What Is Digital Marketing and Why It Is Important To Your Nonprofit in 2020?

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the application of marketing strategies in the field of digital media. All techniques that were previously used in the offline area are imitated and used in the new online world.

It is an umbrella term for all marketing activities that are carried out online. Companies use digital channels like Google search, social media, email, and their own websites to connect with their current and potential customers.

Why is Digital Marketing essential for foundations and non-profit organizations?

Digital marketing in the form of YouTube videos, Google search marketing, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter offer platforms that allow these organizations to "tell their stories" easily and economically, with high impact and reach. Digital media allows these organizations to share vital information to educate society about their cause, while at the same time allowing them to request and even receive donations through their website.

Do you remember the Ice Bucket Challenge?

“The challenge of the cold water bucket” Millions of people around the world did it (George W. Bush, Hilary Duff, Lionel Messi, Bill Gates, Taylor Swift, etc.)

Those videos in which someone came out and threw a bucket of ice water over his head and challenged his friends to do the same or make a $ 100 donation to the Association (ELA, or ALS)

From July to August 2014, the campaign raised more than $ 100 million. Especially if you consider that he did it in just two months and that according to the New York Times, the ELA Association generated less than $ 20 million throughout 2013. Millions of people filmed his challenge and posted it on Facebook, YouTube, and hundreds of other sites

The various digital marketing campaigns became viral and not only generated an incredible amount of money for the ELA Association but also, in addition to the 100 Million dollars generated an overwhelming focus of international attention that contributed to awareness and education throughout the world about this rare disease called ALS

The case of the Ice Bucket Challenge is a great example that shows the power of digital marketing in non-profit organizations.

However, almost all non-profit organizations lack the resources and experience to run a digital marketing campaign for them. While any nonprofit foundation can take advantage of digital marketing, most are not doing so because they are not familiar, they do not know where to start, how and how much to do or invest.

TOP of Digital Marketing Platforms available to foundations and non-profit organizations

I was investigating a little about the most powerful digital marketing platforms for non-profit organizations and these are YouTube, Google, Facebook and Twitter.

YouTube for non-profit foundations

YouTube is free and allows any non-profit organization to submit videos easily and quickly.

The most effective videos for nonprofit organizations are those that tell stories of the people and families affected by the causes served by the organization. In most cases, the non-profit organization can use low-cost video equipment to record videos (A cell phone camera is viable).

I believe that foundations and non-profit organizations should avoid applying a large production for the videos they produce - instead, the focus should be on the story and the person or family affected by the cause

If you are part of a non-profit organization and you have a Smartphone with a camcorder, you can use the replay application to edit them and add small effects to your cell phone in a fast and straightforward way. It is very easy to use, and if you have a camera and a PC, try simple editing programs such as Movie Maker or Camtasia.

For nonprofit organizations, YouTube offers useful tips and strategies to leverage your platform by telling compelling stories through video. YouTube also allows eligible nonprofits the ability to add a Donate button while the video is playing (USA and UK).

Google for non-profit organizations

Non-profit organizations benefit more if they have a better ranking position in Google's free search results.

On the payment side of search engine marketing, non-profit organizations may be eligible to benefit from Google's Ad Grants program.

Google Ad Grants are the non-profit edition of Ad Words

Google Ad Grants offer eligible non-profit organizations an in-kind consumption of $ 10,000 per month, to promote their causes and initiatives on search results pages in the "sponsored ads" sections. You can read the Google Grants guide and watch the YouTube video to make sure your organization is eligible to be accepted into the grant program.

The management and optimization of a Google AdWords account is a challenge, especially since there is a Maximum CPC of 2USD in ads made with Google Ad Grants, and most non-profit organizations do not have the funds to employ a pay-per-click or professional management company to help.

If the non-profit foundation fails to spend $ 10,000 per month on Google AdWords (due to poor planning and campaign execution), the remaining budget does not accumulate the following month. It means that while it is an incredible opportunity to access such a powerful program, the program itself is not enough. Therefore, non-profit organizations should seek professional assistance to manage a Google Ad Grants budget.


Two options:

  • A volunteer or employee of the non-profit organization must be trained as a Google Adwords professional. Google AdWords certification is an authorization that Google offers to people who demonstrate proficiency in basic and advanced aspects of AdWords. It can be done at the Google Adwords academy.
  • Find an organization that can train you and advise you in the execution of your digital marketing campaigns. They can help you define a strategy that allows you to best use the advertising budget you get from Google Adwords.

Facebook for non-profit foundations

Facebook is a powerful tool for nonprofit organizations to connect with potential donors and volunteers, but it has several drawbacks that nonprofits should be aware of.

For example, according to Facebook, when a non-profit organization (or any company or person) posts messages (Posts) on its Facebook wall, such publications only reach about 4 - 5% of its target audience.

This means that if an organization’s Facebook page has 10,000 followers, only 4 - 5% (between 400 and 500 people) will be reached by that ad.

To connect with a broader audience, non-profit organizations must purchase the presentation of ads on Facebook for which they must understand the dynamics of these types of ads.

Currently, Facebook does not have a free ads program for non-profit organizations. However, there is a request on Change.org to encourage Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg to create a scholarship program to help these organizations.

Although Facebook does not have a free advertising program like Google, (and Twitter, as you will see later) you do have the opportunity to add a "Donate" button to the Facebook page of non-profit foundations. Once the application is approved, the donate feature will appear next to Messages in RSS News and at the top of your Facebook pages.


Twitter is a powerful tool for non-profit organizations that want to build a fan base, raise awareness, and raise funds. Similar to Google Ad Grants, Twitter offers eligible nonprofits the opportunity to present free advertising.

To find out if your foundation is qualified, you can send an email to [email protected]

What benefits does Digital Marketing offer for NGOs?

It is no mystery to anyone that nonprofit organizations work with minimal resources. For them, doing advertising on the street or in traditional media is very expensive. There is also the problem of the wide variety of audiences they have, which do not watch the same programs or travel the same streets. And if with great effort, they manage to get a geography in the middle of a big area, there will be so much visual information around them that the impact will be much less than expected.

All this is solved with Digital Marketing for NGOs:

  • Having a website is a required minimum and is the best way to get to know the world.
  • You can create and design web pages yourself with platforms such as Wix, GSite, or WordPress, although we recommend investing in a designer to ensure the efficiency and positioning of the site.
  • Having a social media profile has no cost. Besides, advertising on them is very economical and controlled.
  • All social networks have particular segmentation systems for each publication.
  • Most platforms have special programs for NGOs. There are Twitter for Good, Google Non-Profit, YouTube Nonprofit Program, etc.
  • Digital media also allows you to have a direct dialogue with all your key audiences.

So far, we have discussed the essential elements to consider when we do Digital Marketing for NGOs. However, there are still many pending issues that we will address in our next Blog. Stay tuned to learn what strategies you should use in Digital Marketing for NGOs and how to take advantage of programs for nonprofit organizations from different social networks and Google.

Closing Thoughts

The tools of Digital Marketing supported by an excellent website for your foundation or non-profit organization can become the primary source of new funds and beneficiaries.

There are several programs available to help nonprofit organizations succeed with digital marketing, it is essential to design and apply digital strategies to grow your organization using the internet.

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