10 More Delicious Benefits of Nonprofit Content Marketing

Imagine you’re in the bakery aisle of the grocery store, meandering alongside the myriad packages of cookies.

You spy a picture of thick, gooey chocolatey goods that has your salivary glands going stronger than Niagara Falls.

But when you get home, you open the package to find dry and tasteless cookies with maybe two chocolate chips on top.

This is the situation for most donors when faced with the vast majority of nonprofit content. Bland with very little satisfying sweetness.

So how does content marketing change all that? Here are ten ways that content marketing done right can have delicious benefits for your nonprofit.

1. Tenderize resistance

No matter how deeply you feel about your cause, your average donor will resist your message if all you do is ask for money.

In his book Enchantment, former Mac-employee-turned-business-guru Guy Kawasaki came up with a few reasons why people don’t want to buy into your cause:

Because of inertia, because of their desire to make a free choice, because of the fear of making a mistake, because of a lack of role models, and because they just don’t believe in your cause.

When you provide meaningful and entertaining content over time (i.e., you bake in a boatload of chocolate chips), you put people in a very comfy frame of mind that makes them more likely to wander down your baked-goods aisle and gobble down your content.

2. Use a sample tray instead of a feeding tube

Marketing in the 21st century has turned from a “push” system (in which you push your message onto people through traditional media) to a “pull”system (where you try to be where people are looking for you).

Radio and newspapers are push marketing. The Yellow Pages and search engines are pull marketing.

Instead of focusing on ad and media spend, you can create useful, shareable content that solves a problem, engages people and “pulls” them nicely into your nonprofit community.

3. Create a whole goodie bag of value for society

You may focus on your mission to help kids stay in school, keep single moms off the street or help seniors become involved in society.

However, only focusing on your mission puts the focus on you.

What have you learned from your programs and services that could help your average person? If your after-school programs are a big success, what basic lessons can you share for donors with families who may need that information for their own children?

You probably have more expertise to share than you realize, and that value can go beyond the users of your programs.

4. Create a smorgasbord of voices

Your marketing doesn’t have to come from one person.

In fact, with nonprofit content marketing, it’s often better to involve a community of people to share their stories.

Recruiting people to create videos, emails, thank-you cards, blog posts, social media updates and encouraging them to get creative shares a different side of your nonprofit, and you create a vibrant community from your internal constituents and your external audience.

5. Knead the bread in-depth

Direct mail is probably your default mode to generate donations, but when you move to online content with comment sections and emails that invite replies, you can listen a lot better to what your donors are saying.

You have a deep give-and-take that is generally impossible offline.

This opens the possibility for deeper relationships.

Plus, you get excellent listening platforms to gather feedback and make any adjustments to future content.

6. Invite your guests into the kitchen

No matter what kind of content you produce, content marketing is a way for people to get to know the real you.

Because people respond to human connections more than a tactic or strategy.

When mixed with very useful content for your donors, all of your activities, photos, videos  newsletters and events can come together to get your nonprofit out from behind the curtain and help people know the real you.

7. Develop a consistent recipe

Content marketing is also a way to express your brand.

And expressing that brand is as simple as creating style guidelines. (Which can be a lot cheaper than hiring an expensive designer to redo your logo and website!)

Instead of having one voice for your website, another for your email campaign and another for your social media channels, you can bring together all of your elements into a clear set of guidelines about what kind of tone you want to use in your content and how you want people to see you.

The more consistent you are, the easier it is for people to remember you.

The more they remember you, the more likely they’ll donate.

8. You create the everlasting fruitcake

These days, you have to look at the long game with your content marketing.

Blog posts can always be reshared, email newsletters can be reused and repurposed.

When you create shareable content, the impressions can keep trucking and the traffic is sent back to your website.

When you rely on regular media, a small percentage of people may become aware of you in passing, but the impression can be lost in the recycling bin with the rest of yesterday’s news.

And creating a “shareable” cake really pumps up the return on investment, because you can track what performs well and what doesn’t.

9. You get the oven going early

The main goal of content marketing is to create content that persuades people to take action, but this action doesn’t always have to be a donation.

In his book The Psychology of Influence, Robert Cialdini talks about how small commitments are key to getting people to act consistently.

Asking people to follow you on social media, asking them to tweet something relevant to your cause, getting them to take very small, painless baby steps are ways to “preheat the oven” for a bigger ask later on.

10. You get a sense of your donors’ taste buds

You can’t execute content marketing without researching your donors first.

You have to live in their shoes, understand their problems and desires, and empathize with their world view.

When you create content that is in sync with them, you see a new, delicious world that can inform your mission.

Go forth and bake

Just like the ingredients of a perfect cookie come together to make a heavenly flavour, your content marketing can pull all of your nonprofit ingredients together into a fantastic donation-getting machine.

So, do you want to be the nonprofit with the delicious, decadent fare that people can’t wait to eat or do you want to keep pumping the bland cookies out of the oven?


Next article: The 5 Most Common Nonprofit Content Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

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