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Creating a website for your nonprofit can be an intimidating, lengthy, and often expensive process.

But it doesn’t have to be.

In this article, I’m going to break down my step-by-step process for building a beautifully designed WordPress website, regardless of your budget.

I’ll also share examples of the best nonprofit websites on the web along with how they’re leveraging WordPress to make an impact.

Before we dive in let’s first explain the value a website can bring to capturing donations online and spreading awareness to your mission.

Why Nonprofits Need A Website In 2019

What’s the first thing a potential donor, member, or volunteer does before they take an action?

According to recent survey data, over 70% of people say they research an organization online.

And that makes sense.

People are, and should be, cautious of how their gifts are used. This is especially true with the recent scandals surrounding the nonprofit community.

Ultimately, donors want to be engaged and feel valued in the contributions they’re making to an organization and a website is the perfect opportunity to display that information.

Nonprofits Leveraging Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is is the process of increasing your website’s visibility in search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo) with the goal of appearing on the first page of results for a any combination of keywords. Nonprofit’s use SEO as a method to distribute their content and drive visitors to their website through organic search. Take a look at the phrase “where to donate furniture.”

Wider Circle, The Salvation Army, and links to other nonprofit organizations appear all over the search engine page results (SERPs). But, it get’s better. According to Ahrefs, a popular SEO tool that tracks keyword search volume, among other digital marketing metrics, shows that the search term receives over 2,000 monthly searches. In other words, SEO is an alternative marketing distribution channel to social media or online advertising that nonprofits are leveraging to drive real results.

A Website Helps Integrate Your Digital Marketing Campaigns

One mistake nonprofits often make when diving into digital marketing is their siloed approach. In other words, investments may be made into social media while SEO or paid advertising are neglected. The truth is that the best way to get your message out into the digital world is by integrating your marketing activities. A website serves as a hub for these activities, thereby centralizing traffic to a single page or a series of pages that drive results in the form of conversions (newsletter subscriptions, event signups, or donations). As an example, if you want to run Google and Facebook advertising campaigns using remarketing or custom audiences, you’ll need a website to capture visitor data to serve ads to potential donors, members, or volunteers.

Websites Provide Control Over Your Content

Unlike social media, you have full control of how your content is displayed and distributed to visitors on your website. You’re also not subject to shifts in the platform’s algorithm changes.

For example, algorithms adhere to community guidelines and can block people from viewing your posts if they feel like there has been a violation.

Of course, algorithms aren’t perfect and sometimes they block genuine posts. In a recent consultation request, the prospect was eager to promote an upcoming golf tournament to raise funds. Unfortunately, their campaigns on Facebook were marked as political despite the organization’s focus on veterans.

Why WordPress For Nonprofits?

WordPress is free to install, deploy, and upgrade and with thousands of plugins and templates to choose from it offers a flexible and simple interface.

WordPress is also the most popular content management system (CMS), with over 33% of all websites using it to store, update, and deliver content.

WordPress Is Cost Effective

WordPress is extremely cost effective. Hiring a website designer and developer to create a custom site using Drupal or Ruby on Rails can easily run you $25,000 – $50,000 and take months to develop. In contrast, if you’re creating a WordPress website yourself the startup costs can be as low as $500 or free if you’re using a basic template hosted on a WordPress.com domain. The downside to this approach is the time investment and learning curve required to build the website. However, if you’re hiring a WordPress website design company then you can expect the costs to be around $3,000 – $15,000+ depending on the size of the site, the number of custom designs, and the required functionality.

WordPress Is Easy To Administer

One of the greatest strengths of WordPress is that it requires little to no coding skills (HTML, CSS, Javascript). This dramatically reduces the workload required to administer content changes and other miscellaneous platform management. For example, adding a new post in WordPress can be done with a single click of a button. Like any new platform you will have to familiarize yourself with the layout. But even the least technically savvy individuals will find WordPress to be intuitive and easy to manage.

WordPress Vs. Drag And Drop Website Builders

While drag and drop website builders like Wix or Squarespace are appealing, they have significant challenges with showing up in the search results. They also deploy sneaky “SEO packages” designed to make you spend money while convincing you that you’re getting any kind of value in return.

Wix.com Official 2019 Big Game Ad with Karlie Kloss - YouTube

According to Wix’s Superbowl commercial in 2019: “Wix’s SEOwiz helps you grab those top search results.” Any SEO professional worth their salt will tell you that there’s no quick fix solution to ranking your website and no slick tool will give you the advantage you’re hoping for. Despite the company’s aggressive advertising campaigns the backlash from the SEO community continues to be an issue with many recommending WordPress as their go-to platform to get results.

Examples Of The Best Nonprofit Website Designs

An effective nonprofit website should act as a tool to create excitement around a cause and to generate continued support. There are many answers to the question “what should a nonprofit website include?” It can differ for each organization’s goals, both from a user experience and marketing standpoint.

  • https://www.one.org/us/

The site uses a very clean design style. The “Take Action” link in the navigation menu allows visitors to get involved. Information about the organization and its purpose can be easily found on the “About ONE” and “The Issues” pages.

  • https://www.thorn.org/

Thorn is a global nonprofit organization that tackles the growing problem of child trafficking and sexual exploitation. Because their work addresses such difficult subject matter, Thorn goes to great lengths to make their website inviting for all users. Whether you’re looking for the latest research data or interested in donating to support their work. Thorn’s website is structured around sharing educational material about child sexual exploitation on the internet while providing tools to companies and law enforcement offices to help identify child sex abuse images. In order to tell the story of their beneficiaries, Thorn pairs emotional images and videos of children at play to make it simple for users to get up to speed about the realities of modern child exploitation. Our favorite feature? When you transition from page to page on Thorn’s website, they use smooth text and graphic animations. This helps make browsing the site feel seamless, and helps users navigate from page to page more quickly.

  • https://www.directrelief.org/

Direct Relief is an organization with the mission to “improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest.” The nonprofit’s website clearly states its mission and ways to donate and volunteer above the fold and also shows a feed of current news about the organization.

Select A Managed WordPress Website Hosting Provider

  • Find a managed WordPress hosting provider. They have servers built to specifically run WordPress websites. Other providers that run multiple site (Jummla, Druple, etc) require multiple programs to run on a general website server, which will impact performance.
  • Note: I am not affiliated in any way with the following hosting providers. I’m simply sharing my experience with testing over a dozen WordPress hosting providers.


  • WPengine is by far the best choice on the market, in my opinion. However, it’s not the most cost-effective. Plus, as traffic grows you need to be wary of unexpected costs. Pay attention to the plan level as you will be billed if you go over your monthly traffic limit. This is my biggest grip as there’s no real way to tell what a unique visitor is. For example, if you’re brtowsing a site on your phone while traveling and then the connection switches to a different cell tower, then there’s no possible way for any one tool to know whether or not that’s the same visitor.


  • Bluehost is a great budget alternative with responsive chat support, but you don’t get a lot of bang for you buck like a built in CDN, etc.

Partner With A WordPress Vendor

  • I recommend a dedicated parter as you don’t technically own your website.
  • Create an agreement that addresses the ownership of the content, trademarks, and other web assets.
  • These partners often offer monthly maintenance, support (patching/plugin updates), and content management where as most website hosting providers do not.
  • Finally, you may also wish to engage with a digital marketing agency or someone who has experience with search engine optimization (SEO) to create your website. As mentioned, the Wix “SEO packages” aren’t really that great and all in one plugins only go so far. These will not be enough of an investment to get the kind of results you may be expecting.

WordPress Website Design On A Budget

  • Pre-built WordPress theme

Nonprofit WordPress Themes And Website Templates

  • Themeforest (find 2 others and bullet) Purchase + may need to buy plugin support or licensing. WpBakery etc.
  • Top WordPress themes for nonprofits
  • Test site speed & mobile views
  • Understand the site features – not everything will be out of the box

Importing Your WordPress Theme

  • Import theme and theme child

WordPress Plugins And Website Functionality

  • Load theme plugins that you NEED
  • here’s a list of helpful plugins to get started

Plugin Maintenance Is Essential

  • Buyer beware (plugin bloat will slow down your site, even if you have them deactivated.
  • Always update your plugins and WordPress site to the latest version. Since WordPress is so popular it makes it vulnerable to a security breah
The WordPress Website Design Process Effective Website Design Principals For Nonprofits

Before we dive into designing your website I think it’s first important to discuss a few key principals that will help to make your website stand out. https://npengage.com/nonprofit-marketing/best-nonprofit-websites/ https://www.classy.org/blog/heres-what-you-need-to-build-a-great-nonprofit-website-includes-examples/

  1. Every pixel has a purpose
  2. Design is audience centric
  3. Less is more
  4. Improves brand identity
  5. Make your purpose obvious
  6. Content movies audience
Determine The Site Architecture Customizing Your Website Pages
  • Create graphics for icons and other pages to be consistent with your brand and its strategy
How Long Will It Take To Create A WordPress Website?
  • Depending on the complexity of the site you can expect the website design process to take 4-6 weeks.
  • Factors include total number of pages, the number of customized designs, and how long it takes for you to get content to the developers
WordPress Development And Back-End Access
  • Back-end access to your WordPress site
  • FileZilla – SFTP (secure file transfer protocol) is the technical term for saying you’re accessing the server where your website is hosted from your computer.
  • Shouldn’t need to access often; but a good alternative to plugins for certain tasks – .hataccess, updating robots.txt files, adding markup to pages
  • Always backup your website or coyp files that you intend to edit before making changes. Even a semi-colon in the wrong place can easily break the site causing down time
Website Implementation
  • You may already have a website
  • Make sure you’re properly

A WordPress website is the perfect solution for nonprofits who are on a tight budget. The ease of use

The post How To Create A WordPress Website For Nonprofits On A Budget appeared first on Nonprofits Source.

