Not Every Nonprofit Needs to Fundraise: Establishing Altruistic Marketing Objectives for Nonprofits

By Anna Seacat

On the heels of #GivingTuesday, we should all be reminded of how critical it is for nonprofits to create digital marketing campaigns that are capable of generating donations.  In fact, most of my writing and speaking in the nonprofit realm is about how nonprofits and socially minded organizations can implement social media and search engine marketing tactics to grow their bottom line.  However, I was recently asked to create an analytics framework for a nonprofit that had a mission not driven by fundraising.  Below is a version of that framework.  I hope that other nonprofits and socially minded organizations can benefit from it.

Marketing Objectives and Goals for Nonprofits and Socially Minded Organizations

What are your nonprofit’s 2015 digital marketing objectives, goals, KPIs, and targets? | Anna Seacat

Not Every Nonprofit Needs to Fundraise

Although it may be hard for a marketer to imagine a nonprofit not being driven by earning donations, donors, or members, many organizations pursue alternative marketing objectives.  A good example of an organization in this scenario is my sister-in-law’s la leche league.  While there is a donate button on its website, and the group offers a paid membership option, this efficient organization can thrive without donations or paid memberships, since it is essentially a mother-to-mother support group.  The trained la leche leaders and members are all volunteers.  They willingly and passionately spread information about breastfeeding, promote breastfeeding, and help other mothers with breastfeeding.  In this sense, they are more of an open-source community than a formal nonprofit organization.

A Nonprofit’s Altruistic Mission Still Warrants Digital Marketing

Even though the la leche league’s mission is truly altruistic, it must utilize digital marketing tactics to achieve that mission.  Especially in the digital environment, where websites can be buried on crowded SERPs (search engine results pages), nonprofits must fight for online presence or risk failing to fulfill their missions.  In other words, in order for the la leche league to effectively spread information about breastfeeding and help mothers with breastfeeding, the nonprofit’s websites need to be easily found by its target market.  Currently, the la leche league’s main website competes with major health networks, for-profit breastfeeding consultants, and government sites on the SERP for the keyword phrase “breastfeeding help Indianapolis.”  In fact, for-profit entities have pushed the la leche league’s organic listing down to the very bottom of the first search engine results page.  This scenario severely decreases the chance that mothers, who could benefit from the la leche league, will land on the groups’ website.

Establishing a Nonprofit’s Objectives, Goals, KPIs, and Targets

To improve the online presence of nonprofits and socially minded organizations, a marketer must establish digital marketing objectives, goals, KPIs, and targets.  An analytics framework, such as this, as well as a thorough analysis of the target market should guide every digital marketing activity.  To demonstrate this digital marketing task, I have created a sample framework below.  It can be adjusted to serve the need of most nonprofits.


Nonprofit Objective Goal KPI Target
To be an easy-to-find online source. Increase presence on SERPs for [x] targeted  keyword phrases [within x months]. Number of spots earned on first SERP for each targeted phrase. [x] listings per SERP
Increase presence on social media channels by [x %]during campaign period. Number of promotional posts % of increase after campaign term
Number of shares % of increase after campaign term
Increase presence on online community forums by [x %] during campaign period Number of online forum contributions % of increase after campaign term
To spread and promote online information and offline activities Increase original digital content by [x %] during campaign period. Number of blog posts % of increase after campaign term
Number of calender updates
To support and answer questions from online community members Increase number of answers to questions on social media channels by [x %] during campaign period. Number of answers contributed to discussions on social media channels % of increase after campaign term
Increase number of Q&As on website by [x %] during campaign period. Number of Q&As provided % of increase after campaign term
Initiate a robust digital glossary with at least [x] well defined terms within [x] months Number of defined glossary terms provided within specified campaign term. [x] per term

Notice that the actual measurements have been left blank, because they are tied so closely to the number and ability of volunteers.   For instance, if the aforementioned la leche league had three very involved members willing to volunteer their time, each of the three members may be able to create one blog post a month, participate in two discussions each month on online community forums, answer four related questions on social media channels monthly, and provide definitions for ten related terms each quarter.  These commitments would clearly affect the measurements within the KPIs (key performance indicators) and targets.  Therefore, this framework is versatile and can be adjusted to fit the capabilities of many socially minded organizations.  Moreover, this framework could also easily incorporate more traditional marketing objectives, such as “to raise funds” and “to attract volunteers.”  For more information on how to create and implement a similar framework for your organization’s purposes, please reach out to the author: @AnnaSeacat | seacatanna@gmail


#GivingTuesday was evidence that digital marketing can be effectively used to generate donations .  But, some socially minded organizations’ missions demand alternative objectives.  The framework above outlined possible alternative marketing objectives and the corresponding goals, KPIs, and targets for nonprofits.

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Ethan McCarty

Digital strategy | Social business | People-centric biznology

Alana Harris Photography

some of my favorite photos and their stories


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