Three Big Reasons Your Nonprofit Needs a Digital Marketing Manager

05 Jan

Thanks to the emergence of social media, mobile devices, texting, search engines and the like, there is a new tool that all nonprofit organizations need to think about adding to their toolbox.  The digital marketing manager.  I know, the last thing a nonprofit director wants to do is add a new expense, but if you consider what the return on this investment could be, it is definitely worth considering.

1) Digital Marketing Managers are the Whole Package

Long gone are the days when nonprofit employees could post a few fun pictures or mention an upcoming event on social media as time allowed.  Today, nonprofit organizations need a professional, consistent and engaging online presence as an integral part of a larger marketing strategy.  A digital marketing manager is a person with a marketing background who is specifically trained to use today’s technology to promote an organization’s mission.  Social media trends and algorithms are changing continuously, so having a person who is up-to-date on these changes is important to make sure your online content is relevant and being seen.  Digital marketing managers not only understand the best way to work each platform, but can respond to your community from the prospective of your mission and fundraising goals.  A digital marketing manager also coordinates your communications strategy across all outlets (social, website, email, postal, television, text, radio, print), and they do so with a consistent voice and message. This consistency is an important component of your organization’s branding, something often overlooked by nonprofits.  While it is a very new development, colleges and universities now offer degrees in Digital Marketing, so if you can find a digital marketing manager with non-profit experience, let them carry your mission (I know someone like that, hint, hint,


2) Social Media is the New Customer Service Hotline

Social media is too valuable to your organization to not take full advantage of its power, and one significant way it brings value to or organization is as a customer service tool.  Unlike any other form of marketing or advertising, social media provides a two-way conversation with your target audience in real time.  Reactions and comments to your posts are a great way to listen to your audience.  They can tell you what they are excited about, show you what is not resonating with them, and contact you directly for any number of questions, concerns or thoughts.  According to a study by JD Power, 67% of consumers have used a company's social media site for customer service issues.  A skilled manager can engage and respond to questions and comments in a timely manner, with a consistent voice from your mission and communication strategy’s perspective.  A trained manager can also identify which comments should receive a thorough public response vs. a quick public response followed up by a more thorough private response.  Your manager will be offering excellent customer service for your organization and your community, which is valuable for sponsor, donor, volunteer and event participant cultivation and retention.


3) The Greatest Impact is Internal

The nonprofit culture is one where, in an effort to bring the most good to the most people, employees end up wearing many hats.  Providing valuable online content is very time consuming, and should not be added to the “to do” list of your treasured employees.  A digital marketing manager has one job, and a good one can help make yours and everyone else’s easier. 

Think about how many departments of your organization could benefit from effective social media content.

  • Outreach – A focused social media plan can bring awareness to your organization and its mission.  It can also be a very effective educational tool that can be shared and reach a wide audience.
  • Development – By promoting your mission online, community partners will see the effects of your efforts in the community and be encouraged to participate for the first time, or continue previous involvement.  Assist your Development Manager by mentioning your partners and thanking them publicly for their financial or in-kind contributions.
  • Events – Social media is a wonderful way to promote upcoming happenings and create buzz. Broadcasting live from events is a very interactive way to promote not only the current occasion, but also gain interest for future events.  Then, wrapping up donor opportunities afterward is a great strategy to include those who may have missed the actual event, but wish to make a donation or become involved in other ways. 
  • Human Resources and Volunteer Recruitment – Social media is quickly becoming an asset in recruiting qualified people who are already interested in your organization.  Find employees and volunteers that arrive with passion and initiative in addition to valuable skills by posting openings online.  Also, use the platform to thank vital volunteers to increase retention.
  • Fundraising – Nonprofits have begun to realize the real benefits of fundraising via social media.  For many, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge opened their eyes to the possibility of using social media to inspire action and wide-spread giving.  Since then, the coordination of online giving has really taken shape. Not participating in social media fundraising campaigns is like leaving money on the table.


Still worried about the cost of a digital marketing manager?  Consider a freelancer.  Hiring a freelance manager is financially advantageous as they don’t require the tax and benefit burdens that an employee creates.  A freelance manager offers flexibility because you can hire them part-time and increase their hours for specific campaigns or during your busy months.  Also, a freelance manager brings in new ideas from outside of your organization and has experience with other brands, which can be very valuable.


I could write about the importance of digital media marketing for today’s nonprofit community all day long because there are just so many positive reasons to make it a priority.  Having a dedicated professional coordinate your message across all media focuses your mission, encourages and engages your community, and supports staff.  As we start a brand-new year, it is definitely worth consideration. 


Best wishes for an inspiring 2019!


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