Creating an effective digital strategy is absolutely essential for growing a successful business. More so with nonprofit organizations where the stakes are much higher as they are totally dependent on the success of their digital strategies to gain the required financial support from their followers. In addition, nonprofit organizations don’t have the luxury of spending all of their resources on elaborate advertising and marketing campaigns like for-profit businesses can. As a result, they have to utilize the most efficient digital strategies out there, ones that have a much higher ROI, in order to increase their relief efforts. Hence, businesses can learn a lot from the astonishing success of some of these humanitarian campaigns, and as such implement similar tactics into their own strategies, only in this case, for the sake of profit. Here’s a list of four areas that will provide the most beneficial insight for your digital strategy.
1. Social media marketing
Generating followers on social media is a lot more difficult for nonprofit organizations than it is for businesses. This is why in order to increase their follower base, nonprofit organizations need to post content that not only appeals to human emotions but is also highly relatable as well. UNICEF’s campaign against ‘slacktivists’ targeted people on Facebook in order to raise awareness of the fact that ‘likes don’t save lives’ but money does. One of such posts contained the following text: “Like us on Facebook, and we will vaccinate zero children against polio.” This grotesque message uses dark humor to another level to demonstrate its point, by invoking empathy from its readers. Consequently, the message spread throughout social media like wildfire, and the campaign was a major success as it turned a lot of those would-be supporters into donators in the end. Therefore, businesses need to do the same by re-engineering this particular strategy in order to find the best and newest interactive ways of engaging their followers a lot more.
2. Video marketing
Another example of how effective nonprofit marketingcan be is best seen in video campaigns. Similarly to UNICEF’s ‘likes don’t save lives’ video, Water Is Life created their own video campaign based on the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems. The emotional connection is reached when the viewers realize just how silly their ‘first world problems’ really are, and how there are in fact people out there who are in desperate need of some basic commodities such as clean water. The videos show poor people ironically saying phrases such as “I hate it when my house is so big that I need two wireless routers”, while there’s a run-down shack behind them. In addition, the infamous ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ used celebrities in a chain of videos to fund-raise for their cause. Naturally, this too went viral as everyone was joining the ‘movement’, some for the sake of the meme, others more for their genuine support of the cause. Seeing how video content is on the rise, businesses need to learn how to harness the power of video in similar fashion for their own campaigns to create a following that will basically market itself over social media and the internet for free.
3. Brand awareness
Although nonprofit organizations aren’t brands per se, they share certain similarities with for-profit brands, with one of them being their use of a logo. Nonprofit organizations are probably one of the best examples out there on how logos can not only reflect the organization in question but also tell its story in the process. For example, Free the Children uses a logo where two persons are holding hands across the planet Earth to symbolize the joining of hands to aid those in need. Of course, when you take into consideration that the organization stands for the abolishment of child labor, another layer is added to the picture. This time, the two persons in question are actually children dancing happily all around the world enjoying life instead of being enslaved in factories. This image shows just how powerful branding can be, provided businesses can do the same for their logos. Additionally, another perk of having a unique logo is the ability to stand out and be easily recognizable by everyone. In this regard, nonprofit organizations are utilizing brand awareness to full effect.
Co-branding is another strategy humanitarian organizations turn to when promoting their cause, and with good reason too. Co-branding is impactful as it expands the reach of both parties which can be seen in the following example: the for-profit shoe retailer TOMS joined with Oceana, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Earth’s oceans, in a campaign to advocate the protection of marine life. They did this by creating “a whale of a collection” with shoes featuring whale migration maps on their linings. These beautifully designed shoes helped both organizations reach their goal. Oceana got their message across about the need for protection of various marine species, and TOMS saw an increase in profit as their marketing campaign received a lot of attention and in doing so had a much wider reach than if they’ve just done it solo.
To sum up, nonprofits have a more personalized approach to their digital strategies and thus have better success in spurring people into action, whereas, in this day and age, multi-national corporations have become so blinded by profits that they’ve simply forgotten what it’s like to be human.