Marketing for nonprofits is drastically different than for for-profit companies.  In the nonprofit world, the goal is to strike a chord on the heartstrings of new potential donors while continuing to engage and value your current donor base. That is where content marketing comes in. Quickly becoming the preferred marketing method for nonprofits and for-profits alike, content marketing is all about attracting, acquiring and engaging a specified target audience in order to produce profitable results. 

Here are a couple reasons we think you should consider content marketing for your nonprofit.

1. Raise Awareness by Sharing Content

Shareable content equals greater exposure. Nonprofits rely heavily (and oftentimes solely) on their donor base, so it is important to focus on getting your message out to as many people as possible.  Social content sharing allows you to reach your target audience while engaging with current donors.

When it comes to marketing, a general rule of thumb is: wherever your target audience is, there shall your marketing efforts be also. Your new and upcoming donor base is most likely on social media, so you should be too!  

The graph below illustrates where millennials are searching for news and information.


Social Media use for Millennials as News & Information source

Data by: American Press Institute

Let's look at the massive success of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. The ALS Ice Challenge is an example of a very successful user-generated content campaign via social media. You surely remember the countless videos of people (celebrities and civilians alike) dumping buckets of ice-cold water on their heads inundating your social media feeds.

2. Search Engine Optimization

Enlarging your online footprint increases your chances of being noticed by prospective donors and volunteers through search engines.

Creating valuable content that engages prospective donors who are searching for your services is like leaving a paper trail for your targeted audience. The more content you have regarding your nonprofit's services, news, events, etc., the more awareness you’re creating. However, if the content you are distributing is not valuable to your target audience, you won’t get the results you are hoping for. That is why a content strategy is so important.  See below.

High-value and engaging content is vital for success. Search engines are continuously improving their ranking algorithms in order to deliver high-quality results to their users. If your content isn't providing value, it probably won't be found in search engines.  Here is an in-depth description how high-value affects your search rankings.

3. Donor Engagement

Sometimes getting and keeping your donors attention can be difficult.  You probably have fundraising events, direct mailings, social media and a slew of other marketing initiatives, but are you truly engaging your donors? Content is one of the greatest assets a nonprofit can have for engaging a specific target audience.  Content allows nonprofits to show their donors that they value them, and are in tune with the ways in which they want to engage with the organization. 

If a sound content strategy is in place, you have the ability to target and reach donors at each giving level.  When your donors are engaged with you, they feel the impact of their donations. And if donors know that their donations are making a difference, it can create a lasting relationship.


4. Capturing The Elusive Millennials

Many nonprofits have a difficult time reaching and engaging millennials in a way thatthey find valuable.  It's important to understand how millennials interact with your content in order to understand how you can increase engagement and keep them in your prospective donor funnel.  Many nonprofits are experts when it comes to reaching the Baby Boomers and Gen X, but the glory days of direct mail are rapidly declining and if nonprofits want to continue to be successful, they need to evolve with the times.

The Percentage of Giving by Generation

Data by Blackbaud


According to Blackbaud, millennials account for approximately 31% of the giving population.  That means at least 1/3 of all donor marketing efforts should be geared towards your future donor base. Generally speaking, millennials consume more content than any other generation. Here is a great resource put together by Blackbaud for understanding how different generations give.          

Not So Fast, Strategy First 

We at the Tillery are strong supporters of the age-old wisdom of Sun Tzu: "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before the defeat." 

Most nonprofits are using content marketing whether they know it or not.  They are using tactics like email, social media, blogging, videos, pictures and press releases but aren’t setting a specific strategy in place during the creation phase.  Not having a documented content strategy could hinder the effectiveness of your content marketing  efforts and lead to wasting both time and money.

According to Content Marketing Institute - "The lack of content marketing knowledge and training is a bigger challenge for nonprofit professionals than it is for marketers at business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies" 


Without a solid content strategy in place, your content’s success will be extremely limited. The sooner nonprofits get on board and manage content in a strategic fashion, the more effective your marketing efforts will