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According to The New York Times, we are now officially entering a “post-text world” as a society.

In short, this means that the written content is going out of fashion and is no longer the dominant form of communication.

Types Of Video Content
  1. Explainer Videos – Share Your Mission
  2. “Meet The Team” Videos – Share Your Values
  3. “Behind The Scenes” Videos – Pull Back The Curtain For The Audience
  4. Testimonial Videos – Show Your Nonprofit’s Impact
  5. Interview Videos – Build Trust and Authority
  6. Personalized Video Emails – Take The Time To Inspire Action

Multimedia has already dominated virtually every form of communication that you can think of.

To put it another way, using actual writing to share your nonprofit’s story and its mission with your audience is falling out of style.

Because of that, businesses, brands and nonprofits alike need to turn their attention to that which is lurking just over the horizon – a video marketing strategy.

Not a year from now, not next week. Today. Now.

In truth, the popularity of video marketing is nothing new.

What has changed over the last few years, however, is just how important video has become.

Online video content is no longer “just another piece” of your overall content marketing plan.

It can no longer remain as “a channel to focus on when it is convenient for you.”

Online video content is your content marketing plan – or at least, it’s a central point of your efforts, especially for your social media content actions.

Building A Better Online Video Content Strategy

Before we actually get into the types of video content that you can use, I first recommend identifying what you want those videos to accomplish in the first place.

Only by understanding what you’re trying to do in a specific sense will you be able to also pinpoint exactly how you need to do it.

Generally speaking, there are three main categories of videos to be aware of, each with their own unique objectives:

Awareness Videos

Awareness videos aim to accomplish exactly what it sounds like – they’re how you “announce” the presence of your nonprofit to the world.

You’re not necessarily trying to get someone to donate just yet.

Instead, you’re trying to let people know who you are, what you’re all about and, critically, why they should be paying attention.

Engagement Videos

Engagement videos are how you take things to the next level, motivating people to actually interact with your nonprofit or larger brand.

These types of engaging videos can involve motivating people to donate money, or even their time, to help further your efforts.

Education Videos

Education videos are a bit like awareness videos, but they’re more singularly focused.

These are your chance to allow people to learn and understand certain topics that are important to you.

You could shed light on breaking news events that are relevant to your nonprofit, or highlight certain issues that are important.

In any event, people should walk away with knowledge they didn’t have before – and they should consider you an authority on the subject matter, too.

Now that you have a clear idea about your goals and the different types of video content you can leverage, let’s dive into specific videos that you can use to boost your visibility and reach.

1. Explainer Videos – Share Your Mission

As the name suggests (and as partially outlined above), explainer videos are a great opportunity to introduce your nonprofit to the world. Here, you’ll be focusing on two core elements:

  • Your mission: what it is, and why it’s so important to you.
  • Your goal: What type of impact you hope to make on the world.

Take this video from an adolescent health nonprofit advocating on behalf of kids in Jamaica, for example.

By the end of it, you’ll know exactly what they do – and why an organization like theirs is desperately needed:

UNICEF: Adolescent Health nonprofit explainer video - YouTube

You might think that explainer videos are expensive to produce, and you might need a professional team, to put together an over-the-top video.

But in truth, creating explainer videos doesn’t have to be more complicated than just putting together a few slides in Powerpoint.

This type of video content is extremely powerful and useful.

You can use them virtually everywhere, and repurpose them for all your marketing goals, whether that’s more engagement on social media, or more conversions on your homepage!

Explainer videos are usually 30-90 seconds long, which translates into a script of around 150 to 200 words.

2. “Meet The Team” Videos – Share Your Values

Meet the Team videos are a perfect opportunity to not only share your values with your audience, but to also put a face to the people helping with your cause to spread those values far and wide.

Eventbrite isn’t exactly a nonprofit, but they do have a perfect “Meet the Team” video that you can get some inspiration from.

It showcases their organization in an intimate way and also puts some flavor and personality on display at the same time:

Meet the Eventbrite Team - YouTube

This type of video content can do wonders for your nonprofit.

Not only can it give other people a sense of your organization’s values, and mission, but it can also entice others to join your cause.

3. “Behind The Scenes” Videos – Pull Back The Curtain For The Audience

Everyone loves a good “behind the scenes” story, and your nonprofit audience members are no different.

This again is a way to showcase some of your nonprofit’s personality, but in a slightly more intimate and “less polished” way.

This video from the Seattle nonprofit film studio Knock Studios illustrates this quite nicely, as you get an inside look into the types of things they do when not furthering their mission – like having meetings with peanut butter cookies.

Behind the Scenes at Knok Studio - Seattle nonprofit film studio - YouTube

BTS (behind-the-scenes) videos are great for social media engagement, they’re also easy to produce.

So next time you have a gathering or an event, this is a great chance for you to take your audience behind the scene!

4. Testimonial Videos – Show Your Nonprofit’s Impact

Testimonial videos are always effective, in part, because they’re so emotional.

It’s one thing to write a thousand words about your nonprofit’s impact on your community.

It’s another thing entirely to let some of those community members tell their own story.

People can see the look on their face and feel the emotion in their voice, thus making the point better than words alone ever could.

To get a sense of this type of video content, look to the following nonprofit with the people at Robin Hood Foundation:

5. Interview Videos – Build Trust and Authority

Interview videos are great for your nonprofit because they accomplish two goals at the same time.

First, you get to further educate your audience about important topics that matter – and you also get to establish yourself as an authority (and thus build a terrific degree of trust) while you do it.

Take this interview from nonprofit AARP with actor Danny Trejo, where he talks about being sober for 46 years and giving back to his community.

Not only is the interview itself naturally compelling – but it’s also intimate in a way that helps further your understanding of what AARP actually does.

Danny Trejo: Sober 46 Years and Giving Back - YouTube
6. Personalized Video Emails – Take The Time To Inspire Action

Personalize video emails are great because they don’t just inspire someone to take action by volunteering or donating – they’re also your chance to SHOW someone how much they truly mean to you.

The sheer fact that you took a few minutes to record a video for one person, in particular, will absolutely be appreciated – and it will again help put a face to the larger nonprofit you represent and its efforts.

While the following example isn’t personal in that it uses someone’s name, it does wonderfully illustrate the target you should be trying to hit:

Nonprofit Thank You Video HD - YouTube
How To Get Started With Video Marketing On A Budget

Now that you’re well-versed in the types of video-on-demand content that you need to take your nonprofit to the next level, you can begin to think about how you’re going to take your vision for that content and bring it into reality.

The most important thing for you to understand is that you do not need access to a massive marketing budget in order to be successful.

If you want to learn how to make a great YouTube video, for example, just head over to YouTube and check out some of today’s top pieces.

The site is filled with captivating, engaging content made by “amateur” creators – many on a shoestring budget without a single piece of “professional” equipment to their name.

Yours will likely be more professional than the latest comedy sketch created by a comedian in his college dorm room – but the point still stands.

It’s possible to do this, and it’s a lot easier than you might think.

First, know that if you happen to own a recent iPhone or some other smartphone of similar quality, you already have access to a camera that shoots video in 4K resolution.

The iPhone, in particular, has been capable of this for a few years.

Use resources like this one to get an overview of the basic equipment you’ll need to start shooting video content – lights, sound equipment, etc.

See how many of these you can rent inexpensively instead of purchasing from local equipment houses in your area.

Most computers already come with nonlinear video editing suites built in at the time of purchase – Apple computers have iMovie, for example.

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on an Avid to edit a video with the sleek sophistication of a larger international brand – you just need patience, time, and a basic understanding of how these (again, totally free) utilities work.

At that point, all you have to do is create the content itself – which again, isn’t nearly as difficult (or expensive) as you’re probably assuming.

Just remember the age-old rule of filmmaking:

You can only pick two of the following qualities – cheap, fast, and good.

You can have “fast” and “good,” but it isn’t going to be cheap.

You can have “fast” and “cheap,” but it isn’t going to be good.

