As soon as people go online, whether it’s on their phones or computers, they are instantly bombarded with organizations and companies vying for their attention. From targeted ads on social media to emails from websites they bought one thing from years ago, how can you ensure that your nonprofit’s online marketing efforts shine through the noise?
Additionally, fundraising leaders like yourself need to come up with ways to not only continue engaging with existing donors but also recruit brand new supporters and raise more awareness for their mission. A tried and true method of increasing marketing efforts is to use a multi-channel approach.
Multi-channel fundraising is exactly what its name states — using multiple marketing channels to promote an upcoming fundraising campaign or event. When you use more than one medium to proliferate your message and connect with supporters, you increase the chances of being heard and meeting your fundraising goals.
One of the most vital tools that can support and bring your multi-channel marketing strategy to the next level is your nonprofit website. In fact, a broken or hard-to-use website can actually undermine your entire multi-channel outreach effort.
Why Your Nonprofit Website Plays a Critical Role
To dig deeper into how your website can support your marketing efforts, we have to consider the donor journey.
As outlined in this Kanopi article, the donor journey is composed of 5 basic steps: awareness, research, decision, appreciation, and repeat. Throughout each of these steps, your nonprofit website plays a critical role.
When someone hears about your nonprofit or mission through any marketing channel, they’ll probably look up your website to learn more. This describes the awareness and research part of the donor journey.
Additionally, your website is where they’ll decide whether to give, sign up for an event, become a volunteer, or another form of support that your organization offers. From there, your website compiles the data from the decision and supporter, providing you with the key information you need to show your appreciation.
On top of this, whenever you send emails or share a new announcement on social media with your subscribers or followers, you likely also include a link back to your homepage or a specific landing page. This is marketing content created to re-engage your existing supporters and previous donors, representing the repeat step.
All of your digital marketing outlets, including email, social media, online ads, all seem to lead back to your nonprofit site. This means that as the center of your online engagements, your website is one of the most essential components of your multi-channel fundraising strategy.
Because of this, there needs to be active maintenance and upkeep to ensure that your website is doing all it can to meet these needs. It’s hard to go past the research step of the donor journey when your nonprofit site is full of out-dated and inaccurate information.
In order to continue funneling users to your target action, whether that’s to donate or participate in an event, you need a well-designed, intuitive, engaging, and informative website.
Ways Your Website Can Support A Multi-channel Strategy
Charity Engine’s article on multi-channel fundraising states it well: “Your website is the heart of your organization’s multi-channel fundraising campaign. Be sure you use it to its maximum potential and provide all of the information your supporters should pay attention to.”
To ensure that your website is able to support your multi-channel marketing efforts, you need a website that features up-to-date content. When people visit your site, whether it’s because an email or social media post sent them there, they’re going to turn away if the last relevant content is from 2005.
In addition to updating your website content, there are other basic maintenance tasks and updates you can tackle. These might not directly help your multi-channel fundraising efforts, but they do optimize your website and can increase site traffic, site engagement time, and site conversions.
This means conducting regular nonprofit website maintenance. You should consistently check to ensure that your content management system (CMS) and its extensions are updated, your basic processes are functioning properly, and that there are no broken links, images, or pages.
Along with these basic tasks, you should do the following:
- Integrate your website with other nonprofit technology — Your multi-channel strategy will be using multiple platforms and tools as well. It’s essential that these processes are integrated to ensure that the data used in your other marketing content is accurate. This way, you can compile custom reports that track your multi-channel strategy progress in real-time. You can also take advantage of marketing automation, like triggering an email as soon as a form on your website is filled out.
- Keep your design user-focused — When you look at your website, it should be easy to find a target action. Whether that’s checking out recent blog posts, your mission statement, or making an online gift, these pages should be obvious within the first 7 seconds. Make sure you have an easily navigable menu, fast loading times, and intuitively organized content.
- Comply with web accessibility guidelines — Anyone should be able to engage with your site, no matter their location, language, or ability. To ensure that your website is accessible to all, it needs to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as in line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelinesdesigned by the World Wide Web Consortium.
- Ensure your site is optimized for mobile — Did you know that half of all nonprofit website traffic last year came from mobile and tablet users? If your own nonprofit site doesn’t look good or is hard to use on mobile devices, then you’re missing out on a huge chunk of potential traffic.
- Incorporate calls-to-action — With many of your marketing materials and channels funneling users to your nonprofit site, you need to ensure there is a clear target action. Implement calls-to-action across your entire site, whether that’s with a big bright button on your homepage or a prominently placed link that directs readers straight to the target action you want them to take.
Your nonprofit website is an important tool and resource that you do not want to let fall by the wayside. Make sure to review its content and conduct maintenance before you embark on a multi-channel fundraising campaign. In fact, doing this on a consistent basis outside of large campaigns is good practice anyway, and will ultimately set your nonprofit organization up for success.
If you want to raise a large amount of money and increase awareness of your mission, a multi-channel approach is your best bet. Take a look at where your current supporters are most active and choose the most popular marketing channels to focus on.
However, no matter what, your nonprofit website will always play a pivotal role by anchoring the multi-channel strategies you implement. Ensure that your own website is doing all it can to support your online fundraising and outreach efforts with the tips above. Good luck!
As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs, and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions.
Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp. When she’s not contributing to the community or running her thoughtful web agency, she enjoys yoga, meditation, treehouses, dharma, cycling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and hanging with her nephew.