Innovative Nonprofit Marketing is a Four Letter Word: Data

The Beaconfire Online Campaigns and Marketing Team stepped away from our desks to spend the day geeking out about what’s now, new and next in “digital.” The retreat was a time to try to answer the question, “What is the future of digital marketing for nonprofit organizations — and how can organizations further their mission with these new technologies, platforms and strategies?”

And geek out we did.

While social media and mobile are hot on the minds of many nonprofit organizations, we spent the most time discussing a little word with big potential: data.  Let’s break the big word into a few little pieces to get the conversation started -

Constituent Data - This is demographic, psychographic, website usage, and giving history data that you have at your finger tips. Between your CMS and your web analytics platform, you have a lot of information about each and every one of your consituents. Organizing that information and finding ways to use it to personalize messaging and experiences is a surefire way to increase engagement. Your audience wants to feel like you’re talking to them. By referencing past interactions (a quick thank you for their last gift or for being an advocate), or literally speaking their language (a little southern charm vs. a midwestern flair) makes the end user feel like you’re talking to them, not just another name on your list.

Third Party Data - Going to market with a new advertising campaign? Want to find new constituents across the web? Take advantage of third party data to narrow the field. The amount of data available about user behavior is extensive (in a non-creepy way!), so adding a layer of behavioral data onto your media buy will help you find animal lovers or environmentalists or older women people with certain habits. Sending a “pre-qualified” audience your ad will increase the chance of interaction and conversion.

Research Data - Your organization has more than likely done research on your mission, and that data is stored in a database that pulled together pretty charts and graphs – either for your board or for a press release or maybe even for printed marketing material or direct mail. How else can you use that data? By localizing messaging, or targeting messages at certain sub-groups of your constituents. Tell someone in Arizona about plants or animals that are at risk in their area, or tell someone in Florida how many people struggle with hunger in their state alone helps make that message resonate. And gives them a direct, tangible reason to take action.

The cycle of data is never ending – collect information, use information, optimize message and strategy based on information. Understanding the power of the data you have, and the data you can get, is the first step to effective online marketing.


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