Instead, shoot for “cheap” and “good” and know that the process will take however long it needs to and not a moment sooner.

So long as you understand and accept that, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.

Related Articles:

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There’s been a lot of talk recently about the $1.80 strategy on LinkedIn, most notably from Gary Vaynerchuk.

If you’re skeptical don’t be because the strategy works. I wrote an article back in 2018 on how I was leveraging the “what people are talking about now” section of LinkedIn before it started being hand curated by LinkedIn Editors.

This tactic still works today, but it’s not nearly as effective as it once was. I suspect there are already forces at play that are trying to limit your reach. Further, Rand Fishkin shared a recent study of business engagement rates on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Guess what? The organic reach is awful and the engagement rates for businesses have fallen from 10% at its height to an abysmal 0.09% across all industries in 2019 on Facebook alone.

What Does This Mean For Your LinkedIn Marketing Strateg?

As a result, more and more brands will start moving to LinkedIn for their marketing needs because there is no platform that compares to the organic reach and engagement you receive. Advertising on LinkedIn is expensive in my opinion so strike the iron while it’s still hot!

If you’re looking to crush LinkedIn marketing in 2019then consider these 5 tips:

1. Check Out Your LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI)

LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index is one of the few metrics I think is worth obsessing over. The index is a daily snapshot of your profile’s strength as it compares to other people in your industry and those in your network.

The 4 dimensions include establishing a professional brand, connecting with the right people, engaging with insights (this one is the most important), and building relationships. My advice is to identify where your profiles greatest weaknesses are and start building up your score. At the very least this will give you a benchmark to reference your progress.

2. Engage With Like-Minded Professionals

This one is obvious, but I’m surprised at how many people miss the mark. If you want people to take you seriously on LinkedIn then you need to be active on the platform. This means commenting, liking and sharing DAILY. You should also consider planning a formal content strategy for posting 2-3 articles per week.

Here’s the real hurdle, though:

Not only do you need to be active on LinkedIn, but you need to provide thoughtful insight that starts, adds to, or continues a conversation.

People who “get” you will be more than willing to advocate on behalf of your ideas.

Shutout to Ruthie Bowles who is my new favorite human on LinkedIn 

The real key here is that you shouldn’t be trying to send your message to everyone. Find people who like what you have to say and double down your efforts and attention on them. You’d be surprised at how impactful even the smallest of niches can be on your personal brand or business.

3. Build A Network Of People Who Are Relevant To Your Industry

Another obvious one but again people are not leveraging LinkedIn to it’s fullest potential and as a result they’re losing out on a ton of opportunity.

One tactic I like to use is connecting with 2nd degree contacts with very specific job titles or keywords related to an industry I’m trying to target. For example, take the phrase “nonprofit marketing” which has over 800,000 search results when filtered by people.

Next, click the filter tab and start narrowing your audience. There’s a lot of trial and error involved in finding the right filters. I strongly recommend creating a spreadsheet to track your progress.

If you have an influential 1st degree connection *cough* Allen Gannett *cough* then try filtering by “connections of.” This may give more weight in whether or not someone chooses to accept your request.

If you’re into meeting connections offline you may also want to filter by location.

The last criteria I look for before I even think about sending a connection request is how active they are on LinkedIn. There are a few ways to do this.

  1. Only connect with people who have 500+ connections
  2. Look for people who have complete profiles aka All Star
  3. Must have had ANY activity in the last 3 days
  4. Review their “Skills & Endorsements”
  5. See how many people gave them a recommendation
The Outreach

Even after you’ve narrowed down your ideal audience it’s still not enough to just click the connect button. You want to personalize your request with a message that demonstrates how connecting with you will bring value.

I’ll be upfront in saying I’m not a huge fan of templates because I believe in ultra personalizing your request, but after doing some testing I found this one to have a > 50% connection success rate:

“Hi [Name],

I came across your profile because I’m looking to connect with like-minded [Industry] professionals. I’m genuinely interested in engaging on LinkedIn, so you won’t get a sales pitch or automated message from me 

Look forward to connecting!



Lastly, ALWAYS respond to messages. You never know where a connection might lead.

Shout out to my new friend Eke 

4. Invest In Search Engine Optimization (SEO) On LinkedIn

If you’ve ever wanted to increase your “weekly search stats” on LinkedIn then investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) might be a good place to start.

Just like Google, LinkedIn has a search feature that relies on keywords and phrases to rank your profile and content in search results. I haven’t done too much digging into this arena yet, but I suspect back links also play a factor.

Just imagine what it could mean for your personal brand or business if your profile (or your employee’s profile) were at the top of commercial intent keywords. Or, if you’re looking for a new opportunity, then ranking for keywords in your industry or the job title itself could actually land you in your dream job.

Personally, I’ve received more job offers in the last two weeks of being active on LinkedIn then when I was actually searching for new opportunities.

If you’re interested in a LinkedIn SEO crash course then the video below from SEMrush is a good place to start.

How to do LinkedIn Lead Generation with a $0 Budget - YouTube
5. Stop The “Cold Calling”

I won’t speak too much on this one other then to say cut this shit out. Half the time they dive right into the sales pitch (which are often automated by bots) and the connection rarely contributes any value.

It’s a short-term gain that sacrifices any future potential relationship on LinkedIn. My advice is to just be nice and call it a day. No need to bring that frustration into your life. /rant


The $1.80 strategy works on LinkedIn, but only if you’re genuinely interested in connecting and building your followership. You may not get a sale or lead today, tomorrow, or even 6-months from now. But, I’ve been surprised in many unexpected ways at how impactful this strategy can be.

I truly hope this helps you crush LinkedIn marketing in 2019!

What are your thoughts? Do you have a success story you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Related Articles:

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In the first chapter of this guide, we showed how having a digital plan is essential to building an online brand.

In chapter 2, we’re going to break down a content marketing strategy that will:

  1. Build topic authority and trust for search engine rankings
  2. Research existing keyword opportunities
  3. Leverage competitor insight to make data-backed marketing decisions
  4. Map content to keywords for big SEO wins

I’ll also show you how to use free and paid marketing tools to maximize your impact.

Digital Marketing Plan Chapters
Creating A Content Marketing Strategy

My approach to content marketing is to inform, educate and convert visitors into leads.

A lead on this site is an email address and the mechanism used to convert that visitor is a content upgrade (the digital marketing plan template above).

For this content strategy to work we’re going to be leveraging search traffic.

In other words, traffic that comes to your site from search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

If you’re interested in learn some of the benefits of SEO then jump to the next chapter.

For now, let’s dive into how topic clusters aid in distributing your content online.

1. Identify Topic Clusters

SEO is constantly evolving, which makes it tough to keep up with the latest marketing trends.

In the past, releasing updates required a manual launch date to roll out significant changes to Google’s algorithm:

Some of that changed in 2015 with the launch of Rankbrain, Google’s machine learning artificial intelligence system, which helps process its search results.

This means Google is now making changes to their algorithm in near real-time.

Marketers, in turn, need to adapt their digital strategies to these changes if they want their content to be found online.

Recent research from HubSpot suggests a solution.

In their article, they say search engines are encouraging marketers to create content that focuses on topics over keywords.

The goal here is to build authority and trust online by positioning your website as a subject matter expert:

Topic Clusters

By interlinking your pages you’re helping search engines better understand how to crawl and rank your site.

It’s that simple.

Without internal links your content becomes isolated from the rest of your site:

This isolation runs into issues of publishing pages and articles that cover similar topics.

When that happens your pages fight against each other in search results minimizing the reach of your content.

But what HubSpot found next is what really piqued my interest:

After adding internal links to older posts on their website they saw a noticeable boost in search rankings.

They didn’t stop there.

HubSpot restructured their entire website around multiple topic clusters all of which linked out to related content:

If your site s built on WordPress then I recommend checking out the Yoast SEO plugin as it has a feature to suggest articles or pages that you should link out to.

It also keeps track of how many internal links each of your pages have.

Next, we’re going to take a look at the heart of each topic cluster, also known as cornerstone content.

2. Create Cornerstone Content

Cornerstone content is a specific article or page on your site that you want to rank in search results.

They typically cover a broad topic that then links out to a number of sub-topics.

In turn, your cornerstone page builds authority and trust on that given topic.

In this case, the cornerstone content, “Healthy Heart,” links out to related topics to reinforce topic authority.

When you use internal links to relevant pages or posts from your cornerstone content (and vice versa from related articles to cornerstone content) you begin to spread topic authority.

For example, when Google crawls this article and follows a link to my digital marketing plan post, Google will take those related topics and keywords into consideration.

While my focus keyword is, digital marketing plan, I can still rank for the phrase, digital marketing strategy, even if I am not targeting the phrase with on page SEO.

One tool I’ve found to help with topic relevance is actually provided free by Google.

It’s called the Data Highlighter tool and it can be found in your Google Search Console.

