Top Digital Tips for Non-Profit Organisations

Account Executive Stephen Clarke discusses digital strategy for non-profit organisations

In today’s society where local voices can have a global reach; charitable and non-profit organisations have urgent and exciting new opportunities to give a voice to their causes, empower communities and be responsive to their needs and aspirations. Digital marketing has the power to enable these types of organisations to become more integrated and cohesive – but finding the skills, strategies and resources can throw up some major challenges to organisations, many of which are also busy juggling complex bottom lines such as service delivery, campaigning and income generation.

The main question that we hear regularly is how can charitable organisations be empowered to rise above the growing online noise and increase their reach and influence at a relatively low cost?

With that in mind here a few of my top tips for ensuring your organisation has a voice and uses this medium as effectively and efficiently as possible.

1) Website

Roughly 97% of website visitors are in research mode, so a non-profit organisation’s website not only has to cater to those donate or volunteer, but also educate the majority of visitors about a cause. Content is key - keep your website fresh and relevant by ensuring it’s updated regularly with updates on everything that’s happening in the business and industry. The increasing amount of charity work and communication taking place online means people will react to news quickly – so try to provide followers an update as often as possible by either using an area of the homepage or blog.

2) Mobile

It has been predicted that by the end of 2014 the number of mobile devices is set to outstrip the number of desktop and laptop computers, while mobile will become the primary way people access the internet.

As more people look to mobile devices as a trusted tool to donate to charity it is essential that your organisation ensures there is a mobile platform for both donation (if required) and engagement.

With the increase in popularity of mobile internet usage, mobile-first design is going to become more commonplace. More sites are being designed for mobile and enhanced for larger devices responsively, rather than the other way round.

3) SEO

SEO should also be a major consideration for any effective digital marketing strategy as it enables charitable organisations to rank higher in the organic results for relevant search terms, helping to increase their online credibility and likelihood of being found. This is a must for any organization that wishes to utilise their website in the most effective way and ensure it is found by relevant users.

4) Paid search

Another factor to consider is Google Grants for Paid Search. If you are a charity and aren’t using this channel then you’re potentially throwing money away. The Google Grants scheme allows charities to use paid search for free, simply by using Google AdWords. These online ads can potentially reach millions and drive more traffic to the site, as well as increasing a website’s organic search ranking.

UNICEF, Cancer Research UK and WaterAID are just a few of the bigger charitable organisations using Google Adwords to increase traffic to their sites and with up to £250,000 of free advertising spend available on Google per month, there’s no reason why every charity can’t have an equally competitive online presence.

5) Social media

Social Media aims to engage online communities in contrast to paid search - which is all about delivering traffic and generating revenue (in some cases). However, as digital commerce becomes a bigger player worldwide, an active social media presence is critical for all credible organisations. Fortunately, charitable organisations are well-positioned to benefit from the online traffic and branding driven by these channels due to their emotionally engaging content.

With so many social media platforms available it can take quite a while to manage them all at once; however predictions indicate that a diverse range of platforms will continue to play a key role in expanding charitable organisations reach and engagement. This is supported by the demand for smaller messaging which not only ensures the management of many channels is kept to a minimum but also allows organisations to engage with potential volunteers, donors, employees etc who in today’s modern world have extremely short attention spans.

6) Image centric content/communications

2013 saw the dramatic rise in popularity of the image-sharing platform Instagram along with the slightly older Pintrest and BuzzFeed. Image sharing has existed since Facebook launched in early 2002, however this is being used more often with several high profile charitable organisations as the main driver for campaigns.

Easily digesable content such as this has the power to engage and educate audiences in a simple and effective way with relatively low management resource required.

Invest in photography and digital design. Take images of everything you feel can be used at some point down the line and in no time your organization will have a bank of images that will be shareable and most importantly, engaging.

By Stephen Clark, Account Executive