Nonprofits have some of the noblest objectives, but the
trickiest tasks when it comes to marketing.
While they’re primarily focused on humanitarian efforts and
tasks that improve the world through a giving spirit, it isn’t
always easy to keep the operation going.
While traditional marketing is largely based around promoting a
focusing on features and benefits, nonprofits take things in a
different direction. Nonprofit marketing is about showing users how
they can make a difference.
Rather than trying to get people to purchase a product or
subscribe to a service, you’re trying to get them to pledge their
support. This can come in the form of one-time or reccurring
donations, as well as a focus on community building to create
support for future endeavors.
Two of the best tools out there to elicit this type of
networking and social participation are email and social media.
When you leverage the two together, you increase your chance of
Developing a multi-channel marketing process
The best marketing efforts don’t have a central focus—at
least when it comes to the channel.
It’s possible to focus on singular topics, events, goals,
styles, and objectives across multiple channels. This multi-channel
approach isn’t a way of scattering your concentration throughout
different avenues. Instead, it’s a way of strengthening your aim
toward one set of objectives by diversifying the ways you pursue
Email and social media are great choices. In terms of email’s
efficiency, it’s a powerful resource even in the field of B2B,
where it’s only outranked in influence by colleague
recommendations industry thought leaders. That’s
a great third-place spot to have.
How does that impact you, as a nonprofit? Often, you’ll have
key influencers or popular names in your field play a role in your
marketing endeavors. If other sectors with similar strategies find
success with email, you can too.
Nonprofits also get their success by word-of-mouth marketing for
those who partner with them. Since social media is the
modern word-of-mouth tool in the digital world, it’s also an
option you should be using.
Advertising revenue for these platforms was at about
$51.3 billion last year, with the annual growth rate estimated
at around 10.5%.
The links between these two channels are that they’re both
personable, they build a sense of community, and they’re popular
for hot topics. How can you leverage them together?
Copy and verbiage focused on the reader
One reason both of these channels are so popular is that they
make the reader feel like they’re at the center of the digital
Your feed, your inbox, your interests. This approach can also be
carried over into the copywriting techniques nonprofits use to
drive their audience members to action.
Source: Really Good
In the case of nonprofits, where participation doesn’t always
warrant an immediate and tangible return, focusing on “you”
rather than “us” in copywriting is imperative. This is because,
when one focuses on the latter, it creates a dilemma commonly known
as the free-rider problem.
While this concept is used traditionally to describe
crowdsourcing public goods or projects, it also applies to
nonprofit endeavors as well. When there’s an idea that a large
number of people will contribute, it also creates an incentive for
each individual not to contribute, because they feel so many others
Think of the difference between these two headlines, even though
there’s only a minor difference between the wording.
Together, we can make a difference.
“Well…if so many other people are contributing, will my
efforts really make a difference? There’s not much I can add;
I’m only one person.”
Your contribution matters, and can make all the
“If I do my part, I know I’m contributing to the goal, and
it could possibly provide that little extra bit of support needed
to achieve it.”
The latter isn’t just superior for getting people involved,
but it looks much better in their feed or their inbox.
What tone works well for email and social channels?
There are plenty of choices out there for the tone you want in
your content. Nonprofit organizations can get diverse with this
In some ways, content can be uplifting, empowering, and
positive. It’s about people making a difference. It’s about how
one person’s participation can change another’s entire
However, nonprofit marketing can also take a different tone. It
can be more urgent and even express dire implications for
non-participation. Which is superior for nonprofits? For best
results with the channels we’re discussing here, go with the
It’s best to keep it positive. Yes, a more somber tone can
connect with a person’s emotions and may even elicit responses as
a result. However, there are stark contrasts with each.
It’s effective in some ways. However, think about how this
would fit in on a social media feed. Remember, leveraging content
across multiple channels means promoting the same thing on both, in
On social media, people usually like sharing things they’re
happy about, proud of, or fascinated by. An image like this, while
definitely worth showing because of the seriousness of it, may not
be as appropriate for your social feed as it would for your
Now see how the following email takes a different approach.
Both emails have a similar style, with a colored banner in the
background, along with a single hashtag and an image in the
However, this image is much more empowering. You aren’t
feeling tense or uncomfortable about clicking or not clicking
through like you would be on the first one. Here, you’re curious.
What happened next? More importantly, how can you help?
If you combine this type of positive, inviting, curious tone to
your content, it can fit in well on both social channels and email
3 ideas for multichannel campaigns
Now you have an idea for the copy perspective and tone you’ll
need to leverage content across both channels. What are some
specific tactics you can use for combining these channels
1. Snippets on social, expand in email.
No one wants a text wall in their feed. Social media is a great
place to touch base about the small excerpts that give your story
its meaning and make people want to keep clicking through.
Even the tiny bits of text in the emails shown above would work
well for social media. You could post those, along with a signup
offer for your email newsletter, and provide the rest of the
information to those who sign up.
You could also provide more details each day about a story via
your social posts. You can create an entire story throughout the
course of days or weeks. Once you get people following along to
hear more and find out the conclusions, you can offer to provide
completed stories via email.
A good subject for these stories is any previous work your
nonprofit has done. Things you’ve built, people you’ve helped,
or milestones you’ve reached all serve as great topics to discuss
across your channels. Just keep it lean on your social channels and
delve into the details for your email subscribers.
2. Demonstrate social proof for increased signups.
When you want to build up both your email list and your list of
followers, showing them the results they could contribute to is a
While it’s true that nonprofit participation’s reward is the
results it brings in other people’s lives, sometimes, newcomers
need that extra incentive to get them on board.
Social proof content pieces are one of the tools you can use to
help get people involved in your network. Once they’re in, it’s
much easier to get them to donate and stay involved.
Promote your proofs across both platforms and make sure you let
both groups know that the other channel provides chances for them
to see more of what your nonprofit has accomplished.
Show goals that’ve been reached, complete with timelines and
results. If you can provide pictures, interviews, and even videos,
it’s a great way to make your audience more inclined to get on
3. Ask for participation, then keep things simple and secure.
The best way to get participation on either channel is to ask
for it. If you’re trying to leverage participation, either via
subscriptions or donations across email and social channels, keep
Both of these channels move fast. People don’t want to be held
up filling out long forms, providing tons of information, or being
subject to overly intrusive questions when they’re trying to get
involved. These things can repel them, so make sure you’re asking
for the bare minimum.
You should also keep things secure. If you’re providing links
where people can subscribe or donate, make sure you have secure
connections and mention any security credentials or certifications
you may have.
Email and social channels are both great for nonprofits. They
provide several benefits to marketers on their own, yet, when
combined, they can be used:
- to share information in varying volumes
- build a sense of community where participation is easy to ask
With the right tone and approach, you can get people’s
attention and keep it across both your social profiles and email
mailing list. Using both of these together may be the best way to
get the participation you need to succeed.
If you’re looking to empower our nonprofit marketing
read here to discover strategies for boosting your email
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How Nonprofits Can Leverage Social Media With Email