There are 6 areas to highlight including:

  1. Title
  2. Category
  3. Author
  4. Date published
  5. Image
  6. Ratings.

Here I’ve taken my cornerstone content and labeled the category, Digital Marketing Plan, to tell Google the topic of this article.

Likewise, I will use the same category in the data highlighter tool for all chapters of this guide.

It’s also helpful for searchers and by extension your search traffic.

Take a look at how the search results appear for crisp spring roll recipes:

Which one would you be most likely to click on? Chances are it’s the one with 19 reviews and a 3.5 rating.

You also have the option to create custom highlights in case the words on the page are not visible.

That’s what I had to do for my main post page:

The next part of the framework shifts from content strategy and into keyword research.

Here we’ll be looking at how to integrate your content around SEO to get ranked in search results.

3. Evaluate Current Keyword Ranking Opportunities

Before diving into new keywords you want to first evaluate your current rankings to uncover opportunities.

To do this, start by analyzing your search analytics in Google Search Console.

You’ll need to connect your search console with Google Analytics to collect and populate this data.

Once you’re in the search analytics tab scroll to the bottom of the page to download a .CSV file of the list:

Your focus here is to filter out existing keywords and phrases that rank within the top 50.

If you have thousands of keywords then it may be easier to filter by the top 30 or 20.

Alternatively, you can choose to only target keywords that are relevant to a specific topic you want to rank for.

Regardless of the criteria, you’ve set the next step is to use a keyword analyzer tool like Moz or Ahrefs.

These are paid tools but they do have free trial options available.

Moz, in particular, has a 30-day no-risk trial that provides use of all their analytics tools.

The goal here is to get a graphical understanding of keyword difficulty:

Keyword difficulty looks at the top 10 page results for a given keyword, analyzes their metrics, and then calculates a score based on a weighted average.

Every keyword tool works a little differently in how they calculate difficulty, but that’s the general idea.

What’s most important is to identify a range of difficulty that your site is capable of ranking for.

Data collected from Ahrefs

The picture above shows the difficulty distribution of keywords in my Google Search Console.

As you can see, the majority of keywords that I rank for have a relatively easy difficulty (0-20).

This tells me that if I want to rank my website on Google then I need to target easier keywords first.

Just because a keyword or phrase has an easy difficulty doesn’t mean it can’t drive a significant amount of traffic to your site.

When I combine the top 49 keywords my site ranks for it adds up to over 3,000 organic searches per month:

Data collected from Ahrefs

The point of the research is this:

If your site ranks on the first page for a keyword with a difficulty of 35, then you should be okay ranking for words of similar difficulty.

Likewise, you may want to avoid phrases that are out of your reach.

In my case, the keyword, digital marketing, is twice as difficult as my average rankings:

Data collected from SpyFu

Note: Keyword difficulty should only be used as a guideline. Some of the biggest marketing mistakes come from over-relying on tools and data to make decisions.

Just because the difficulty of a phrase is lower than the average you rank for does not mean you’ll dominate search results.

Remember, Google takes into account topic authority.

It wouldn’t make sense for me to rank my website on the topic of healthy hearts (even if the phrase is a difficulty of 13) because I have not established authority.

We can take keyword research one step further by reverse engineering first page results of competing websites.

4. Spy On Competitor Keywords

According to a study by Advanced Web Ranking, the top five results in Google account for 67.60% of all clicks:

So how do you rank your pages on the top of the first page to get those clicks?

I’ve found reverse engineering competitors rankings to work extremely well.

Here’s my approach:

  • Analyze backlink profiles and organic search volume
  • Look for gaps to create unique content
  • Check on page SEO to see if they follow best practices
  • Research content sharability (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc)

First, Google your target keyword and copy the top 10 URLs into a spreadsheet.

Next, use a marketing analytics tool like Moz, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to dive into the site metrics.

Here I’ve analyzed the website in the first position for the term nonprofit marketing plan using Ahrefs:

The page has a healthy backlink profile from 68 different websites.

This tells me that it might be difficult to rank above this site unless I build a number of high-quality backlinks to my page.

However, when you take a more granular look at the phrase it appears to be relatively easy to rank for:

Despite the competition from the first position, I still have an opportunity to rank my site on the first page for this term.

I can also view how much organic traffic each keyword the page ranks for receives:

Next, I want to look for content gaps.

This requires reading competitor content to see if there are areas that you can:

  1. Expand upon sub-topics
  2. Improve or update for freshness
  3. Repurpose into a different medium (infographic, video, slide deck, etc)

In my case, I saw an opportunity to expand sub-topics as well as improve the overall value of the content.

My articles are also typically 2,000 words or more in length with detailed examples on how to apply the material learned.

While I’m reading through competitor content I also want to check their on page SEO.

Here you’re looking for areas in which your competitors are slacking to give your page a ranking..

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In today’s landscape of mobile and online technology, nonprofits are flooded with a large variety of choices for almost any solution they can think of.

This principle applies similarly to the event management and fundraising spaces.

In this article, we’re going to share:

  • Why nonprofits are investing in mobile giving to reach their fundraising goals.
  • Real use cases for how nonprofits are leveraging mobile fundraising platforms.
  • Actionable tips for getting the most of our your investment in mobile giving.
  • How to select a mobile fundraising or event ticketing platform.
  • The benefits of combining your event ticketing and fundraising needs under one platform.
Why Nonprofits Are Investing In Mobile Giving

Last year’s 23% growth in overall online fundraising shows a clear trend in how donors prefer to give.

It’s no secret then that nonprofits are shifting their fundraising strategies towards online campaigns to meet their financial and marketing goals.

Leading the pack is mobile giving, which accounts for 25% of all online donations made.

For those of you that are planning a fundraising event whether online or at a physical location, you may want to consider a mobile fundraising platform.

These platforms are designed to tackle specific fundraising events like:

  • Silent auctions and raffles.
  • Text-to-give donations.
  • Fund a need campaigns.
  • Online donation pages.

We’ve seen mobile and online fundraising options help nonprofit organizations raise additional funds when used to:

1. Reach A Larger Audience

Online and mobile fundraisers can be promoted on social media, online, and via email.

Now, your supporters can donate to your cause at any time, from anywhere (not only while at your event).

2. Provide A More Engaging Experience

Rather than writing down bids on a paper sheet and checking a bid every few minutes, users of mobile fundraising technology receive instant notifications when they have bid or submit a donation.

This engaging experience results in higher participation while still allowing your guests to focus on the message of your event.

3. Make The Donation Process Easier

Using mobile fundraising tools makes the donation process simpler and more accessible.

Supporters can donate from anywhere, at any time, through your online or text message–based fundraiser.

Furthermore, checkout can be done in seconds using credit card processing tools that are directly on your users’ mobile devices.

How Nonprofits Are Winning With Mobile Fundraising

As mentioned above, there are a ton of options for setting up a mobile fundraising campaign, whether it be through text to give donations or a direct ask via an online donation page.

In the next two sections, we’re going to show real use cases of how nonprofits are levering mobile giving to reach their fundraising goals.

Make-A-Wish Colorado: Silent Auctions And Raffles

Make-A-Wish Colorado has been using mobile fundraising technology to host their events since 2014.

The first use of the text to bid system was during their “Sporting Affair” event, where local celebrities, professional athlete and wish kids and their families come together to talk about the hope, strength, and joy received from a wish come true.

By allowing donors to place bids with their mobile device the pressure to win an item didn’t overshadow interactions with the celebrities, kids, or other guests.

As a result of implementing this system, Make-A-Wish Colorado saw a 45% increase in auction revenue when compared to last year.

Donors were no longer worried about being outbid, as a text alerted them so they could increase their bid.

This meant donors were able to spend more time enjoying the event than being bogged down by the auction.

It’s a simple concept, but it made a huge impact for Make-A-Wish Colorado in reaching their fundraising goals.

Over eight campaigns from 2014 through 2018, Make-A-Wish Colorado was able to raise nearly $771,000.

Puerto Rico Relief Fund: Mobile Donation Page

Whether you’re using a mobile fundraising platform or sending potential donors to your website you want to be sure you’re offering the best user experience possible.

This means your donation pages should be as easy to navigate, establish value to donors, and involve as little friction as possible.

Google.org recently launched a new campaign to support relief efforts in Puerto Rico in partnership with the Hispanic Federation and Mercy Corps.

In addition, they announced they would match up to $2 million in donations.

Needless to say, their mobile donation page is executed flawlessly.

When you first land on the page there is a clear call to action located in two places, an emotional headline informing users what the page is about, and a video describing why funds are needed:

As you scroll down the page, it tells donors exactly how the money will be used along with direct links to each nonprofit’s website:

They’ve also included an accordion style drop-down FAQ for people who may be considering a donation, but haven’t quite satisfied their hunt for information:

When a donor is ready to give they simply click on the donate button and input the amount they wish to give:

There’s no need to type in your contact information as Google will pull this from your Gmail account if you’re signed in or using the Chrome web browser.

