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Gorilla6

5 Steps to Combining the Power of Email and Facebook for Your Nonprofit

Molly Feltner of Gorilla Doctors couldn’t have asked for a better end to 2011.

After 25 years of providing emergency medical care to endangered gorillas in regions of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the organization held a month long fundraiser in December and raised $100,000.

That’s right—one month, $100,000!

How did they do it?

“We were fortunate to have a couple that volunteered to match all donations up to $50,000 for the entire month,” Molly explains. “We were able to drive almost all of our donations with our email newsletter and Facebook Page.”

Combing the power of email marketing and social media

It’s no secret that email marketing and social media are each powerful tools for nonprofits.

But Molly didn’t just decide one day to sign up for Constant Contact, create a Facebook Page, and then voila, $100,000!

She did it by combining the power of these two tools and developed a strategy that all nonprofits can use to grow their organization—all year long.

Want to combine your email marketing and social media to grow your nonprofit?

Here are five things you’ll need to do first:

1. Start with your website

While your email newsletter and Facebook Page may be your organizations most powerful tools for connecting with your current supporters and volunteers online—it’s actually your website that will be the first touch point with most new members.

An effective nonprofit website should do three things:

  1. Tell your audience who you are and what you do
  2. Give them a way to take action (typically either donate or volunteer)
  3. Provide them with a way to stay connected

Linking your website’s homepage to your social networks and adding an email signup form will provide your audience with a way to stay connected and informed, while also giving you a means for fundraising and recruiting for future growth.

2. Bridge the gap between your newsletter and social networks

As a nonprofit, you know how important it is for all your supporters to be on the same page. And there’s nothing worse than having a loyal volunteer or donor finding out about a fundraiser or event—after the fact.

Bridging the gap between your email newsletter and Facebook Page will not only make sure everyone is on the same page, but will provide you with a powerful tool for building your list and attracting new fans.

For Gorilla Doctor’s, that means letting fans sign up for its newsletter by adding a  “Join My Mailing List” tab on Facebook and then doing the same for email subscribers by linking back to the Page.

3. Make sure your branding is consistent

One of the reasons email marketing and social media are so effective for nonprofits is they let all organizations (no matter how big or how small) look professional without breaking the bank.

For nonprofits, looking professional online means using consistent branding across all of your media outlets (website, blog, Facebook Page, or email newsletter).

This is what consistent branding looks like:

With Constant Contact, it’s easy to upload a professional-looking header for your email newsletter. On Facebook, you can use your organization’s logo as your “profile picture” and choose a cover photo that captures your brand.

4. Coordinate your content

When it comes to driving results from your social media and email marketing (whether you use them together or not) nothing is more important than providing content that will engage your audiences.

But nonprofits are busy—with short staffs and limited budgets—organizations cannot afford for content creation to be a full-time job.

It doesn’t have to be if you coordinate your content.

For Gorilla Doctors, that process starts with weekly blog posts, which come directly from staff members in the field. Those blog posts are then shared across Gorilla Doctors’ social networks along with photos from all of their rescues. Then, once a month, all of that content is turned into an email newsletter and sent to a list of over 1,200 people.

Coordinating your content across your marketing channels will allow your organization to optimize on the value of the content you’re already creating, and provide a more unified message to drive key initiatives.

5. Link to a central place where action can be taken

OK, you’ve connected your touch points and marketing outlets; you’ve coordinated your branding and content for consistent messaging,  now it’s time to give your email subscribers and fans a way to take action.

Your readers won’t take action unless given an easy way to do so.

For Gorilla Doctors, which does nearly all its work in Africa (not exactly the supporter’s backyard), the goal from its email marketing and social media is fundraising, not recruitment.

To make it easy for readers and fans to support its cause, Gorilla Doctors links its newsletter and Facebook Page to a central donation form on its website. That means providing a “Donate” button at the top and bottom of each email and adding a “Donate” tab to its Facebook Page.

When you visit the Gorilla Doctors Facebook Page or open its monthly email, there is no question about what action the organization wants you take and they make it easy to do (see below).

Turn supporters and volunteers into subscribers and fans

Raising $100,000 in a single month with email marketing and social media isn’t something that happens overnight.

It starts with turning supporters and volunteers into subscribers and fans, and is achieved by continuing to engage your audience throughout the entire year—not just when you have a specific initiative you’re trying to promote.

If you want to build your list, here are 15 places you should consider promoting your newsletter (I’ve already given you two of them).

If you want to grow your nonprofit on Facebook, your timing has never been better.

Tomorrow, Constant Contact is teaming with Facebook to bring you a free live webinar: Grow your Nonprofit with Facebook Marketing. Learn the four steps to grow your nonprofit with Facebook, so you will be ready when it comes time to combine your marketing efforts.

Comments:

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  1. Great post Ryan. I like your suggestion that Nonprofit’s start with their website. Endemic site traffic is still the #1 driver of email list growth for most email marketers.

    Reply
  2. Great information about email marketing of facebook. thanks for providing the information.

    Reply

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