Marketing secrets of the leading 25 nonprofits


I discovered the 2016 M+R Benchmarks Study last week. It looks at a broad range of marketing data from participating nonprofits, such as email messaging, email list size, fundraising, online advocacy, web traffic, Facebook, Twitter, and mobile programs.

The findings of this study are fascinating. It’s concise and easy-to-understand (you can download it for free here), and offers great insight on what today’s nonprofits are doing when it comes to digital marketing.

My favorite section is when it transitions from discussing average benchmarks and explores the exceptional. What are the best of the best doing to drive fundraising and engagement through their marketing?

For the purposes of this analysis, they look at the 25 organizations with the largest year-over-year growth in total dollars raised online and assessed what makes their marketing strategy so effective. Let’s dig in…

Continue reading “Marketing secrets of the leading 25 nonprofits” »

Using rhetorical mirroring to successfully communicate with your audience


Have you heard of behavioral mirroring?

Often touted as an effective persuasion tactic used to provide an advantage in certain social situations, such as negotiations, mirroring is the behavior in which one person imitates another.

It’s commonly associated with forms of nonverbal communication, like postures, gestures, or facial expressions, but we also mirror back words and spoken language. By repeating back what people say, we often show empathy and understanding.

From a marketing perspective, mirroring can be a fantastic tactic in how we present and construct a message. It’s a way for us to build trust with our audience. We’re rarely our own target and often sitting behind a keyboard, though, so how can we know what messages or rhetoric we should be mirroring in the first place?

I use a simple method to ensure I’m mirroring my target demographic at all times in my marketing – and that’s what I’d like to share today (and yep – I used this exact process when writing this blog post).

Mirroring Study Data
Continue reading “Using rhetorical mirroring to successfully communicate with your audience” »

What are the most underrated marketing skills in successfully scaling social impact?


Before I quit the 9-5 to launch my business, I interviewed 22 entrepreneurs from either the marketing or social enterprise space. My goal was to gain insight into the attributes, strategies, and skills I’d need to succeed.

There were a handful of pieces of advice I heard on multiple occasions, but only one that was brought up time and time again.

“Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.”

While I understood, at the time it was just theoretical for me. Now, I see it in practice. Many of the social entrepreneurs I speak with are pound foolish – from a marketing standpoint – every single day.

This means underrating skills that are critical to their growth and not investing in them as needed, whether that’s a financial investment (personnel or external support) or a time investment (personal development and training).

social impact scale
There are three marketing skills that I consistently see a lack of awareness for among social entrepreneurs. Or worse, I see them dismissed.

Continue reading “What are the most underrated marketing skills in successfully scaling social impact?” »

3 wildly success nonprofit marketing campaigns that drove massive impact with no budget


In our small – but growing (join us!) – private Facebook group for socially-good marketers, we often discuss successful nonprofit marketing campaigns.

Particularly, those with a little-to-no budget.

Seeing how others drive massive impact with minimal resources is something we can all learn from, and take back to our own organizations and marketing campaigns.

We’ve had a few pretty incredible examples referenced recently, worth highlighting outside of our private group. Laid out below are three wildly successful nonprofit marketing campaigns that drove massive impact with no (media or advertising) budget – and what we can learn from them.

Continue reading “3 wildly success nonprofit marketing campaigns that drove massive impact with no budget” »

Five insanely powerful – yet simple – Facebook advertising audiences


Facebook’s advertising platform offers insane targeting, with thousands of possible ad targeting parameters. In order to properly test a particular audience you need a certain level of ad spend, though, and the average advertiser simply doesn’t have the budget to test a huge number of audiences right off the bat.

Fortunately, retargeting and remarketing tactics mean that there’s almost always low-hanging fruit, allowing you to generate ROI from day one. Once you get this solid foundation and consistent traction, it’s a lot easier to avoid wasted budget as you scale.

Just one glance at the Facebook ad audience dashboard can be overwhelming for new advertisers…

Facebook ad targeting

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve experienced a lot of failed targeting. We all have. I’ve also identified, however, a few core audiences that I know are HIGHLY likely to provide ROI from day one.These audiences tap into retargeting (displaying ads to users who have visited your website) and remarketing (displaying ads to users whose email address you already have), which means that you’ll need an audience already – customers, email subscribers, Facebook fans, and/or website traffic – to make use of the methods below.

The following five audiences are ones I set up at the start of every advertising campaign I run, without fail. Data from these allow me to then scale the campaigns in an effective and affordable way.

Continue reading “Five insanely powerful – yet simple – Facebook advertising audiences” »