However, if you do not wish to provide this information you can proceed using the Guest checkout option.

Once you’ve entered the amount you wish to give you’ll be prompted to enter in your credit card information:

The entire process is effortless and took 2 minutes to walk through with zero issues.

Likewise, the desktop page has a similar feel and experience to the mobile page eliminating potential friction in the donation process.

How To Select The Right Mobile Fundraising Platform

Now that the basics have been covered and you have a feel for how other organizations are leveraging mobile platforms it’s time to talk about how to select the right one.

It’s important to research certain criteria when selecting the right mobile or online fundraising provider for your nonprofit.

To get you started, we’ve included some of the guidelines below.

Product Offering Based On Your Fundraising Objective

Before you start diving into the research, try to spend some time with your team to agree on your fundraising objective and goals.

This will greatly influence the type of mobile fundraising solution you choose.

For example, are you trying to raise money at a specific fundraising event or gala?

If so, you may be interested in a mobile silent auction or raffle offering.

Or, are you focusing on making the general donation process easier for supporters of your organization?

In this case, you may be looking for a provider of online donation pages.

Of course, there are also many mobile fundraising solutions that provide a range of capabilities to support all of your needs, should you decide that you are interested in more than one functionality.

Functionality And Usability

Once your team has established fundraising goals and objectives, and have agreed on the tools you will pursue, it’s time to ensure that you select a platform with the features that you need.

Based on the tool you are interested in, you may be looking for different features.

Some common ones include:

Silent Auctions

  • Online Bidding & Text Message Bidding.
  • Outbid notifications / Winner notifications.
  • Credit Card Checkout.
  • Real-time updating pages.

Donation Pages & Text to Give

  • Easy donation process.
  • Credit card payments.
  • Customization.
  • Easily embedded on your existing website.

While this is a good place to start, the best way to make sure the mobile fundraising solution you are researching is adequate is by trying a demo.

Hopefully, the provider you are considering offers a free demo, allowing you to test out functionality and usability of the service – if so, we recommend that you take advantage of this to get a feel for the system.


As you would expect, pricing is always something that needs to be considered.

When thinking about mobile and online fundraising solutions, typical cost structures include some of the components below:

  • Flat fee per event/fundraising campaign.
  • Annual or monthly contract with multiple events allowed within the time period.
  • Percentage of fundraised taken as payment.

Depending on how often you plan on using your mobile fundraising provider, different cost structures will make more sense for you.

For example, if your organization only runs one major event each year, a flat fee per event will be the most affordable.

Customer Service

Finally, ensuring that your mobile fundraising platform offers exceptional customer service is key.

Whether it is before, during, or after your event, it is always reassuring to have access to support staff to help with any questions that you may have.

The best fundraising platforms will offer consistent 24/7 customer support, allowing you to reach a team member at any time – even at night, or on weekends during your event.

Choosing An Event Ticketing and Registration Platform

In order to the find an event ticketing or registration provider that fits your needs, we suggest considering the following criteria.

Pricing & Fees

When considering different ticketing options, make sure you do your homework understanding their pricing structure.

Common pricing formats for ticketing providers include charging a flat fee per ticket, charging a percentage per ticket, or both.

Be sure to research both the cost structure and the numbers or percentages behind each charge.

Additionally, try to find out if the vendor charges a credit card processing fee.

Finally, you will want to understand whether or not you can pass the ticketing fees onto your buyers, or must absorb them yourself – many vendors leave this option to you.


One of the most important criteria to consider, flexibility refers to the available options you may have when considering customization for your event.

Some of our favorite ways to customize an event and sell as many tickets a possible include:

  • Event page customization – Can you upload your own logos, messaging, and branding?
  • Ticket Customization – Can you create your own ticket types, inclusive of price, quantities, or dates?
  • Information Collected – What information can you ask from your buyers? Can you add your own custom questions in order to use that information in the future?
Day Of Event Functionality

On the day of your event, you will want to feel confident in having a reliable ticketing provider.

Here, your main concerns will be event check-in.

How does the provider you are researching handle event check-in?

Hopefully, they offer some type of ticket scanning ability, so that you can scan tickets (both paper and digital) quickly in order to keep lines moving.

Many providers will also have a guest lookup feature for those who may forget their tickets.

Finally, it may be worth researching to see if the ticketing provider you are considering offers an option to allow your staff to sell tickets at the door so that you don’t miss any last minute sales.

Customer Support

Finally, we suggest finding a ticketing or event registration provider with impeccable customer support.

Our preferred methods of communication our live chat, email, and phone chat, but it’s also important to understand availability.

Will a support staff be available during your event, even if it is at night or on a weekend?

These are some great questions to ask when deciding on a ticketing provider for your event.

Bringing It All Together

Most event hosts use one provider for event ticketing and another for mobile fundraising.

In my opinion, using multiple platforms creates additional work and confusion for both you and your guests.

For that reason, we recommend finding a platform that offers both event ticketing and mobile fundraising solutions.

Options with both capabilities will not only save you time with your event setup and organization but will create a seamless experience for your guests, allowing them to both purchase their tickets and donate to your cause in the same place.

Once a donor purchases a ticket, all of their information will be stored in the system, meaning they will not need to re-enter their information when placing a mobile bid or donating to your cause.

Furthermore, any of your guests that are already coming to your page to buy tickets can now seamlessly enter a donation on the same website, leading to increased donations and overall proceeds.

Zach Hagopian is the co-founder and COO at Accelevents, an event ticketing, and mobile fundraising platform. An active member in the Boston fundraising community, Zach spends time creating seamless event experiences for his clients. In his free time, he also organizes a 1,000+ person charity event in Boston each year.

The post How To Get Started With Mobile Giving To Reach Fundraising Goals appeared first on .

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According to industry research, 63% of marketers say generating traffic and leads to their website is their top marketing challenge.

Meanwhile, 40% say they struggle to prove the ROI of their digital marketing initiatives.

That’s why In this article I’ve put together a list of 5 practical reasons why digital marketing fails to get results with actionable solutions to move you towards success.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but rather an observation of industry trends along with my own experiences of trial and error.

Jump to a section below:

  1. Your Content Doesn’t Serve A Purpose
  2. Your Content Lacks Direction
  3. You Ask Too Much During Promotional Outreach
  4. You’re Focusing On The Wrong Outcomes
  5. You Don’t Have A Dedicated Project Manager
How To Measure Your Digital Marketing Results

Before we dive into the 5 reasons I believe people fail to get marketing results, I thought it might make sense to first demonstrate a few ways you can measure and track your performance.

One of the most difficult aspects of digital marketing is knowing whether or not your work is moving in the right direction.

Nothing is more frustrating than spending hours planning and implementing a strategy that takes you in the opposite direction:

Remember that email you sent but didn’t quite get the response you were hoping for or maybe the conversions were underwhelming?

How about hitting publish on what you thought was an amazing blog post, but instead it turned out to be a dud?

This is the part of marketing where you need dig deep, roll up your sleeves, and start asking:

Why and how can I do better?

Track Your Keyword Rankings

Content marketing and ranking on Google is a big part of my overall strategy to build the Nonprofits Source brand.

Of course, the question then becomes:

How do you know if the actions you’re taking are moving the needle in the right direction?

One way to do this is by tracking your keyword rankings and by extension the overall traffic coming to your site from that keyword.

Take a look at the phrase Charitable Giving Statistics:

Results as of July 3, 2018

Not only does our content appear at the top of the first page, but we also have a SERP feature that’s pulling relevant content (and an image) into the results.

Using Ahrefs’s rank tracker tool I am able to see exactly how well this keyword is performing down to the number of people who are visiting as a result of organic search:

I currently track over 300 keywords and monitor them on a regular basis, which equates to once or twice per week.

This helps me understand what users are searching for when they land on my site.

It also helps with future content production as I have a better understanding of what phrases and topics I should be going after.

Measuring Page Performance

Google Analytics is one of the most important tools in your arsenal as the platform feeds real-time data from your website into a user-friendly dashboard.

Continuing with the page above I can dive into the page level specifics over the last week to view its performance:

There are two main stats that jump out at me:

  1. Average time on page
  2. Bounce rate

First, people spend between 3 and 4 minutes on this page when they land on it.

This proves the page is relevant to my audience’s needs otherwise, that figure would be much lower.

Second, the bounce rate is quite high at about 80%.

This tells me that users who come to this page may be:

  • Uninterested in the rest of the content on my site.
  • Struggle to navigate to / are unaware of the other resources I provide.
  • Or, are only interested in the statistics at this time.
Understand User Behavior With Heat Maps And Page Recordings

When someone lands on your page and consumes your content do they find it useful?

It can be a difficult question to answer, but it’s arguably one of the most important factors in whether or not your content strategies will be successful.

One way to do this is through heat maps, click maps and recording user sessions on your page.

To do this I use a free third party software called Hotjar.

