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Digital Marketing in the Nonprofit World

Thinking Out Cloud: Episode Four

What can nonprofits do to increase their impact and reach?

Engage in digital marketing.

But this does not come without its challenges, especially in this unique sector. Nonprofits differ greatly from private sector companies but can learn a great deal from the way private companies engage with customers online.

Rami Azzam, Digital Marketing Director at USA for UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency, for one, is not afraid to look toward private companies for inspiration. He has seen the limitations of technology in the nonprofit world and has worked tirelessly to rise above them.

Use the right kind of technology

The right kind of technology can facilitate many solutions in the nonprofit world. Unfortunately, these solutions are not as readily available to nonprofits as they are to private companies. For this reason, it’s important to have flexibility when it comes to setting expectations regarding digital experiences.

Keep donors happy

Nonprofits face a variety of challenges—one of them being stewardship. While it’s a privilege to have donors who invest in nonprofits, it can add a layer of pressure on the organization. There is a certain expectation that their donations will directly impact the causes at hand. “In the nonprofit sector, there is always tremendous pressure to always be doing more with less,” says Rami.

This pressure can hinder the growth of nonprofits, especially when it comes to technology and more specifically, digital marketing. This is an area that is often overlooked and undervalued by donors.

Replicate the customer experience

While “donor” does not necessarily equal “customer,” it’s important to think of them both in a similar fashion—especially when it comes to the journey they follow with an organization. Both relationships need to be established and nurtured, regardless of the mandate of the organization. Furthermore, the lines between “donor” and “customer” are becoming increasingly blurred in our on-demand world. Someone who orders a coffee via an app now expects to have a similar experience when donating their money.

An investment in digital marketing can make a world of difference when there is the opportunity to journey map the customer experience. “Be considerate of what the donor’s expected experience with your organization is, and provide that to them as best as you can,” says Rami. And when you fall short, at least you’re given the chance to analyze the breakdown when it occurs.

To learn more about using digital marketing in the nonprofit world, check out episode four of the Talking Out Cloud podcast with Rami Azzam.

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