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Three Keys to Successful Nonprofit Communications

Use all of your communications channels to create a comprehensive and cohesive campaign. (Say that three times fast.)


Nonprofit organizations have many communications channels available to share our message and inspire action. Your organization may be using some or all of these channels:

  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Print Advertising
  • Radio and TV
  • Website
  • Direct Mail

The key to a successful campaign is using multiple channels to reinforce and reiterate your message. A person might see a message about your annual appeal numerous times on Facebook, email, and direct mail before they make their donation. Their decision to send a check after receiving a letter in the mail was likely influenced by the Facebook posts and emails they received as well.

There are a few things to remember when crafting your campaign.

1. Choose channels based on target audience(s)

Identifying your target audience is the first step in determining which combination of channels will be the most effective. Also, it is important to note that an effective channel may be one you are not currently using (or are using in a way that is not effective).

Be careful not to discount channels based on assumptions as to who uses them. For example, people over the age of 65 are the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook, while those under the age of 30 are not likely to be active users. Take a look at these statistics from the Pew Research Center as a guide.

2. Keep branding consistent across all channels

Be sure to keep your messaging and imagery consistent across all the channels you use. Consistency will help engage your audience in the narrative you create.

Your messaging may have variations depending on the channel (Facebook and Instagram require a distinctly different voice, for instance) but the core of the message should remain the same. Your copy may also vary in length, depending on if you are sending an email or posting on Twitter.

3. Monitor cost vs. return

It is increasingly difficult to determine the exact ROI (return on investment) due to the number of channels. Still, it is important to be aware of the cost of your campaigns and the amount of revenue they bring in.

You may reach your fundraising goal, but how much did it cost to get there? Calculating the cost by channel and also by audience segment will allow you to evaluate which segments are more profitable for future campaigns.

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