With this tool, I can track specific pages on my site that I want to test:

Below is a heat map experiment I ran for a week to test the relevancy of my page:

As you can see, the majority of people (about 60%) scroll halfway down the page.

Maybe they’re searching for a particular stat or they are spending time reading through the different statistics – it’s hard to know.

So then I ran an experiment using click maps to gain a better understanding of what parts of the page are most important to users:

Finally, I can bring it all together by recording user sessions:

Here I can view how users interact with my page as if I were standing right over their shoulder watching them do it:

It also provides information on actions, such as clicks, and it tracks visit history.

For example, someone who visits the statistics page may be more prone to visit our digital marketing plan page over our online fundraising ideas page.

Armed with this information I may choose to tailor my content to focus more on digital marketing and strategy over writing content related to fundraising.

1. Your Content Doesn’t Serve A Purpose

You have to know what you bring to the table that no one else does and leverage it appropriately in your content.

Are you trying to educate?

Drive awareness to your brand or cause?

Become an authoritative resource in your industry?

Answering these questions will help to guide your digital initiatives.

For example, let’s say your goal is to increase and maintain consistent traffic growth to your website.

One of the best ways to go about doing this is through content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).

From a search engines perspective, they want to rank content that is relevant and useful to satisfy the end user’s search experience.

What does that mean exactly?

Create Content That Solves A Problem

I like to include online donation statistics in my content to reinforce the idea that people are increasing charitable giving online.

But I would often run into an issue.

Anytime I needed to search for a statistic I had to sort through 30 pages, blog posts, PDFs, and forums to find them.

Needless to say, I spent more time researching references over writing the actual content.

So I came up with an idea.

Create a curation page for every online giving statistic – literally hundreds of stats that are categorized and easy to access:

Then the unexpected happened…

The page started getting search traffic and ranking for keywords:

As a result, this single page drives over 50% of my website’s organic search traffic per month.

However, ranking for a bunch of keywords and generating traffic does not necessarily mean the content is valuable.

One of the best ways to measure the value of content comes in the form of high-quality backlinks.

Backlinks are important because they are a recommendation of one site to another.

When you link out to a website in a blog post you’re providing supporting evidence to back a claim or enhance the depth of information your content may lack.

The site is, in effect, endorsing your content to their readers because they believe it is reliable and will benefit them.

In the last two months we’ve seen an increase of organic backlinks to this page, which explains most of the growth in search traffic:

In addition to boosting the rankings on the statistics page, other pages on my website began to rank higher in search results.

This is because link equity passes between internal links on your site.

So why was this page so popular?

Looking back it all makes sense to me, if I had issues researching statistics about online giving then chances are other people did too.

The takeaway here is that the content solves a problem while also providing a depth of information that was previously unavailable.

Moreover, other websites that use giving statistics in their content are willing to link back to my site as a reference because of its usefulness.

2. Your Content Lacks Direction

“Can you rank our website on the first page for [Insert keyword]?”

I see that phrase quite a lot.

The truth is digital marketing and SEO doesn’t really work like that.

As we saw above, content that serves a purpose is what Google tends to rank well.

That being said, Google also likes structure and patterns to help provide them with the context of your content.

To do this, you need to develop a content marketing strategy.

Develop A Content Marketing Strategy

First, make sure each piece of content is optimized to target a keyword or phrase.

This means developing topic clusters around keywords that are relevant to your audience but are not too competitive to rank for.

Second, once you have a keyword phrase in mind, type that phrase into Google and review the content of the first page results.

Here you’ll want to review each piece of content to determine:

  • The angle covered for each topic.
  • Content length and depth.
  • Use of multimedia (video/audio)
  • Additional linking resources.

Your goal here is to uncover the types of content that rank on the first page for your keyword and then ideally surpass its quality, or at least mirror it.

This is also known as the skyscraper technique, coined by Brian Dean of Backlinko, a well-known blogger and subject matter expert when it comes to ranking on Google..

Web scraping tools like Moz, Ahrefs, or SEMrush are also helpful in analyzing the backlink profile or social shares of each site.

This will give you an idea of how popular a page is and likewise how difficult it may be to rank your site against it.

Third, use Google Trends to analyze search popularity of the topic you’re writing about.

The dashboard shows a real-time visualization of how frequently people search a given phrase over time.

This is useful for researching the most relevant search phrases used in relation to the topics you write about.

Buzzsumo.com is a popular paid tool that works similar to Google Trends, but instead of analyzing search popularity it looks at social shares.

Fourth, write content that answers the related search/people also ask tabs in search results:

These questions are aggregated by Google because they are the most frequently searched terms related to a given keyword phrase.

Wouldn’t it then make sense to create content that answers questions that are being asked online?

3. You Ask Too Much During Promotional Outreach

It’s not enough to publish a piece of content and expect people to find it..

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Navigating through the digital landscape can be a little murky at times.

These channels are constantly evolving requiring you to keep pace with industry knowledge, insights, and best practices.

It requires hard work and continuous effort and adjustments to your plans if you want to be successful and that hard work will pay off.

According to a recent study, overall revenue from online fundraising grew by 23% in 2017, which marks 6 years of growth.

The trends are clear and adopting digital channels are no longer a choice, but a necessity for survival.

Online fundraising and digital marketing is a challenge, but with clear goals and these 5 fundraising tips and ideas I’m about to share with you will help steer you in the right direction.

1. Set Realistic Expectations For Online Fundraising

Be prepared for the sound of crickets, at least in the beginning.

Let me explain.

People won’t give you money for just showing up.

You need to do far more than blogging 200 words once a week or posting the occasional Facebook update if you want people to care about what you have to say.

You have to be prepared to constantly produce, engage and promoting content even if it’s for an audience of one.

Heck, it could even be your kid’s friend’s parents.

It doesn’t matter because every audience member counts.

At best case, you’re looking at a 6-12 month journey of grinding.

There will be extreme highs and extreme lows. Periods will come when no one is reading your content and pass quickly where you experience hockey stick growth reaching thousands of readers.

A realistic expectation, however, would be 18 months before you will start to see audience growth.

It’s not enough to just show up, you have to put in more effort than anyone else is willing to do. And that’s what frustrates me the most – people give up too soon.

It took me 1 1/2 years before I had built up enough credibility and authority online before I began to build an email list of subscribers:

You can’t expect to blog for 2 or 3 months and get tens of thousands of people to your site buckling at the opportunity to give you money.

A lot of people will fall into this category simply because they’re not willing to put in the work. It’s also hard to justify the amount of work required for little to zero ROI.

So, what does this mean for you?


Invest the time, learn from your mistakes, and focus on your audience.

If you’re willing to create something far better than anyone else is willing to put the work into that eventually, you will see traction.

2. It’s Really Not About The Money

The only reason to be investing in online fundraising and digital marketing is to make money, right?


You need to go into this new venture with the mindset that your investments will not be immediately recouped.

It’s not uncommon for email and content marketing efforts to take years before it matures in a way that it will drive meaningful traffic to convert on your website.

You can potentially speed things up with online or social advertising, but it’s not a sure thing.

Simply put, 10X more traffic to your website does not guarantee a 10X return.

In fact, a more realistic outcome of 10X traffic would be a 1.5X – 2.0X return.

Again, the money, at least initially, is not the focus.

It’s typically best to play the long-term game by delivering content that is meaningful and solves the problems of your audience.

Are you sensing a theme yet?

2018 is the year of being customer-centric.

At least that’s what the trends are showing.

The marketing software giant HubSpot recently released an article on how the traditional marketing funnel is a thing of the past.

Instead, they suggest focusing on a customer-centric experience will generate a better long-term opportunity and ROI.

Now that you’re in the right mindset for approaching online fundraising let’s dig into some of the actionable tips in this article.

3. Spend 6 Hours A Day On Social Media Promoting Content

Social media, to this date, still offers the most bang for your buck in terms of reach for the cost.

You can go down the route of spending money on advertising, which works and is far more effective than ANY other method online.

Or, you can spend hours tracking down and reaching out to people who fit your target market.

For example, to help promote a recent article, we reached out to social media influencers on Twitter and asked if they could provide an answer to the following question:

“What is the number one tip for nonprofits that want to build and develop an audience online?”

When then took their answers and created a simple graphic to share their quote on Twitter and to promote the page:

In addition, we added a clicktotweet to make sharing easy and more likely.

Tweet Julia’s quote!

In return for their time, each influencer received a do-follow link back to a site of their choosing, as well as exposure to over 1,000 nonprofit and association professionals in our network.

Not only were we able to tap into influencer audiences, but these comments also provide additional content for the page to help with search rankings.

It’s only been 2 months since the page has been published and it already ranks for over 160 keywords with a few on the first page:

Twitter is also a core part of this strategy to help promote the page.

