How to Use Your Digital Toolbox in a Nonprofit Communications Strategy

Integrate digital into your overall communications plan to drive engagement and reach your goals

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, email, SEO, digital advertising – the list goes on of all the digital strategies at your disposal as a nonprofit organization. It may seem overwhelming, but with the right integrated strategy, your organization can flourish, increasing visibility to donors, volunteers, stakeholders and other target audiences. First, you have to know where you want to go and how to get there.

Put a Tuxedo on It: Develop a Formal Strategy

The first step in forming a digital strategy is conducting a digital audit to see how your content is currently performing. This will help you understand right off the bat what works and identify areas for improvement.

Once you know where you’re at, you can identify where you want to be and develop a formal digital strategy to get there. We call these digital strategies “playbooks,” and nonprofits can use them to develop goals, objectives, strategies and specific content areas to guide content development. A digital playbook is the roadmap for content creation and execution across your digital channels.

Tell the Story Your Audience Wants to Hear

Your audience will receive information on different digital channels and it’s important to meet them where they’re at using consistent messaging across each. By disseminating consistent messages about your organization and its impact across digital channels, you’re creating a unified voice, which builds trust with your audience, which can inspire them to take action.

A recent survey showed that 61.1% of people want to see a nonprofit’s impact on real people. You’re working hard to make a difference – show firsthand how your organization is helping others by sharing real stories and putting a face to the organization and cause. Remember to include high-quality, compelling images to accompany your posts, especially on social media.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Data

Digital tools allow you to capture data, enabling you to be more strategic in how, when and where you communicate messages to your audiences. Data is available at no cost through social media platforms’ native analytics, email newsletter analytics and Google Analytics. These insights can help you understand what content creates the most engagement on social media, where website visitors are coming from and what they’re viewing, and who is opening your emails and how they’re engaging with the content. Establishing metrics important to your organization and reporting on them monthly will tell you if your strategy is working or if adjustments are needed.

Let’s dive deeper into a few specific tools:

Email Communications: Rise to the Top of Their Inbox

Research shows that 41.6% of people prefer to hear from nonprofits through email communications. Here’s how to make the most of this tool:

  1. Gather and establish your email list, and make sure your list is only going out to people who have opted in (no spamming!).

  2. Once your list is established, segment it out to deliver content of interest to each group you’ve identified.

  3. Communicate regularly and use it for timely fundraising appeals.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Be There When They Need You

A perfect way to increase the quantity and quality of visitors to your website is through the use of SEO practices. By integrating data-driven keywords into your website, ads and other marketing content, you’re able to target the audiences you want to reach, hit business and donation goals, and build your reputation. Don’t know where to start? Google Keyword Planner can help you identify relevant keywords for your organization.

Digital Advertising: Break Through the Clutter

Chances are you’ve been the target of digital advertising on Google, other web pages or social media feeds. The truth is that sometimes to see conversions on your efforts, you have to pay to play. Only around 6.4% of your Page likes will see your organic posts, which means you’re missing out on a lot of potential engagement. Advertising incorporates keywords and target audiences to directly reach your audience and ensure that your message stands out above the noise.

Using A/B testing (testing two different advertisements) helps narrow down what works and what doesn’t, and guides you on which ad to move forward with for the duration of the campaign, depending on performance data.

Want to learn more about how your nonprofit organization can utilize digital tools? Email us at


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