportunity that websites and social media offer is crucial for any organisation’s growth, success, or outreach.
Building an effective strategy to maximize this opportunity requires technical expertise—technology is constantly evolving, the algorithms on social media platforms are regularly modified, and maintaining SEO requires consistent analysis and modifications. We recommend that organisations use agencies to help them navigate the complexities of digital platforms in order to develop the strongest possible strategy.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know, including:
For non-profits and charities, making use of an effective digital strategy is an opportunity to reach the broadest possible audience, target specific audience demographics, and maximize the organisation’s impact, all at the same time. The digital strategy represents a plan that brings together your impact goals, engagement intentions, fundraising targets, and donor obligations, all under the umbrella of digital marketing.
Digital strategy is an increasingly essential focus point for charities and non-profits as the world moves online. Previous fundraising and outreach have become outdated, including in-person campaigning, mailings, phone calls, and community gatherings. But, digital strategy is typically a pain point in these sectors, as 44% of charities feel that they are lacking when it comes to understanding users and conducting user research to inform new campaigns and services.
In order to develop a thorough and effective digital marketing strategy, your organisation needs to devise a cohesive multi-channel approach and data-driven methodology. This will require testing out different forms of communication and messaging approaches to see which options resonate with your intended audience, developing timelines, and using custom-built platforms that give you the flexibility to easily create campaigns and landing pages.
The foundation of any digital and web strategy is a customized website that caters to the exact needs of your organisation, is optimized for SEO and user performance, and establishes a consistent brand image and voice. Website templates have their limits in terms of how they can be structured to best serve your organisation’s intentions, needs, and mission, and a custom-built website allows you to leverage the expertise of web developers who can maximize your site functionality to engage users and reach the people you need to reach. A website is the home base for all of your digital marketing, so optimising this platform is essential to make the rest of your strategy thrive.
Agencies with SEO experts can help charities optimize their website’s performance in the search engine to increase visitors and access new audiences. Working with an agency means they will take care of:
Social media marketing is one of the main ways to access new audiences and grow your reach and following as an organisation. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok bring organic reach opportunities beyond a website. Cross-posting content, running digital campaigns and developing a video content schedule optimize your outreach engagement. However, it is essential to emphasize that sustaining a successful social media content strategy takes consistency and a significant amount of strategic content creation work. It is not a side task and often requires a dedicated person full-time or an agency that can act as your in-house team.
This agency can provide you with more than just the content for each social media post, but will also:
Incorporating digital fundraising campaigns allows you to reach your donors and generate momentum for your cause. Leveraging the tools of a customer relationship management (CRM) system can allow your organisation to not only track and communicate with donors more easily, but also integrate payment platforms into your digital strategy to make the process of collecting donations seamless and automated.
CRMs specifically oriented toward charities and non-profits include Donorfy, Beacon, CiviCRM, and DonorPerfect. By integrating the payment platform feature of any of these software platforms into your custom website, your online fundraising campaigns can all be directed back to a unified landing page that collects accurate data and contact details of each new and existing donor.
Developing a newsletter is an important way to keep in contact with your target audience, update your followers and donors on new endeavours, and provide a hub of news and links to all of your content, campaigns, and social media and website links. By building out an email list comprised of individuals who voluntarily provided their contact information, you have the option to create personalized marketing, which has been shown to increase monetary intent by 78%. Some of the best email marketing platforms for charities and non-profits include Mailchimp, Zoho Campaigns, Campaign Monitor, and MailerLite.
There are endless ways to expand one’s digital strategy and infinite directions an organisation can take, so it is vital to keep these ideas in mind:
Building a website that reaches your targeted audience and brings organic traffic and growth takes an immense amount of technical knowledge and analysis. The sitemap needs to be sketched out through wireframing and mock-ups and paired with programming languages and frameworks that can bring it to life. This step also requires web designers to map the customer journey to enable the organisations’ priorities to succeed.
From there, the site’s design entails user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) expertise to develop a visual and interactive layout that is intuitive and engaging and will encourage users to spend more time on the platform. Additionally, when working with the content creation and coding of the website, you will need to conduct analysis to determine the optimal SEO strategy, necessary keywords, and technical SEO requirements.
With expertise in digital marketing, web development, and web design for non-profits and charities, agencies are able to take care of the technical, analytical, and strategic elements of your custom-built website and digital strategy approach. Agencies can help you generate organic traffic through SEO, develop a mobile-first web approach, create a custom WordPress or Jamstack site, optimise your UX and UI, and conduct beta testing to determine the best technical and content approach to engage with your target users.