Content marketing: not just a puzzling buzzword

by guest blogger George Crankovic

Content marketing is the new big thing for nonprofits. But hold on a minute. It’s really not that new, because one of the biggest categories for nonprofit content marketing is simply giving donors information about how they’re making a difference.

In fact, take a look at the top five most widely used tactics for nonprofit content marketing according to the Content Marketing Institute:


  1. In-person events
  2. Social media, like Facebook and Twitter
  3. Articles on your website
  4. E-newsletters
  5. Video

These are opportunities to report back to donors, show them the impact they’re having, make them feel good about their gift, and open the door for the next gift.

You’re probably doing some of these things already. If not, they’re easily within reach for most nonprofits.

Creating and hosting a lavish in-person event would be expensive, true. But what about a phone conference with donors? Except for the cost of promoting it, an event like that would cost virtually nothing.

Doing videos is possible too. You don’t need Hollywood production values. Often a video shot with a cheap recorder or even a cell phone can be extremely effective because it has that in-the-field, viral-video effect that says “nonprofit doing a lot on a small budget.”

E-newsletter and print newsletter? These aren’t merely nice to have. They’re crucial for keeping donors informed about their impact and keeping them involved, not to mention giving.

Whether you call it content marketing or simply reporting back to donors, it’s vital to do these communications. This is what separates the growing nonprofits from the slowing nonprofits.

And that’s because, for vast swaths of donors, and especially for mid- and high-dollar donors, the premium that will motivate them the most isn’t a gimmicky giveaway in a mailing. It’s information about the good they do.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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