in

Marketing 101: Learn How Your Charity Can Reach Benefactors Online

Whether you’re the proud founder of an animal charity or the leader of a foundation with an environmental focus, you need plenty of promotion to get your nonprofit off the ground. Using social media and online marketing is a great way to connect with potential partners. Online charity funding has dramatically increased. In 2011 alone, 140 of the largest charities received $1.2 billion in online donations, compared to the $887 million received in 2009, according to BlueHost. Furthermore, using social media is a low-cost, less time-consuming and more effective way to promote a charity and tell your story.

1. Connect with Your Audience

You can’t expect to create a Facebook account, sit back and watch the donations roll in, says Josh Catone of Mashable. In the social media world, it is imperative to hold conversations with your followers. Connect with them on a personal level instead of as a business, and they’ll be more likely to donate to your cause. Additionally, increase involvement by asking your audience for feedback and ideas related to your charity. Including your fans in the decision-making process allows them to feel more invested in your cause. Nature Conservancy, winner of the Shorty Award for social media’s best charity, connects with its followers on a variety of platforms, including YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest. The environmental charity uses an approachable voice on social media and creates sharable content via breathtaking images and videos.

2. Create a Brand

Not only do you want to form a personal connection with your audience, but a lasting one as well. You can do so by turning your charity into a memorable brand. Start by creating a logo that demands attention and clearly illustrates your cause. Feeding America, for instance, uses colors typically associated with agriculture and integrates a stalk of wheat as a symbol for food. This simple but powerful logo communicates to the viewer what Feeding America does and who it helps. Logo Garden, an online logo design tool, suggests using only one or two fonts in your logo, creating a logo that looks good big or small and using symbols instead of photos to represent your brand image.

3. Organize an Online Event

Hosting a fundraising event online is easier than organizing a traditional fundraiser since it requires less prep time. Online fundraisers are also inexpensive since travel and equipment costs are non-existent. To create an online fundraiser your charity first needs to have a website. However, don’t get caught up in the details here. The fanciest looking charity website won’t necessarily bring in the most donations, explains CauseVox. You want to spend the majority of your time on the story. Be specific and clearly show why your nonprofit wants to raise money. Using a platform like CauseVox alongside your charity’s website also makes it easy to monitor progress and automatically send donation receipts.

4. Blog, Blog, Blog

There is no better way to keep contributors in the know of your daily happenings than through blogging. This method is somewhat different from sharing content on social media websites since its focus is on documenting charity goals, challenges and successes. Plus, blogging generates interest and makes your website more SEO friendly, states Search Engine Watch. This win-win situation encourages a steady flow of visitors who are motivated to make donations and even volunteer their time to your cause. Charity: Water, a nonprofit organization that brings clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries, is a great example. Their blog successfully documents the charity’s happenings, both at headquarters and in the field.