Here’s how I did it:


Note: Do these activities every single day:

  • This is obvious, but for the sake of time management use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule your social media posts weeks in advance.
  • Respond to all notifications and messages as quickly as possible.
  • Get involved in relevant groups, chats, or forums and share your knowledge.
  • Research people within your industry and follow 100 accounts
    • Use hashtags to narrow down accounts (ex/ #DigitalMarketing, #Nonprofit, #Fundraising, #Marketing, Etc.)
    • Or, use focused searches like “nonprofit + marketing” and follow people who have tweeted about that topic in the past.
    • If very relevant (think niche within a niche) then consider pitching the piece of content after you’ve followed someone.
      • Note: No templates or cut and paste BS. These need to be honest and value-adding message otherwise it will be marked as SPAM and that person will never talk to you again.
Audience Building

Note: Semi routine (2-3 times per week) actions:

  • Engage with your audience using a second account (Ex/ personal or business account) and use both platforms to share and retweet work to amplify presence.
  • Share other people’s content regularly and more frequently than your own.
  • Reach out to people who engage with you (e.g. like, shared, replied, or mentioned) and offer them something for free.
  • When possible Direct Message (Email works fine too) people / businesses / organizations that link to your site thanking them. Then, share that page on your social channels and your email list. Finally, respond back showing the positive response you receive from the article and that you would be open to a collaboration project if one becomes available.
  • Reach out to people within your industry who are interested in content collaboration.
  • Amplify reach with a Twitter Promote. A $99/month subscription plan offered by Twitter to reach more people.

As a result, both of our Twitter pages have seen increased metrics across the board:

Keep doing this until you start to see traction. It may take months or a few weeks with a proper strategy.

Eventually, if you have something that’s worth the attention then you will grow your following.

Otherwise, go back to the drawing board and come up with reasons why your content didn’t perform as well as you had expected, make adjustments, and try again.

4. Optimize The Mobile Donation Experience

Google announced their Mobile First Index on November 4, 2016, meaning websites will soon be prioritized by their mobile version over it’s desktop version when choosing to deliver a search result.

The announcement wasn’t surprising, as many in the community had speculated mobile would play a big role in Google’s future web search strategies.

But, optimizing your pages for mobile can serve more than just an aesthetically pleasing experience for visitors.

Enter Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

CRO is the process of increasing the chances a person takes a favorable action on your site, such as submitting a form, making a donation, or volunteering their time.

A/B testing is a popular strategy used to test multiple variations of a page to narrow down the top converting one.

Optimizing your donation pages to create a consistent experience from the desktop version is okay, but it can definitely be improved upon.

For example, a lengthy form that takes 1-2 minutes to fill out on a mobile device causes too much friction for the user leading them to abandon the page before completing the form.

So how do you remove the friction? Simplify the entire process into as few steps as possible.

Here’s how I might approach it:

  1. Step 1: Collect contact information via Google, Facebook, or Twitter accounts.
  2. Step 2: Make it simple and effortless for donors to select their payment options.
  3. Step 3: Avoid asking credit card information by offering an online payment method like Paypal, Square, or Google Wallet.

You can then expand upon this by testing variations using different copy, color, fonts, graphics, and so on.

However, the donation process itself should be as uncomplicated as possible and should be understood at first glance.

5. Improve Engagement And Fundraising Results With A Live Chat

Live chats are a great way to engage with visitors by offering an instant way to answer their questions or assisting with issues.

A recent study also showed that when a website offered a live chat on their page they saw a noticeable improvement in overall service quality and a 24% increase in conversions.

Another benefit of adding a live chat to your site is to collect audience information.

Start by adding a chat bubble that pops up asking what types of content the visitor would be interested in reading more about.

Then, take that information and use it as a piece of pillar content through a series of guides or chapters.

Be sure to do your keyword research and identify if there is a need for your content by searching answers on Quora.

Finally, convert those chapters into a condensed eBook to give to your audience or offer as a gated piece of content.

Live chats are inexpensive starting at $20.00 per month and extremely easy to set up.

Each platform offers a wide selection of customizable features for you and your team as well as branding options for your organization’s logo.

As an alternative, Facebook chatbots can be used with similar results and is a great tool to leverage if your community is most receptive to that platform.


Steering your organization towards online fundraising success is no easy task.

Even when your pages have tons of traffic it won’t guarantee that it will convert into paying customers.

Marketing, in general, is all about experimenting and testing new ideas to see which provides the best results.

That means you will end up investing in strategies or tactics that will fail and that’s okay.

It also takes time, often 1-2 years, before seeing anything resembling results. But out of that failure and long-term investment comes learning and from that emerge new strategies and tactics.

In the end, you should be focusing all of your marketing and fundraising efforts on building your audience and serving their needs and interests above your own.

The post 5 Tips For Steering Your Organization Toward Online Fundraising appeared first on .

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In this link roundup, we’re looking at email marketing strategies for year-end fundraising success!

As nonprofits prepare for the giving season one tactic in every marketer’s toolkit is undoubtedly email marketing and it’s easy to see why.

The average one-time !

While this sounds great, the real question becomes:

Are you doing everything you can to maximize your investment into email marketing?

How Many Email Platforms Do You Use?

How many email platforms do you use?

It sounds like a silly question, but 46% of marketers say they use more than one email service provider (ESP).


Cost is one factor, but let’s be honest, paying $50.00 per month isn’t going to make or break anyone’s budget.

In fact, Mailchimp’s free plan let’s you send 12,000 emails per month for up to 2,000 subscribers.

The real case for multiple ESPs is that it provides a different IP address, which can prevent your emails from being marked as spam.

This is important because spam filters are responsible for an average loss of $15,000 per year, according to the Nonprofit Email Deliverability Study.

A word of caution if you go down this path:

It may be near impossible to measure and report on progress between cross platforms.

However, if you notice deliverability or response rates have declined but your email list is growing, it may be worth taking a look at other providers.

Grassroots Campaigning: How To Use Online Channels To Build Offline Support

When marketers discuss the impact of email marketing we often see the investment to ROI statistic.

That’s to say for every $1.00 spent on email marketing nonprofits see an average return of $44.00.

It’s one of the easiest and most direct ways to measure digital investments.

In fact, we found a simple  that does just that.All you have to do is plug in the relevant information and it will break down the effectiveness of your campaigns.

But what about engagement from your audience?

Or how about measuring the impact of brand awareness?

I’ll admit these are difficult to accurately measure but they are more influential than click throughs and open rates.

When you’re planning your fundraising strategies, consider how your emails channels may be affecting offline campaigns.

Fall Fundraisers Planning: Tips And Ideas To Get Ready For Fall

Planning is key to a successful marketing campaign.

Equally important is the need for your strategies and tactics to build off each other through a clear and consistent message across channels.

But where do you start?

Razoo answers this question by offering a step-by-step guide to fall fundraising.

When it comes to planning your email marketing strategies, data is your friend.

Take a look at the past 12 months of your most successful campaigns and then compare them against emails sent in previous years during the fall months.

Do you notice a pattern? Is your audience most receptive to certain headlines or promotional offers?

At the end of the day marketing is all trial and error, testing and comparing.

Find what works for you and then double down on that investment.

The Ultimate Email Marketing Cheat Sheet: Facts, Stats, And Actions

Need a refresher on email marketing statistics?

MarketingProfs has got you covered with their email marketing cheat sheet!

They’ve collected the latest industry data and pulled it together in this easy-to-digest infographic.

Whether you’re a seasoned email pro or trying to improve campaign effectiveness, this cheat sheet is for you:

7 Email Marketing Conversion Mistakes To Avoid

Understanding how and why people convert on your emails is important because it sets the tone of future campaigns.

This post offers insight on everything from A/B split testing headlines to really diving into conversion metrics.

However, one overlooked area in email marketing is the lead nurturing marketing process.

Lead nurturing campaigns have an amazing impact on the effectiveness of your emails.

They take your prospects down a logical pathway of informing, educating, and eventually asking for their support.

As it turns out, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases, have 10x higher response rates, and are 15%-20% more likely to be converted.

We found a helpful guide from Salesforce that goes in-depth on how to create a lead nurturing campaign that gets results.

Getting Started With Automated Email Marketing

Automation is the key to productivity, especially if you plan on implementing lead nurturing workflows.

We use Thrive Leads, which is connected to our MailChimp account, to automatically set email workflows for specific opt-ins.

For example, if you sign-up for our newsletter we send a series of automated emails from our digital marketing plan.

Depending on the platform you use, triggers can be set to guide people down the appropriate path.

The emergence of technology, specifically AI, will be a game changer for marketers as they free up more time to focus on strategy over the day-to-day administrative tasks.

How To Use Email Marketing To Explode Event Attendance?

Rallying people to attend your event can be a challenging task, especially if you’re trying to convince them to attend a multi-day conference.

Email marketing is an opportunity to take the lead nurturing idea and expand upon it.

What really draws people’s attention, and subsequently an action is deriving value from your event.

For example, are you providing in-depth training or education sessions?

If yes, then expand upon some of those ideas and publish a series of blog posts (or downloadable content) on what these sessions have to offer.

