5 Key Elements of Digital Marketing for Nonprofits

Portland nonprofit web design is focused on getting the most out of every digital marketing initiative. Design and development experts often work with nonprofit organizations that usually operate on an unpredictable budget. Their work depends on raising awareness for their cause and getting donors, so reaching a wide audience is perhaps even more important to them than for traditional businesses. This is why Portland design services are so crucial to these types of organizations. Before we examine the most important digital marketing elements for nonprofit organizations, we need to take a step back and analyze why digital marketing can be so important to the missions of nonprofit organizations. Digital marketing is much more cost-effective than traditional marketing for nonprofits because digital tactics cost less for organizations not as focused on financial gain, and reach far more people than traditional marketing. Many organizations turn to Portland nonprofit web design to build a cohesive digital branding strategy that is all about putting a nonprofit’s overarching fundraising or donor goals into action. As with any other marketing strategy, the work starts with answering fundamental questions about the organization and its marketing goals. Who is the audience and how should they behave? What does the nonprofit want interested people to do? Nonprofits have to deal with greater budgetary constraints than other organizations, so they need to ask themselves another crucial question: what are those constraints or five keys and how do the limitations affect the marketing strategy?

Which Digital Marketing Elements Boost Portland Nonprofit Web Design?

Knowing that all nonprofits have budgetary constraints, there are several things that Portland Nonprofit Web Design suggest to make the most out of those marketing dollars.

Backlinks, Influencers, and Your Audience

Digital marketing is all about your audience. Before you dive headfirst into any strategy, you must determine what your audience responds to and engages with so you can adjust your intelligent tactics accordingly. There are several ways to do this cheaply. Connect your site with Google Analytics or another online behavior tracker to see how your website visitors are interacting with your site. Google Analytics will tell you how visitors are finding your website, how long they’re spending on each page, which individual webpages draw the most traffic, and more. Nonprofits can also use their Customer Relationship Management software to track donors. They can use this information to test messaging and determine how their audience responds to it. A great way to spread your messaging and reach potential new donors who have never heard of your organization is to build relationships with other entities and influencers who essentially do some of your digital marketing for you. There are all kinds of influencers on social media these days. These people, some of them celebrities, take products and services and tout them to wide audiences, usually on a social media platform like Instagram. Successful influencers have thousands of followers, so if you can market your cause to these influencers, they can get your messaging in front of far more people at once than your organization can. I have to warn you about influencers, however, because your audience won’t necessarily respond well to the person touting your cause on social media. Who does your audience look up to? Are they more likely to respond to a celebrity like Emma Watson or to a professional influencer who does nothing but advertise products, services, and social justice causes? Here’s an example of Emma Watson acting as an influencer for the nonprofit The Book Fairies: The Book Fairies            Here, Watson includes a Book Fairies mention in her post and a few fun words about how she’s supporting them. Look at the comments. Over 5,300 Instagram users commented on the post from all over the world in many different languages. Professional influencers charge for their services. The more followers they have on social media, the higher their price. But celebrities like Watson often do this kind of nonprofit influencing for free. The key is reaching them and making your cause stand out amongst the thousands of similar requests they get every day. If you can make an impression on only one celebrity you’d like representing your brand, you can get your cause in front of millions of people around the world for free. A word about backlinks: Backlinking is similar to using influencers, but instead of making your message and your cause appealing to others who will spread your message for you, you’re making your website valuable to other websites. Backlinking is a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactic that Portland Nonprofit Website Design experts use to make websites more popular. When these other sites add links to your site, it builds your brand’s online authority, making it more valuable in Google’s search engine page results algorithm. Putting engaging content and useful information on your site, as well as forming relationships with similar sites, is an inexpensive way to build your online following.


Video is taking over the Internet, and if you want your nonprofit to keep up, you have to embrace it, too. It’s no secret these days that video is more engaging to wide audiences than text. You can use video on all your online platforms, including on your homepage as your mission statement. You can start a vlog, or a series of videos your audience wants to watch and keep watching. You can put them all over your social media, and even embed them in your direct marketing initiatives such as email marketing. According to research by Google, nearly 60% of people who watch a video from a nonprofit organization online make a donation. Think about that. If you can get your video in front of as many people as possible and they’re willing to watch it, the majority of the viewers will donate to your cause. You might think that producing a video is too expensive. But there are plenty of examples of simple, short videos from great nonprofit organizations out there that get a big bang for their buck. Some video production companies may be willing to produce footage for nonprofits for free or for a reduced price, as well. Here are some good examples (click the hypertext to view the videos): Rainforest Alliance            This video is the first thing you see when you enter the Rainforest Alliance’s website. It serves as a mission statement, hooking visitors right away. Store To Door Oregon            This video is at the bottom of the home page and goes through the story of how the organization was created. The home page gives visitors the ‘elevator pitch,’ and this wonderful video goes into why the organization is worthy of your support. The Phoenix This video matches the overall feel of the organization, a no-nonsense, hard-nosed organization helping ordinary people struggling with addiction. The beauty of video that Portland Nonprofit Web Design experts always tout is that you can record just one and use it everywhere. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-Per-Click advertising, or PPC, is a common marketing tool for-profit organizations use to drive direct traffic to their websites. Those banner ads you see on almost every website you visit are PPC ads, paid for by their brand sponsors. Websites that host these ads are usually compensated as well for the amount of traffic they generate for the sponsors. Nonprofits have an advantage in PPC advertising, believe it or not. They can sign up for Google Grants, which gives advertising money to nonprofits to run their PPC marketing campaigns. Before you commit to PPC advertising, you’ll need to run an audit of your organizations’ digital setup. What are you equipped to do? Can you track all that new traffic to your website and adjust your messaging quickly? Make sure your PPC ads are consistent with your mission statement and website copy, then analyze your direct traffic from specific ads to adjust your copy and content to resonate better with what your audience expects.


Retargeting is a tactic that many businesses use to engage with web visitors who didn’t take any actions like buying products or signing up for the email marketing list. Portland Nonprofit Web Design experts use this concept to re-engage web visitors who didn’t make donations. The idea is to reach out to these individuals to find out why they didn’t donate and remind them that they once had an interest in their cause. There are a few ways to do this. Facebook Exchange is a program that allows businesses and nonprofits to influence users who have shown interest in your organization in the past. Depending on your target audience and marketing goals, you can use advocacy software, social media scheduling, email marketing, opt-in software, CRM programs, and others to track and get to the bottom of who is visiting your website but not donating, and why. Retargeting is crucial for many for-profit companies, particularly those with expensive or complicated products. Many people might visit their websites and interact with digital marketing messages and content marketing, but they might be scared off from making a purchase. Companies have to chase down these individuals and remind them of their interest in their products. Take a page out of their book and remind people why they were interested in your cause in the first place.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the bread and butter of nonprofit advertising. Many of the examples I’ve cited so far have landing pages designed to capture email addresses so advertisers can reach people interested enough to enter their address and get more information. If you can, embed videos in your emails for better engagement. Be creative with your messaging, and above all, keep it personal and simple. Create attractive opt-ins or gift offers in your emails and make it easy and clear for your recipients to take advantage of these goodies. Email marketing programs such as MailChimp can help you track customers to retarget them. Another useful feature of most email marketing platforms is that you can segment your audience and create follow-up messages designed specifically for different types of email recipients. Your emails should be engaging in the copy and design. Here’s a good example of an effective email from Charity Water:

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