By Kyle Schnurbusch, OrgStory Partner & Director
Expand your organization’s awareness and engagement in the new year.
If you’re apprehensive to read a blog about essentials for your organization’s 2021 marketing plan, I don’t blame you. 2020 has proven that no amount of planning can adequately prepare us for what could come in life. However, challenges make people and organizations stronger, more inventive and aware. In fact, Oprah Winfrey once said, “Turn your wounds into wisdom,” which could be a candidate for 2021’s mantra. So, as nonprofit marketers, we must ask ourselves how to best apply the practices and ideas undertaken this year to strengthen our marketing strategies for 2021 that build mission awareness and energize engagement.
Here are five must-have strategies that can help expand your organization’s awareness and engagement in the new year:
1. Focus on high-quality content
The value of content online has become apparent in the nonprofit space in recent years. In fact, 65% of marketers, many nonprofits, say they’ve increased their production of content in the last year to expand their digital footprint. However, this means that nonprofit content is crowded, and simply developing it will prove ineffective. Content must now be high-quality content with an associated marketing goal.
This could be:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Ranking well on search engines
- Improving click-through rates
- Generating leads
- Getting social shares
Your organization’s high quality content shows that your mission is alive, has perspective and values community. These are all characteristics of an organization that people want to support in 2021.
2. Segment email campaigns
Email marketing continues to grow in importance for organizations; however, the focus is no longer on monthly newsletters. Sending general emails to your entire database is ineffective in breaking through the hundreds of emails your supporters get daily.
Each email your organization sends should be personally relevant to the supporter receiving it. Email segmentation management within your donor or customer database is critical to creating relevant campaigns. Begin segmenting by focusing on the most important groups to the success of your mission. It might make sense to start with groups like monthly donors, first-time donors or lapsed donors. Group lists can also be segmented by demographics or behaviors (i.e. opened an email campaign).
As COVID-19 has limited financial abilities, people will support institutions they’re already familiar with, and whom they know can make a difference. So, it’s important to use your data to segment groups and present the right message to a defined group of supporters in order to capitalize on the tendency.
3. Regularly schedule virtual events
2020 was the year of virtual events, but 2021 will require them as well. This is not only to ensure people’s safety and confidence, but because they’ve proven to be effective means for meaningful, low-cost communication and engagement.
Virtual experiences and events should have a permanent place in your marketing plan, and the list of engagement possibilities that leverage our new virtual behaviors are endless.
Some ideas include:
- Receive organizational updates from leadership
- Witness testimony from clients and community partners
- Tour facilities or receive a first-hand account of programs
- Attend special programming
- And more…
What ideas can your organization create to have quarterly, or even monthly, virtual events and experiences that engage supporters in your mission?
4. Build on your social media fundraising
In 2020, more time has been spent online than ever before, and people representing every demographic are becoming more savvy with digital tools. Communication tools like virtual meeting platforms and social media networks account for much of this time.
With this trend, 2021 should focus on building your organization’s online—and specifically social media fundraising—presence. It’s a great time to enable supporters to donate to your mission without leaving the platform. Supporters on Facebook can easily set up peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns benefiting your organization when it has fully registered and set up its fundraising tools as well.
To get started with Facebook fundraising, visit: https://www.facebook.com/fbelevate/nonprofit
5. Create more opportunities for video storytelling
As you’ve probably heard before: nonprofit organizations have the ability to be incredible visual storytellers, producing videos that evoke emotional and personal appeals, when they dedicate time for planning and use adequate production resources for their efforts. Well, that statement continues to be true, and 2020 proved that great video storytelling will keep supporters engaged and compel them to act.
Video is expected to make up 82% of all online traffic in 2021, so it’s crucial that your organization find visually rich ways to share your work and impact with supporters. Get creative, be authentic and find room in your budget to hire a professional videographer.
Tip: If planned well, a large amount of footage that accommodates multiple narratives can be captured in just one day of shooting.
How did 2020 shape, or reshape, your vision for how your organization communicates with its stakeholders? We’re interested in what key take-aways from your organization’s 2020 communications and outreach efforts that you’ll put into practice in 2021. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share the list of key take-aways we receive early in 2021.