Content Marketing for Nonprofits

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…a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

This is how the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) defines content marketing. Whether the term is familiar to you or not, you’re likely engaged in some form of content marketing or you’ve experienced it personally. I certainly have, and like you I work with my colleagues to determine what kinds of content will be most useful to our customers and other stakeholders.

Content on Golden Compass.

Do you pride yourself on providing your supporters with information and resources that they can’t get anywhere else? If so, you may “package” this priceless content as white papers, podcasts, and/or videos.

Regardless of format, CMI states that the primary purpose of content marketing is “to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior.” This is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy.

According to CMI’s first-ever research report on nonprofits, Nonprofit Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends — North America, 92 percent of nonprofit professionals use content marketing. However, only 25 percent have a documented strategy or plan. Further, 38 percent plan to increase their content marketing budgets during the next 12 months.

Additionally, those nonprofit marketers surveyed who rated themselves as being “highly effective” used the following the tactics more frequently than those who rated themselves as “least effective”:

  • Videos (80 percent vs. 60 percent)
  • Articles on other websites (59 percent vs. 38 percent)
  • Blogs (58 percent vs. 38 percent)
  • Infographics (43 percent vs. 18 percent)
  • Online presentations (43 percent vs. 19 percent)

These findings reinforce the growing importance of connecting your customers with content they value. To do that, you need software systems with robust customer relationship management components similar to those available from Salesforce. CRM provides the mechanism for determining your customers’ interests so that you can tailor content to them as well as track how successful your efforts have been.

Which of these tactics might be most effective for your organization? What types of content will your members and customers react the best to? Those details are in your data, and using a good nonprofit software system will help you collect and parse through that data.

What types of content have you found to be the most valuable? Add your experiences in the comments!

Looking for Membership Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Membership Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Paul Lundy

Paul Lundy, the president of Fonteva, is a veteran leader of the cloud based software development community. Prior to co-founding Fonteva, he was the co-founder of Marketworks, an e-commerce company and eBay's largest Preferred Solution Provider.

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