To run a successful nonprofit, you can’t simply ask for donations nonstop throughout the years. Those who do may be filed into the category of scammers, and that’s not a place any nonprofit wants to be.
Having a successful marketing campaign will net you the results you want, but you must be doing more than simply requesting money. That’s where content marketing for nonprofits comes into play.
Focusing on donations is a vital part of the process. However, in order to build trust amongst your audience and establish yourself as an authority figure, you must be providing quality content to your audience regularly.
This process of creating and sharing content is often referred to as content marketing. When asked, 42% of agencies stated that they have a documented content marketing strategy, while another 40% state that they do have a content marketing strategy, but it’s just not documented. With that said, at least 38% of agencies claim to be committed to content marketing, with another 26% saying they’re “very committed.”
Source: Content Marketing Institute
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is an essential piece of a marketing strategy because it provides the meat of your information to your audience members. Content comes in many forms and, for those who are ramping up their digital marketing strategy, their content marketing materials may come in the form of:
- Blog posts
- Educational content
- White papers
- Videos and more
The idea is to provide relevant material to your audience members consistently, which builds your authority on topics that surround your nonprofit, while also helping to build strong, trusting relationships with your audience. All of this can then result in donations later down the line.
How can content marketing for nonprofits drive results?
Unfortunately, as important as donations are to a nonprofit, not every supporter you have is going to be able to donate to your cause right off the bat. They may lack personal funds, or lack knowledge and trust in your organization.
While you can’t do much to help those who lack the personal funds to give, you can help build trust between your organization and your constituents over time.
1. It shows you what your audience is interested in.
What makes content marketing for nonprofits so beneficial is the fact that content marketing shows up in the right place, at the right time. It doesn’t focus on any one outlet, and encourages marketing teams to take the time to truly get to know their audience. That way, they can choose the channels that meet their audience members where they spend the most time.
This could be through the use of emailed content, social media posts, writing and sharing a blog post, and more.
2. It helps you build authority in your niche.
To help you build trust amongst your audience and authority on topics pertaining to your mission, you need to ensure that your content is answering the questions your audience is asking. While this is true for any marketing team, it’s especially true for nonprofit organizations.
Giving is an emotional response. So when someone chooses an organization to donate to, they want to give to a cause demonstrating that they’re making a difference. While you’re researching content to create and share, look at questions your nonprofit’s audience is asking.
For example, if your nonprofit focuses on raising money to give to victims of natural disasters, some questions you could create content around include:
- Who’s most heavily impacted by natural disasters?
- What do victims need to help rebuild?
- What time of year do specific natural disasters happen the most?
It’s okay if these questions are generic, as that allows you the opportunity to create broader topics of discussion for your content. Just try to keep in mind that you want to stay within your area of focus. So, if you’re supporting natural disaster relief, you shouldn’t be writing about home decor.
Sometimes your marketing team may find itself running short on ideas for original content—and that’s okay. Curating relevant information from other trustworthy sources is a great way to show your audience that you not only know what you’re talking about, but you know where to turn for further information.
Types of content marketing for nonprofits
Understanding why content marketing is so beneficial for nonprofits is only the beginning. The next step is to begin creating content that you can share with your audience and supporters.
To help jumpstart your content marketing for nonprofits, we’ve compiled a list of content ideas that can be used and shared across multiple channels to help you establish your authority and trustworthiness.
Testimonials are great pieces of content that can be shared across multiple channels, including social media pages, blog posts, newsletters, your website, and more. These are great because they provide real-world examples of what your nonprofit has done to help others.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation made use of a patient’s success story in an email campaign as a way of thanking their donors for their support. This not only makes the cause real in the eyes of prospective donors, but it helps to establish your nonprofit’s credibility.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation, INC also uses testimonials as a way to share patient stories and make those who suffer from this debilitating disease feel heard and seen. They chose to share these testimonials via video so that others can share as they see fit.
Source: National Breast Cancer Foundation, INC.
Evergreen content is content that remains relevant, regardless of how old it may be. This type of content drives traffic and, when done right, can gain backlinks over time, helping to establish your content’s authority further online.
For example, if your nonprofit is focused on saving the rainforest, a great piece of evergreen content could talk about the good that rainforests do for the world and all who inhabit it. The Rainforest Alliance does a great job of this by creating an FAQ defining what a rainforest is, who inhabit them, and the impact humans have had on deforestation.
Source: Rainforest Alliance
Designing and sharing infographics is another way to create unique content and share it as a part of your content strategy. Infographics are images designed with education in mind—therefore, it should contain answers to frequently asked questions on a topic pertaining to your nonprofit’s niche.
In the case of the World Wildlife Federation, they decided to highlight an animal in need—in this case, the sea turtle. For the meat of their content, they give some basic information on seven different types of sea turtles that live in our oceans, but that are also endangered and need help from organizations such as their own.
From there, they go on to list all the dangers these creatures face throughout their lifetime, while also dedicating an entire section on how their audience can help.
What makes this infographic particularly useful is that the nonprofit not only highlights the issues, but encourages their audience to do their part through methods other than donations. This is great for those audience members that don’t necessarily have the monetary means to support the cause through a donation.
Finally, another valuable type of content worth considering is the creation of educational materials. Education materials come in countless forms, including:
- Online courses
- White papers
- Printed and digital brochures and flyers
- Videos and more
One example that stood out to us was this online educational course by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Their Beyond the Shock course comes in both a plain text course with videos or a simple video course and is made up of seven chapters that cover their initial diagnosis, as well as through treatment and recovery.
Source: Beyond the Shock with National Breast Cancer Foundation, INC
This material is outstanding on several levels, but particularly because they offer up content that’s beneficial not only for someone with breast cancer, but for the community at large. In fact, this information would easily be filed under evergreen material as well.
While we only covered four types of content that could be included in content marketing for nonprofits, the sky really is the limit. A few other examples of content to keep in mind include:
- Blog posts
- White papers
Ready to jumpstart your nonprofit marketing strategy? Be sure you review our section dedicated to nonprofit marketing resources today.