The Role of Marketing in The Charitable Sector

Written by: Alex Lysak, CEO of and SEOBROTHERS. His main areas of expertise are marketing research, social media marketing, and SEO. Alex has helped many products and startups develop and implement marketing strategies.

According to recent study, around 20% of all nonprofits are in danger of bankruptcy. Fundraising is critical to a nonprofit's survival and getting the message out is an important part of that. Charities need to be able to effectively communicate what they do, and this is driven by competition and the need to survive in the long term.

All charities, no matter how big, are competing for the same market. While donations have increased over the years, charities still need to make the most of their available resources and effectively market to reach new people. Those organizations that are more likely to market well are also more likely to be successful in the long term.

In this article, SEO and digital marketing expert Alex Lysak, will be looking at the impact of marketing on charities and the techniques that charitable organizations in the US can use to get their message to a wider audience. Digital marketing techniques, in particular, can be highly effective for charities looking to maximize their resources.

Why Charities Need to Focus on Marketing

While the main goal of any charity is to use donations to fund the cause it supports, a charity with no marketing will struggle to receive any meaningful donations. No matter how important the cause of the organization is, it isn't much good unless people know about it. Marketing for charities is incredibly important then, and on average, organizations will spend around 4 cents for every dollar raised.

Some people might see this as a waste of resources. After all, if you donate to a charity, you expect that money to go to the cause rather than to be spent on marketing. However, marketing is essential for bringing in new donations and ensuring the charity can survive. As long as the marketing spend isn't outstripping the amount of money raised, more marketing means more effective charities.

Charities should approach marketing in the same way that any other business does. After all, retail businesses employ marketing to create incremental margin dollars, not simply incremental sales volume. This means they look at the net dollars after marketing and other expenses are deducted. However, many donors will look at the Charity Finance Index and turn away from charities that they see as spending too much on marketing, even if it's profitable.

Businesses such as Scanteam know the value of marketing and specifically of search engine optimization and digital marketing. In a world where people are spending more time online than ever, it's more important to focus on these aspects. This is especially true in the US, where SEO can have a huge impact on an organization's overall brand awareness.

The public, and charities themselves, need to understand that marketing is critical to increasing the number of donations that a charity can receive as well as changing the culture of giving. An effective marketing strategy for a charity can make a big difference, not just in increasing the donations to that particular charity but also in convincing people who wouldn't normally donate.

Marketing Techniques for Charitable Organizations

The last few years have seen big changes to marketing in the charitable sector. Outdated marketing models aren't working anymore, and it appears that they're failing to generate much-needed donations and corporate assistance. Charities looking for donations in today's world need to be smarter about the techniques they use and the marketing strategy that they employ.

More than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations are currently registered in the United States, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS). These include a number of public charities and private foundations, to which individuals give over 300 billion a year. Donations are mostly given to larger organizations, however, meaning smaller charities often have far fewer resources.

All good retailers put their marketing strategies to the test to see what works best for them. This means using different channels such as online, TV, or other media as well as testing the quantity and audience of the advertising. An effective marketing strategy will always test before committing a lot of resources to the strategy. So, in order to optimize the major parts of their marketing campaigns, charities should do the same, testing as much as possible.

Digital Marketing for Nonprofits

There is a lot of room for charities to succeed online, and digital marketing has revolutionized the way organizations raise money in recent years. Digital marketing is a considerably more cost-effective approach for smaller organizations, which often have limited resources to deal with.

Digital marketing allows charities to reach a much greater audience than they would be able to otherwise. Strategies like search engine optimization (SEO) can help a charity to appear in more search results, generating organic traffic online. It's just one of many digital marketing techniques that include pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and social media marketing. These all help an organization to reach a wider audience and give charities a chance to communicate their message to supporters all over the world.

Social media marketing can be highly effective for charities, as it tends to be far more personal and targeted than some other approaches. A strong social media presence can really help a charity to connect with supporters and new followers, and it doesn't have to cost much either. The success of campaigns such as the Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised over $200 million worldwide for ALS research, shows just how much potential it has.

Charities can also make use of digital marketing tools and support from various companies, including Google and Microsoft. For example, Google Ad grants offer grants to charities for advertising on Google. There's also G-Suite for nonprofits, which allows organizations to collaborate more effectively for free. The YouTube Nonprofit program can be used to create and share video content with people around the world more easily. Microsoft for Nonprofits offers a range of free software for NGOs and charities.

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Final Thoughts

Marketing is an essential tool for businesses when it comes to advertising their services and reaching new consumers. It's also incredibly important for charities. A successful nonprofit organization needs to be able to promote its cause to receive donations and supporters, and marketing is critical for that.

While some people might not consider marketing as the highest priority for a charity, without an effective marketing strategy, the organization will never be able to raise the money it needs. Charities can make use of digital marketing to reach people all over the world, and social media, in particular, can be a massive boost to marketing efforts.


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