Even the worthiest of causes won’t receive donations if no one has ever heard of it. This is why nonprofit organisations dedicate so much time and effort to raising awareness.
Increasing awareness for a cause is actually no different to raising brand awareness for businesses online. Both require a solid marketing plan, an understanding of their target audience and consistency over time to be successful.
Here are 9 actionable steps your organisation can implement to increase your online reach and raise more awareness of your cause.
Be consistent in your branding
Whether you are a business or a nonprofit organisation, the key to making sure your cause can be recognised amongst all of the noise online is consistency. Be sure that the tone and style of your written content remains consistent as well as your images.
Working with a strong brand identity with the same logos and image types across all online platforms (such as your website, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest pages) shows that you truly understand your vision and also makes it clear to your target audience exactly what they can expect from you. When you target audience knows that they will be able to rely on you for information that engages them consistently, you’ll be able to attract a more loyal following.
Implement user-generated content
Involving your target audience directly is easily the best way to keep them interested. Offering competitions for user to submit their own content is proven to be one of the most effective forms of content marketing.
Imagine a charity for animal welfare asked users to upload images of their pets for a cutest dog competition. Putting their beloved dog’s face on your website attaches it to your cause and can even make the public pause for a moment and consider how your cause impacts them.
This removes the distance between the lives of your audience and your cause, increasing empathy and inevitably driving donations.
Use platforms that offer discount rates for nonprofits
If you’re advertising your cause online, whether for a specific event or to reach an urgent target, consider using sites such as Trade Me who offer discounts on ads purchased for fundraising and charitable events.
Take advantage of video
Take a moment to watch the video above. In this example the Thomson Reuters Foundation puts a face to the issue of child slavery, driving empathy in ways only video can. When we can see an event unfolding before us and feel powerless to stop it, we are driven to look for some kind of action to contribute.
Additionally, with YouTube’s Nonprofit Program calls-to-action can be overlayed and listings on the nonprofit channels even means you can drive donations through a Google Checkout “Donate” button.
Use targeted Facebook ads
Facebook ads are not just for businesses. If you are looking to target a specific age group with certain hobbies and preferences, Facebook ads are undoubtedly the biggest piece of the puzzle. With 1.4 billion daily active users, if you’re not performing outreach here, it’s time to start. While Facebook for nonprofits does not offer discounted rates but provides helpful support to ensure your ads are set up correctly from the outset.
Start conversations around hashtags
If your audience is active on Twitter, it’s time to start a conversation around a hashtag to get people involved. We all remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (#ALSicebucketchallenge) which went on to raise $100 million dollars.
Engage your audience where they are and involve them in the conversation.
Use Google Grants to increase reach
Eligible nonprofits are able to access $10,000 per month in Google Ads spending to further the reach of their cause. Learn more about the grant in our recent blog post.
Increase organic traffic with content marketing
If your cause is an expert in something, be sure to share that knowledge with your audience. For example, an animal sanctuary may create blog posts on what to do if you find an injured bird/dog/cat/fish/lizard, or, how to give medicine to your pet.
Informational guides and how-to videos are the highest performing content online. This is even more pertinent for Facebook and if your videos have captions. Around 600 hours of video are watched on Facebook every day with more than 80% watched without sound.
Make your content mobile friendly
This leads us to perhaps the most important points. Make sure all of your content is responsive and able to be viewed correctly on devices other than computers. While 21% of online donations are made on a mobile device, as much as 80% of all social media time is spent on mobile devices. This means that your branding, content and outreach is all being viewed on tablets and smart phones. Make sure it performs consistently on all platforms.