A nonprofit’s digital presence is one of their most effective outreach and retention tools.
- Email newsletters and blog posts help volunteers feel connected to the organization and informed about new changes
- Social media posts can help prospective volunteers hear about an organization for the first time
- Well designed web pages provide volunteers with a positive user experience and gives volunteers the information they need to learn more about an organization and get started with volunteering
Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day, and only 25% of the users conducting these searches venture past the first page of the search results.
If your nonprofit doesn’t have a strong digital presence and isn’t taking steps to stay on the front page of search engine results, it will be difficult for people to learn about your nonprofit, which means you’ll have trouble attracting new volunteers and donors.
A strong digital presence can also help your existing volunteers stick around by putting your nonprofit at the forefront of their minds.
Regular email newsletters, blog posts, and social media posts prevent your organization from being “out of sight, out of mind,” and fosters a sense of community that will encourage your volunteers to keep working with your organization.
While your nonprofit has a lot to gain by stepping up their digital presence, this process can seem overwhelming initially. Thankfully there are tons of user-friendly digital tools that strive to make great online marketing easier.
This guide will walk you through some of the best marketing and design tools you can use to take your nonprofit’s digital presence and nonprofit marketing to the next level. (We use many of the following tools at Civic Champs to bolster our brand and marketing!):
The landing page of your website is the crucial first impression for your organization. It functions as your digital face, the globally accessible representation of who you are as a nonprofit. How do you want folks to feel when they first meet you? What ideas do you want to get across?
According to The Millennial Impact Report, nearly 65% of millennials prefer to learn about nonprofits through their websites. Considering the fact that millennials are more likely to value volunteering and volunteer at higher rates than many other generations, it is critical that you have a well-designed website for people to learn more about your organization.
If you want to attract new volunteers, your website design and user experience need to be sharp.
Fortunately, there are many tools available to help you make your nonprofit website look great. Here are some we love:
Squarespace is a website building and hosting service that allows users to build a website in minutes.
This tool has everything you need to create an engaging website from start to finish. You can explore hundreds of templates, designer fonts, and marketing tools, all without needing to code or download any plug-ins.
Webflow is a custom website creation tool that includes visual and marketing tools for nondesigners. No coding experience? No problem.
We use webflow to host the Civic Champs website and don’t need to rely on engineers to make amendments to our design and pages.
Wordpress is a free tool that you can use to create a website or a blog.
Posting high-quality content on a blog is a great way to keep your volunteers engaged and interested in your organization. Wordpress makes it easy to create an eye-catching blog that your volunteers will be eager to visit.
Stock images and video
Including images in your email newsletters, blog posts, and social media posts will draw attention to your content.
In fact, blog posts with images receive as many as 94% more total views than ones without images, and posts and emails with images have higher engagement rates.
Videos have been shown to provide even more engagement. Adding video to your email campaigns can increase open rates by 19% and click-through rates by 65%, and including video to your social media posts will lead to more views.
As a nonprofit, your organization might not have the resources to have a professional photographer or videographer on retainer. The tools below mean you don’t need to hire an expert to have access to high-quality images and videos for your digital content.
Here are a few websites that offer free photos and videos you can use online:
Pexels offers free stock photos, royalty free images, and videos that you can use for your website, blog posts, email newsletters, and more. You can explore popular collections of photos or search for photos using keywords.
All of the photos on Pexels are free to use and modify, and you don’t have to credit the creator when you use these images for your digital content.
Unsplash is another database of freely-usable images. When you explore their photo collections or search for photos you will have access to over a million high-resolution images that you can use for free.
You can download and modify these photos for commercial and noncommercial use without needing to seek permission or provide credit to the creators of this content.
Pixabay has over 2.6 million free, high resolution images, video, and audio files that can be used for commercial or noncommercial purposes.
These royalty free photos can be downloaded and modified without permission.
Step up your online content without breaking the bank by including relevant, attention-catching images from one of these sites.
Content design and editing
Sometimes you will want to create custom videos and use branded images and designs for your emails, blog posts, and website content.
Here are a few tools that can help:
Canva is a free graphic design tool that you can use to create digital posters, images, logos, social media posts, and videos. They offer over 100 different types of designs as well as over 250,000 templates and 1 million photos that you can use for your digital content. Canva has a special program for Nonprofit which allows organizations to gain access to Canva’s premium features for free. Check out Canva for Nonprofits.
In addition to free marketing tools like a logo creator and free, professionally designed templates, Canva also offers premium services like image background removers, brand kits, and social media scheduling.
WeVideo has all of the tools you need to easily create videos for your nonprofit.
Do you want to advertise an upcoming event? Send a thank you to volunteers after a successful event? Showcase how your nonprofit is helping the community?
WeVideo can help.
This service has a free online video editor with multiple video formats you can choose, over 1 million different free-to-use videos, and cloud-based flexibility for unlimited storage.
Create square, vertical, or horizontal videos depending on your unique needs, and connect with your volunteers!
Social Media Posting
The average daily social media usage of global internet users is 147 minutes per day. That’s almost three hours per day.
If your nonprofit doesn’t post on social media regularly, it is missing out on prime opportunities to reach potential volunteers and engage with existing ones. Considering 55% of people who engage with nonprofits on social media end up taking some sort of action, planning and automating content has the potential to do important awareness work for your org.
Managing social media (especially multiple channels) takes time. You can take the hassle out of social media posting with the following tool:
Buffer offers affordable marketing tools for nonprofits to manage their social media accounts. Using Buffer, you can pre-schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, and check your analytics on each of these platforms.
Later is a visually focused social media scheduling software. Where other social media software typically have creators write a caption first, Later asks you to upload an image first. Their interface and media gallery is simple and easy to use and pricing starts at $18/month. Later also offers a linkin.bio feature that turns your Instagram into a webpage with analytics.
If you want free nonprofit tools or discounts on solutions that will help improve your online presence, the tool below will be useful:
TechSoup supports nonprofit organizations by providing technological tools and software at discounted rates.
Their nonprofit tech marketplace also has free tools that can help your organization build its digital presence to better recruit and retain volunteers.
Learn more about how technology solutions can help your nonprofit connect with volunteers when you visit Civic Champs.
As CEO of Civic Champs, I lead our team of passionate change leaders to create technology solutions to create a seamless and rewarding volunteering experience for both volunteers and service organizations.