Use email marketing as a channel to inform and educate through content first before asking for sign-ups.

The Pick-Up Lines Of Email Marketing: How To Increase Open Rates In Just A Few Words

Have you ever wondered why your email campaigns flopped?

In this article, Business2Community explores three simple, yet proven ways to get people to open your emails.

These are basic suggestions, but even the simplest of ideas can be overlooked.

Of course, you know your audience better than anyone else.

If humor doesn’t appeal to them, then don’t try to force it.

In addition, open rates are not a predictor of success.

At the end of the day, your goal is to convert email copy into tangible results.

5 Things About Email Marketing Your Boss Will Want To Know

Reporting on results to leadership is an important aspect of marketing.

Proving the value your campaigns bring to the organization help to justify the investment and ultimately your position.

It also builds a case for investments in future initiatives as your channels mature.

In this article, the author breaks down 5 key areas your boss will want to know about the email marketing campaign you’ve planned:

  1. The Audience Is Correct
  2. The Format Is Engaging
  3. The Content Is Optimized And Segmented
  4. The Campaign Is Linked To The Rest Of The Marketing Strategy
  5. The Program Is Using Specific Metrics To Prove The Return

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Case studies of nonprofits winning at social media is an opportunity to see the strategies in action.

Here we take a look at how some of the top nonprofits are leveraging social platforms to get results (and how you can do the same).

Social Media Marketing Statistics

Want to know what platform you should be leveraging to maximize your impact?

We’ve put together a list of the most up-to-date stats on how nonprofits are using social media to make a difference.

Social Media Marketing Strategies

Let’s face it, there are a ton of resources online that claim to have the answers to your social media woes.

Often times this requires shifting through many useless articles in the hopes you’ll find one that will make an impact on your organization.

That’s why we’ve taken the guesswork out of the equation by curating only the best strategic marketing resources for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

Social Media Marketing Templates

Whether you need help planning a social media strategy, conducting a social media audit, or drafting reports to prove results to leadership, we’ve got you covered.

Our curated list of industry-leading templates is guaranteed to help with your next social media campaign.

Social Media Marketing Tools

Software development has exploded in the last 10 years giving way to an overwhelming number of free and paid social media tools.

Admittedly most tools are a waste of time and money, however, we’ve managed to track down a few exceptions to this rule and provide a brief overview of how nonprofits can leverage them to get results.


Guest Post Written By: Victoria Greene

It’s hard not to have a professional crush on a social media account when there are some organizations absolutely smashing it out there!

What’s more we’ve had our eye on a few nonprofits who are not only doing a great job at promoting themselves, but also their cause.

When you’re focusing on just one topic you’d think it would be easy to keep treading the same ground.

But these five nonprofits we have picked out keep finding new and innovative ways to spread their message.

We all could learn a thing or two from these guys!

1. American Red Cross

If there’s a nonprofit that has managed to strike the right balance between staying on-message and staying interesting, it’s the American Red Cross.

They’re running campaigns, such as the one to end home fires.

They use hashtags impeccably and they get involved in current events such as Black History Month, and National Love Your Pet Day.

It’s got to be said—their use of people to spread their message is what they do best.

As a huge, nationally-recognized nonprofit organization, it’s easy to become just a faceless machine.

They counteract this by telling the stories of people both past and present who have connections with the American Red Cross.

Whether it’s aid workers, blood donors or people who have been helped by the American Red Cross, they make everyone feel welcome and appreciated.

What We Can Learn

People like hearing about people, and you can use this to your advantage.

Don’t be afraid to share people’s stories because it will make your organization feel a lot more friendly and open.

2. Neverthirst

Here’s a lesser-known nonprofit who are making a big difference.

They’re cleaning up the world’s drinking water, providing solutions for countless communities in order to help them get access to hygienic drinking water.

Neverthirst is doing a fantastic job on Instagram—they’ve got down to the core of their operation and used it to their advantage: before and after.

Neverthirst share pictures showing communities before they had access to clean water, what their facilities were and the state of the water.

Then they show what it is like now.

You can see happy people with clean water, proper facilities and the wonderful clear water they can now drink.

What We Can Learn

Before and after shots aren’t just for weight loss companies and hairdressers.

A good before and after will show how your organization is making real change.

3. Make-A-Wish America

Everyone has heard of the Make-A-Wish Foundation—the romantic nature of granting sick children their wishes can touch even the coldest of hearts.

They’ve been mentioned in television shows and movies since their conception.

However having been in the public eye for so long it can be hard to stay relevant.

Like the American Red Cross, they know how to use personal stories to promote their brand.

You’ll find plenty of pictures of children whose dreams have come true thanks to this nonprofit.

The way Make-A-Wish win at social media is through their Facebook account.

A lot of people underestimate the power of Facebook, yet Make-A-Wish is completely smashing by establishing themselves as the epicenter of the American operation.

They bring together America’s fundraisers on one page, showing off their success whilst displaying how anyone can help them.

What We Can Learn

Make full use of the platforms.

You’re not just limited to what everyone else is doing—make sure you explore all the features available to you with a little research.

4. Truth Initiative

If there’s a nonprofit that lives up to its name, it’s the Truth Initiative.

Their aim is to expose the lies told by big tobacco companies in order to get fewer people smoking.

They get people’s attention, not through scaremongering or telling even more lies—they are direct and honest, appealing to just about anyone who will listen.

Truth Initiative are great at providing information to the public.

With specific figures and percentages they put across their message.

It’s direct, precise and effective.

What We Can Learn

Stay true to your message and don’t be afraid to be direct.

Facts and figures will help you put across your message with strength and will make people more likely to trust what you say.

Think about your core value proposition and the rest will follow.

5. Project Aware

Honestly, you wouldn’t believe the amount of puns one organization could use on social media.

Project Aware somehow manage to slip them in here and there without overdoing it.

They combine the perfect balance of fun and serious—as their aim is to protect the world’s oceans they can’t be too silly, but need just the right amount to keep their audience interested.

The best part about Project Aware is that they connect well with their audience on social media.

They aren’t afraid to retweet relevant posts, or share photos.

Go to their Twitter account and you will find some fantastic photos, not only taken by them but also those that have been shared by other relevant accounts.

These make for a beautiful all-round picture of the world’s oceans, from the beautiful creatures that live there to the horrible pollutants put there by humans.

What We Can Learn

To connect with your audience you have to engage with them.

You don’t want your entire feed to be made up of retweets, but it helps to intersperse them with your own posts.


Nonprofits can teach us a lot about how best to use social media, whether to promote an ecommerce business, a blog or simply for personal use.

When looking to up your social media game it is important to look at a wide range of accounts to see how they behave, and across different platforms.

Keep up to date with what’s going on and you’ll be able to keep up your winning social media marketing campaign.

Guest Post: Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she looks at how organizations can make the most out of their social media accounts and covers the latest developments in the digital world.

Online giving to charitable organizations has continued to rise year over year, with an estimated $31 billion given in 2017, up from $28 billion in 2016.

Driving much of this growth is social media.

In fact, 55% of people who engage with nonprofits on social media end up taking an action, while 59% of those people make an online donation.

The statistics are more compelling when you dig into them by platform.

Facebook Statistics For Nonprofits
  • Nonprofits share an average of 1.2 Facebook updates per day.
  • In an average peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, 15-18% of donations are referred directly from Facebook.
  • 84% of Facebook users share to show their support for a cause and highlight issues that are important to them.
  • Facebook refers 29.4% of traffic to donation pages on #GivingTuesday.
  • $45 million was raised by nonprofits through Facebook fundraisers on Giving Tuesday.


of marketers say Facebook is important to their business.

Twitter Statistics For Nonprofits
  • 36% of online adults ages 18-29 are on the social network.
  • 80% of Twitter users have mentioned a brand in a Tweet.
  • The last two years have seen a 2.5x increase in customer service conversations on Twitter.
  • Companies using Twitter for customer service see a 19% lift in customer satisfaction.
  • 77% of Twitter users feel more positive about a brand when their Tweet has been replied to.
  • Twitter users send 700% more visitors to donation pages on Giving Tuesday than on a typical day.


of people who engage with nonprofits on Twitter end up taking some sort of action.

YouTube Statistics For Nonprofits
  • 28% of nonprofits are on Youtube.
  • 6 billion nonprofit videos viewed in 2016.
  • 68% of nonprofit video watchers view similar videos within 30 days.
  • Among millennials, YouTube accounts for 2/3rds of the premium online video watched across devices.
  • The most viewed brand videos are on average 31–60 seconds long (32% of all views).
  • 40% of YouTube views come from mobile devices.


of people who watch nonprofit videos make a donation online.

Instagram Statistics For Nonprofits
  • Nonprofit Instagram accounts grew followership by 101% on average in 2016.
  • 6 in 10 online adults ages 18-29 use Instagram.
  • 75 percent of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website, after looking at a brand’s post.
  • 31% of Instagram users..
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