Why Local Marketing Matters for Fundraising

According to the 2015 Nonprofit Benchmark Study, online revenue for nonprofits grew by 19% in 2015, a seven percent increase over the previous year. In particular, monthly giving grew faster than one-time giving in 2015.

Sure, there are important national programs like United Way or massive online listings of nonprofits that give credibility and visibility for fundraisers. But it often is the local marketing that comes from trusted, known recommendations that can garner the most benefit.

So how can development directors and nonprofits combine the increased interest in online giving and the importance of a local connection? Here are three ways nonprofits can work local marketing into their fundraising strategies.


Edit Your Landing Page

All roads lead to home, and all clicks lead to your landing page. It is your home base for online traffic, which, as we know from the Benchmark Study, is on the rise. Solid fundraising landing pages should have clear, concise calls to action with evident ways to donate.

The Humane Society is a great example of a fundraising landing page. The visual image is strong, there are multiple places to donate, all clearly labeled, and the message is concise: “You’re here to help animals. So are we. Join us.”

On the international front, Catholic Relief Services has strong imagery and a simple message, “Help children and families around the world.” They also put a price tag on the attainable monthly donation: “Make a difference for as little as 40 cents a day.”

These examples are similar in that they let images tell the story, including real-life examples of donors as well those who benefit from services and a clear call to action. Potential donors almost don’t have to think — they instinctively gravitate towards the donate button.

Optimize Your Content for Your Location

Now that you’ve seen how national and international organizations use graphics and messaging to build a strong page, how can we apply that locally?

First of all, make sure your language is geared towards your city. For-profit businesses have gotten quite good at this, and it’s time nonprofits took note. For example, Merlin Communications optimized this page for the Philadelphia area. This strategy can be applied to nonprofits like those that may have multiple streams of donors, which can create multiple pages for fundraising or donation efforts in certain areas.

Including the hometown in your donor or client testimonials, featuring local events like your most recent 5K or using photos that include local landmarks are other ways to optimize your content based on your location.

Finally, make sure that your address and phone number are on every page, as well as in online business directories. Why? Search engines look for addresses and phone numbers for local optimization. So claim your listing on sites like Google My Business and Bing Places for Business to increase your visibility.


Invest in Crowdfunding

Not every nonprofit can create its own viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on crowdfunding. Brainstorm a project or drive that is social media friendly. For example, instead of debt-forgiveness, build a campaign for a tangible item like new ultrasound machines or expanded hours at the soup kitchen. While crowdfunding may not always make sense for nonprofits, there are those organizations who really rely on it. And for them, local communities are very important.

Also, think of ways to involve your supporters’ social networks. For example, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital hosts a “Dedicate My Birthday” program. It allows you to use the occasion of your birthday to send family and friends a message with a link to a personalized fundraising portal. Guiding you through the process, St. Jude allows users to personalize their pages with messages and photos, make their own donations and then share with family and friends to maximize donations. It gives these birthday boys and girls that ability to track their fundraising progress and also send thank yous through this portal.

This allows your supporters to do the local marketing for you. You will hold on to those leads, and they have used their credibility and relationships to bring more people into your sphere of influence.

Sometimes fundraisers can be so consumed with national or international leads that they forget the importance of investing time and money into local marketing. Add local marketing into your strategic plan today for optimal results.



Kayla Matthews is a guest contributor for Nonprofit Hub. She is a writer and blogger with a passion for self-improvement and helping others. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter to read all of her latest posts.



Local marketing

Kayla Matthews

July 12, 2016

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