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Nonprofit Digital Marketing: How to Create a $150,000 Campaign for $500

By: Cassandra Steele, online fundraising and digital marketing communications professional.

Having a limited digital marketing budget can be a challenge, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do any paid digital advertising. Here are some easy ways you can make the most of a limited budget for digital marketing ads. 

Use Canva to Create Graphics

Canva is one of the most widely used online design tools. It lets you create professional looking ads with little to no design experience, and the basic version is free to use. To make an ad, just choose the template, drop in your images, change colors add text, and you’re done! 
nonprofit digital marketing

Make Use of Your Email Lists

One of the best things you can do to make the most of a limited digital marketing budget is by using your email lists to targeting your current constituents.

Because this audience is already donating to your nonprofit, you can reach them in other ways like through direct mail or through email. When it comes to digital channels, email is much more successful at converting than social media ads, so you are better off primarily soliciting this audience online through email.

Focusing your digital marketing budget on bringing in some new donors or awareness will take your limited digital marketing budget further.

Invest in the Right Channels & Placements

As digital advertising platforms become more and more sophisticated, you can use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to get the most out of your limited digital marketing budget.

Hopeful, for example, takes the guesswork out of social media fundraising by letting you see which channels are working. That way you can use your limited budget on just what gets results!

nonprofit digital marketing market at a glance

Don’t continue to invest in channels again and again if they’re not delivering a return on investment. If Instagram ads do not convert for you then don’t invest in that channel! Digital marketing is not on size fits all, not every platform is going to bring you a return on your limited digital marketing budget.

Campaign budget optimization (CBO) on Facebook can also help you get the most out of your digital marketing budget. With CBO enabled, Facebook will use the objectives and bid strategy you set up to maximize your ad spend, so if you are looking for more donations, Facebook will optimize your budget to get as many donations as possible.

You can also use CBO to manage the return on your ad spend, which will help you maintain a positive ROI. This method will help you get the most return out of your limited digital marketing budget.

nonprofit digital marketing facebook cbo

It will take some trial and error to find out which channels work best for you, so set aside some budget to do some testing across different platforms. Don’t be afraid to try new channels or ad placements when they emerge. You won’t know what works until you try!

Save $120,000 a Year by Applying for a Google Ad Grants

Google Ad Grants provide $10,000 of paid search advertising per month (or $330/day) for non-profits to advertise on their parent search engine. To date, Google works with 20,000 non-profits in 50 different countries. All you need is a website and charity status to apply.

For more on how to apply for and use Google Ad Grants, check out:
Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits: Everything You Need to Know  

Google ad grants nonprofit

Target the Right Audiences

When you are using your limited digital marketing budget, make sure you are targeting the right audiences. This is applicable for Google Adwords, or social media ads like Facebook. There’s no point wasting your digital marketing budget on people who are not interested in donating to you.

Use demographic and geographic filters and the interest filters, like Facebook interest targeting, to find people who are actually interested in your nonprofit and in donating to you. For example, if you are a humanitarian aid organization you may choose to target people with human rights and international development interests.

mid level donor fundraising facebook ad

You can also use custom audience match on Facebook to build an acquisition audience based on your current donors. Facebook will find people who are very similar to your donors in interests and demographics. This similar audience, called a lookalike audience, is the one that will see your ads.

Measure the Right KPIs

With a limited digital marketing budget there are only a few metrics from your digital ads that really matter. It’s easy to focus on engagement metrics like clicks, but looking at the number of donations and the cost per acquisition (CPA) is going to be much more effective.

The CPA is how much you are paying for each donation, this is the most important metric you need to look at to measure your return on investment (ROI) and ensure you get the most out of your limited digital marketing budget.

Conclusion: A smart strategy is the key to getting the most out of a limited digital marketing budget. Always make sure you are investing in targeting the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right ask.

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