How to use internet marketing for your Cincinnati non-profit

by Jeremy Powers on October 10, 2012

Internet Marketing for Non-Profits

Internet marketing for non-profits is not significantly different than internet marketing for business. You need to define your goals. You need to align your strategy to the resource constraints of the organization. You need to determine your message and platform. Finally, you need to remain focused on the metrics you selected.

Define your internet marketing goals

Ideally, your web marketing should be part of a broader marketing strategy. Are you focused on gaining publicity? Do you want to raise funds? Do you want corporate donors or small individual contributions? Are you looking for volunteers? Pick a single objective for your campaign and focus all of your efforts for the year on that one goal. The more specific your objective is, the more likely you are to define internet marketing tactics to reach it.

A good objective sounds something like this: “ABC group wants to find 500 new individual donors, each giving at least $50, by September of 2013.”

Align your web strategy to match resource constraints

Every organization has limitations. How much money can you invest to reaching your objective? How many people or man hours per month do you have to work with? What expertise does your team have? Do you have a large subscriber database? Do you have a list of past donors?

Your leadership team should be able to align to the resources you are willing to invest. Here is a sample commitment statement I would want your team to make:  “ABC group is willing to have two volunteers each give 2 hours per week toward this goal. We will invest up to $1500 in advertising or consulting to reach our objective of $25,000+ in new contributions. ABC group will also provide/leverage are existing email database of 2000+ supporters of the organization to help jumpstart this campaign.”

Determine your message and platform

Messaging for a non-profit, even a non-profit specific to Cincinnati, should be easy. What is your mission, and how do you go about achieving that mission? Your message should already be defined. If you want to create a specific offer for your campaign, just be sure the offer aligns with your non-profit’s objective.

The internet marketing platform you choose to spread this message is where I see many Cincinnati groups struggle. Fewer resources means fewer platforms. If you are small in budget and short of volunteers, don’t try to use Facebook, Twitter, email, Google Plus, Pinterest, and a blog to get your message out. Focus on platforms that align with your target audience and objective.

A good messaging and platform statement sounds like this:  “ABC group will spread the word that we need donors for the funding of our mission to give every Cincinnati kindergartener finger paint. We are looking for a broad individual donor base, and therefore, Facebook will be our primary web marketing platform. We will use Facebook to spread our mission and solicit contributions. Contributors will also be asked to provide their email address as part of the donation page check-out.”

Measuring your non-profit web marketing results

If you have significant resources you can measure more than if you have a small budget or volunteer base. My recommendation is always to only measure what matters. How many unique people is your message reaching? How many of those who have seen your message ultimately converted into donors or supporters? How close to your goal are you?

Using our example, here are the metrics your team should agree to review: “ABC group will measure our web marketing success by reporting on the first of each month: unique fan page views, number of new donors for the previous month, dollars contributed by new donors in the last month, total number of new donors from the campaign, and total dollars so far in the campaign to date.”


Internet marketing for your non-profit should feel similar to marketing for a business. The two most common mistakes I see non-profits make are not having ONE specific goal and failing to narrow their activities to one or two message platforms.

Best of luck to your team! If you have specific questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or email me.

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