TANGO Partners Perspective – January 2023

How Digital Marketing can Help Nonprofits During an Economic Downturn

Written By:
Dan Lyons
SEO and Brand Manager
Cause Inspired

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As the global economy continues to struggle to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of a looming recession, nonprofits are feeling the pressure to adapt in order to stay afloat. With limited budgets, traditional marketing tactics such as print and television ads may not be feasible. This was never more apparent than at the start of the  COVID-19 pandemic when nonprofits had to quickly transition their marketing initiatives to digital marketing in order to continue their missions.

Digital marketing allows nonprofits to reach larger audiences at a lower cost. By using channels such as social media, email, Google Ads, and content marketing, nonprofits can connect with potential donors and supporters at a lower cost than traditional marketing initiatives. For example, social media marketing can be an effective way to build relationships with existing supporters and reach potential donors, while paid social media advertising can be used to target specific audiences. Content marketing can also be used to provide helpful and informative content that speaks to the mission and needs of supporters. A survey by Nonprofit Finance Fund found that 88% of nonprofits had to shift their fundraising strategies due to the pandemic, with many turning to digital channels such as social media and email to connect with donors and supporters. With this shift, a study by Blackbaud found that online giving grew 20.7 percent in 2020, indicating the increasing trend of digital giving and the importance of digital marketing, especially during times of economic uncertainty.

Through data and analytics, nonprofits can identify donors most likely to contribute based on their past actions and create targeted campaigns that speak directly to those individuals. This can be especially valuable during a recession when resources are scarce and organizations need to make the most of every marketing dollar. By using digital platforms to interact with their audience and share stories about their work, nonprofits can build trust and encourage people to stay engaged with the organization and create meaningful relationships with donors.

A key benefit of digital marketing allows nonprofits to reach a global audience that they previously wouldn’t have had exposure to due to location barriers where they can share their message with people all over the world, which can help bring in donations and support from individuals who may not have been reached through traditional marketing methods. This can help increase visibility and reach more potential donors, ultimately driving more donations to support the organization’s mission.

In addition to these benefits, digital marketing also offers the ability to track and measure the success of campaigns, allowing nonprofits to make data-driven decisions and adjust strategies for better results, this can be achieved through Google Ads and the Google Ad Grant. The Google Ad Grant is a program that gives nonprofits up to $10,000 a month in in-kind advertising through the Google platform, giving nonprofits the ability to increase visibility, and get more donations, volunteers, and awareness for their cause all while saving on advertising costs. Advertising through Google offers several benefits that help nonprofits reach their target audience, drive donations, and achieve measurable results through:

  • Targeted Advertising: Target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and keywords. This means that nonprofits can reach people who are more likely to be interested in their cause and more likely to donate.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Unlike traditional marketing methods, such as print and television ads, Google Ads allows nonprofits to set a budget and only pay when someone clicks on their ad. This can help nonprofits make the most of their limited resources.
  • Measurable results: With detailed analytics and reporting, nonprofits are able to track the performance of their campaigns and measure the success of their ads. This can help nonprofits identify which ads are working and which are not, so they can make adjustments and optimize their campaigns for better results.
  • Flexibility: Nonprofits can adjust their campaigns in real-time, which means they can test different messages, images, and targeting options and see the results instantly. This allows nonprofits to quickly adapt their campaigns to changing conditions and optimize them for better performance.
  • Reach: With Google being the most popular search engine in the world, it has a vast user base and offers a great opportunity for nonprofits to reach a large audience and increase donations.

While the majority of economists believe there will be a recession this year, nonprofits can get ahead in their marketing efforts. The shift to digital marketing allows nonprofits to reach a larger audience at a lower cost, create targeted campaigns that reach specific audiences, build meaningful relationships with donors, and connect with a global audience by utilizing platforms such as Google Ads to help optimize and measure the performance of campaigns. This digital shift is here to stay and will ultimately drive more donations to support the mission of nonprofits during tough economic times.

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