Marketing automation

4 ways to effectively use technology in nonprofit marketing

It’s a common misconception that marketing is only necessary to attract new supporters to grow your nonprofit’s supporter base.

However, this isn’t entirely true.

While marketing is a great way to reach new audiences and spread awareness of your cause, engaging your existing donors is just as important.

Without supporters passionate about your cause and your organization’s work, it can be easier to maintain a reliable funding source. Incorporating technology like marketing automation software, content management systems (CMS), and trendy tools like mobile apps can make developing an exciting marketing campaign.

In this guide, we’ll discuss four of the top ways your nonprofit can use technology to improve its next marketing campaign:

  1. Start with the right tools and support.
  2. Stay up-to-date with trends.
  3. Set up a data-tracking strategy.
  4. Uncover insights with data visualization.

Half the battle of a successful marketing campaign is keeping everything running smoothly to ensure the right messages reach the right people at the right time. To get started, we’ll cover which tools can help you keep your messaging on track while saving you time and streamlining the process.

1. Start with the right tools and support.

Selecting the right technology to support your next marketing campaign will make tackling repetitive, day-to-day tasks easier. The right tools will often allow you to completely automate administrative tasks to free up more of your staff’s time.

Here are some marketing tools and resources to use to support your campaigns:

  • Email platforms. Email marketing software like Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (formerly Pardot) allows your nonprofit to draft and send emails to those on your email list. Often, these platforms will enable you to create more specific email segments and test different strategies with A/B testing. You can also track open and click-through rates with greater ease.
  • Social media scheduling tools. Social media campaigns that use multiple platforms can quickly get confusing, even with an organized content calendar. A scheduling tool will allow you to draft each post well in advance and publish them for you at a predetermined date and time.
  • Content management systems (CMS). A CMS like WordPress or Drupal will help you create, manage, edit, and store content on your website more easily. Most tools have scheduling features and offer plugins that help you optimize your content for search engines and readers.
  • Technology grants. Programs like the Google Ad Grant allow nonprofits to leverage powerful digital marketing tools for free. With the Google Ad Grant, for example, your nonprofit is eligible for $10,000 in Google Ad spending each month. To successfully apply, optimize your campaigns, and maintain compliance, consider working with a specialized agency.

In addition to working with a marketing consultant, it can be extremely valuable to enlist the help of a dedicated tech consultant—ideally, one who is certified in and knowledgeable of the technology you already use. For example, if you use or want to integrate a Salesforce CRM, you’ll want to work with a Salesforce partner like Fíonta to help you implement the CRM and any other apps you need.  

These consultants will help guide you through the implementation process and strategize how to make the most of the technology you are using. 

Each marketing channel has its own unique, ever-changing trends. However, because trend cycles turn much more quickly in digital marketing, it’s critical to track and implement trending strategies and new technology often.

Here are some examples of how a nonprofit focused on providing clean water to its beneficiaries might use these trendy digital marketing tools:

  • Video. The organization films powerful testimonials from beneficiaries, asking them to describe their lives before interacting with the organization and the overall impact. They also put together a “Day in the Life” video series from different perspectives to show the organization’s work and influence.
  • Augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR). Using an AR app, the nonprofit creates interactive resources that educate supporters about the realities for those living without clean water. It features live statistics, videos, and 3D models.
  • Mobile apps. The organization adds other features to the mobile app, including a built-in donation feature, gamified elements like badges for regular donors, a social-media style updates feed, and interactive content like polls or Q&As.

As you update the technology used in external activities like marketing, don’t forget to frequently look inward at how you manage your operations. Tools that support effective program management will help you further your mission and indirectly assist your marketing efforts by creating a more productive, organized workplace.

3. Set up a data-tracking strategy.

Marketing attribution determines how specific marketing campaigns and tactics impact donations, other conversions, and your nonprofit’s goals. Developing a strategy to track data and accurately attribute outcomes is essential—without it, you won’t know which tactics, channels, or timing work best for your audience.

To get started, Getting Attention’s guide to measuring ROI recommends tracking conversions from these two categories:

  • Monetary goals, such as donations and merchandise sales.
  • Non-monetary goals, such as volunteer sign-ups or newsletter registrations.

Use a data-tracking tool like Google Analytics to track these conversions. This tool should track how people got to your website so you can attribute the conversion to the channel or strategy that inspired a user to click through and donate. Additionally, ensure the tool captures and visualizes other vital insights like the number of users visiting your site, bounce rate, session durations, and more.

4. Uncover insights with data analytics.

You’ve worked hard to collect data about your supporters and target audience, track conversions and metrics, and ensure every lead is properly attributed. Now, you need to make the most of the wealth of data in your file.

There are a few different ways to analyze your data. GivingDNA’s guide to data analytics for nonprofits breaks down the following three types:

  • Descriptive data analytics. This basic form of data analysis requires you to use current and historical data to identify significant trends in donor behavior. Simply ask yourself, “What happened?” and use the data to support your answer. Here, you’ll draw simple conclusions like determining the total number of first-time donors, new recurring donors, and average donation amount.
  • Predictive data analytics. With this type of data analysis, you can use your existing data to predict what might happen in the future. Look back to previously gathered information about your donors and apply those insights to possible scenarios to “predict” the outcome. When deciding which marketing strategies to use, for example, you might see that past storytelling campaigns were highly successful and predict that using the same process will yield campaigns with 20% more engagement.
  • Prescriptive data analytics. This is one of the more complex types of data analytics because it recommends specific actions your nonprofit can take to achieve desired outcomes. Typically, this requires using some kind of AI or other machine learning tool. For example, by using an AI tool to analyze your last social media campaign, you might receive recommendations for optimal posting times, content recommendations, engagement strategies like polls or Q&A sessions, and even budget allocation suggestions.

This data will reveal insights like your audience’s preferred communication channels and which ads or posts drove the most clicks and conversions. From there, you can pinpoint which strategies are most effective and worth reusing. You’ll also see which didn’t resonate well with your audience, helping you save time and resources by leaving them behind in future campaigns.

Knowing your audience, accurately representing your cause and work, and driving more support for your organization are the most essential pieces of the marketing puzzle—and the comprehensive solutions designed for nonprofits will help you get there faster. Start analyzing your campaigns and strategies, identifying pain points and slowdowns you can remedy with technology.