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5 Tips from Nonprofit Marketing Leaders for Better Engaging Your Constituents

5 Tips from Nonprofit Marketing Leaders for Better Engaging Your Constituents

Lautel Okhio

Note: This post was originally published in the Salesforce.org blog. Here is the original blog post

As nonprofit marketers and fundraisers begin their end-of-year giving campaigns, quickly creating personalized, data-driven content has never been more important. The newly-launched Marketing Cloud for Nonprofits from Salesforce.org is designed to help nonprofits of all sizes build constituent-first communications fast.

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Building effective marketing campaigns is especially critical for smaller nonprofits, which have unfortunately been hit the hardest by the pandemic and experienced a decline in annual donations. As nonprofits look to make up for revenue lost, as well as take their engagement and giving to new heights, digital tools present new opportunities to reach new audiences and deepen relationships with existing supporters.

To learn how nonprofits of all sizes are approaching this end-of-year giving season, we asked leaders at, (RED), Conservation Volunteers Australia, 92nd Street Y, and 412 Food Rescue to share their tips and tools for engaging constituents.

Man talking on phone

The newly-launched Marketing Cloud for Nonprofits is designed to help nonprofits of all sizes build constituent-first communications fast.

1. Say Goodbye to Batch and Blast

As more and more nonprofits are making the full switch to digital, personalized outreach to both current and prospective donors is increasingly imperative. One of the biggest keys to maximizing fundraising efforts is understanding each person’s propensity to give, what moves them to donate, and what their capacity is for giving. In fact, using the recipient’s name in an email can result in an average increase of 270% in clicks and engagement. Now more than ever, nonprofits have a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be used to make constituents feel seen, known, and engaged on a whole new level.

“Our goal is to help as many children born with clefts as possible by retaining our supporters year over year, recapturing lapsed donors, and growing our universe of new supporters,” said Kevin Scally, senior director of marketing infrastructure at SmileTrain. “Our donors are on a journey with us, that’s why personalization is so important. Salesforce Marketing Cloud has helped us say goodbye to ‘batch & blast’ and say ‘hello’ to personalized supporter journeys.”

2. Provide Consistent Updates to All Stakeholders

If we’ve learned anything from this past year and a half, it’s that strategic communication is the key to driving impact. Having a consistent line of communication with supporters, partners, and stakeholders keeps everyone connected to your mission and ensures that you stay top of mind. Organizing those many lines of communication and keeping everything up-to-date in one place keeps information streamlined and ensures that your team is functioning efficiently.

“(RED) is in constant communication with our constituents, including partners, prospects and consumers,” said Meaghan Condon, vice president of partnerships. “Salesforce Marketing Cloud allows us to share new information, collaborate effectively, and streamline our workload, which is essential for us. The more efficient we are, the greater our capacity for new partners, and the more partners we have, the more money we’re generating for the Global Fund.”

3. Make the Right Ask at the Right Time

The heart and soul of nonprofit work will always be relationships, authentic connections between missions and donor values, and the desire to make long-lasting change. But the fundamentals of making the right ask at the right time in the right way hold true through change, challenges, and progress. Now is the time to take steps — however small or grand — to improve your capabilities and improve the donor experience. And speaking of the right time, where would we be without our phones? App-based technology puts all this critical donor info at your fingertips, so that you can have an “always on” presence.

Sam Rye, manager of marketing and communications at Conservation Volunteers Australia, explained how his team is innovating to connect with supporters where and when they want to be engaged. “At Conservation Volunteers Australia, we’re on a mission to help all Australians take action for nature. We’ve been using Salesforce to make it easier to tailor communications to groups and individuals based on what they want to hear about, from our growing array of different ways people can do their bit for the living world. We’re exploring new and innovative ways to present an ‘always on’ presence so that people can take action where they want, when they want, and keep in touch with the outcomes of their efforts.”

Two people looking at a tablet

Having a consistent line of communication with supporters, partners, and stakeholders keeps everyone connected to your mission and ensures that you stay top of mind.

4. Create Better Supporter Journeys

Top-knotch donor experiences are no longer limited to the private sector alone. In 2021, donors increasingly expect to receive communications and experiences that are tailored to their needs, situations, and preferences.

In today’s digital-first world, you’re always just a click away from unique communities with a wide range of interests and motivations for engaging with your organization. From new and prospective donors to long-time constituents, creating better and more personalized supporter journeys that are relevant to each group is important for building strong relationships. The first step to achieving this is having well-organized data that can provide a single view of supporters, enabling personalized outreach to each unique donor group.

“Listen. Learn. Salesforce makes it possible to welcome new patrons, while still thoughtfully encouraging existing ones to discover new programs and enjoy the content they’ve come to love,” said Kent Davidson, the managing director at the 92nd Street Y. “This is a unique opportunity to collect data and use it responsibly to honor our patrons and our mission.”

5. Create Unified Systems for Insights Across Your Organization

Siloed data is never a good thing. Having mission-critical information spread out across disparate systems not only makes marketing strategies less effective, it eats up important hours for employees whose time is better spent on engaging donors. Ultimately, the most effective organizations start with great data.

And having great data that’s clean, updated, and unified across systems will roll over into every aspect of your work. Most importantly, it’ll ensure that your fundraising campaigns, volunteer engagements, and marketing efforts will reach the right supporters with the right message at the right time.

The team at Pittsburgh-based nonprofit 412 Food Rescue uses both Salesforce and Google Analytics in their work to close the gap between food surplus and food scarcity. Sara Swaney, 412 Food Rescue’s director of advancement, said that unifying her organization’s data “allows us to look at our data across platforms — web and app — to understand the full journey of our users. We’ve been able to cut our reporting time by 50%.”

Now is the time when nonprofits of all sizes are strategizing, preparing, and implementing strategies to maximize the biggest and most important season of the year for nonprofit giving. As you brainstorm #GivingTuesday ideas or prepare for your first in-person fundraisers in nearly two years, don’t overlook the importance of ensuring your communications strategies, data, systems, and marketing campaigns are set up correctly to best set your team up for end-of-year fundraising success.

Get your guide to email personalization for Nonprofits.

Product Marketing Manager at Salesforce.org. Lautel is a Product Marketing Manager at Salesforce.org. In her spare time, she likes listening to dance music and practicing Japanese.