Holistic approach to digital marketing for Nonprofits

Holistic approach to digital marketing for Nonprofits

Digital marketing is a big, broad term that covers a lot of different tools, techniques and strategies for using “digital media” as a way to get your nonprofit’s message out. Whether it’s trying to get sponsors, raise awareness, or match your messaging with a grant you are trying to get, the internet and digital landscape and medium can help you do just that. However, many smaller nonprofits fall victim to thinking just one type of digital marketing is going to work. True, in the short term it just might. But, if you are building a nonprofit, you are probably in it for the long haul. So I am proposing a different way of using digital marketing. It’s a term that has been used but not often, a holistic approach to digital marketing. 

What is Digital Marketing?

First, let’s really narrow down what digital marketing is. Digital marketing for nonprofits refers to the use of online platforms, tools, and technologies to promote a nonprofit’s mission, programs, and campaigns. This involves leveraging websites, social media, email campaigns, online advertising, and more to connect with supporters, donors, and beneficiaries. Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing offers precise targeting, real-time analytics, and cost-effective strategies tailored for nonprofits. It’s about using the vast digital landscape to tell your story, engage with supporters, and drive actions – whether it’s raising funds, recruiting volunteers, or raising awareness – all aimed at furthering your cause in the digital age.

The Problem With Digital Marketing

The problem with digital marketing is there are so many shiny toys, tricks, and strategies that its easy to get lost in the weeds. For example, SEO is a great long-term strategy, but depending on the keywords you are going for, it can take 6 months or more before your organization sees real payoff. Email campaigns are great for announcing a specific event, but emails can get buried. If you are not promoting your fundraising event elsewhere, you are missing out on potential donors.  

What is a “Holistic Approach” to Digital Marketing?

A holistic approach is basically a multi-channel approach to digital marketing. You are combining different aspects of digital marketing to achieve your goal. For example, if you have a fundraising event coming up, you could use social media to announce the event, create an email campaign to inform current donors and enthusiasts and have an event page on your website that has the full information on the event. Now, to some, this may seem like common sense, but common sense does not mean common used. The example just mentioned requires knowing what your goals are and planning your methods of achieving them instead of the common “shotgun” approach or worse, sticking to just one form of digital marketing. 

How Do You Achieve a “Holistic Approach” to Digital Marketing?

It really starts with figuring out what your top goals are and then deciding which channels are the best approach to achieving those goals within the time constraints and the resources you have. Take the fundraising event example just mentioned. The goal is to let the public know about the fundraising event. Then you break that down into, how we reach them, when we reach them, how to we have a compelling enough story for them to come to the even, and where the central information live about the event. This could be done through social media, social media ads, and your website for example

At the end of the day, to usually takes more than one form of digital marketing to grow a nonprofit. And looking at it that way, planning and executing it that way leads to a holistic approach in digital marketing.   

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Chris Hughbanks
Chris Hughbanks

Chris is the owner of Hughbanks Design, a Houston web design and digital marketing company.