How much should a nonprofit spend on marketing?
3% of your total operating budget, give or take… A study by Go-to-Market Strategies suggests that about half of for-profits spend 6% of their revenue on marketing. Another study estimates that it closer to 10% for most companies.
Every nonprofit is unique, with its own set of goals, challenges and resources. Digital marketing is increasingly critical for nonprofits to be known and trusted by the public: their supporters, donors, partners and clients.
Wait – social media is free! Why do I need a budget?
Every nonprofit’s response to the discussion of social media budget is they don’t need a digital marketing budget: it’s free! Many social media channels and tools are free but there are real costs to use social media to promote your nonprofit’s cause. Your social media digital marketing budget should be 10-50% of your total marketing budget.
What Should You Include In a Social Media Budget?
1. Content Creation
People (and search engines) find your website when you share useful, relevant information that attracts your target audience. There are several ways to manage content creation:
- Outsource: hire a marketing agency, a social media content marketer, or a virtual assistant
- DIY: create content for your nonprofit
- assign it to a current team member
2. Schedule and Post Your Content
After you create content, you need to schedule it to post on your website, blog and social media platforms. There are many tools to help schedule social media so your posts go live at the best time – and free you up to do other tasks.
- HootSuite: this freemium tool lets you schedule posts on up to 3 different social media channels for free, 4 or more channels start at $9.99/month; and help you plan your posts on dozens of social platforms
- IFTTT: If This, Then That is a free tool with mini-programs to help you save you time by automating some of your social media functions.
3. Promote Your Content
It’s getting harder and harder for even high-quality content to show up in the feeds of people who want to read it! Today, paid social media advertising is becoming the norm: at MacManda Media to increase your online visibility we favor an approach that combines organic SEO strategies with PPC campaigns.
- Paid Ads: Facebook ads for as little as $1/day can drive traffic to your website or help build your following; Twitter ads for a few dollars a day dramatically increase the likelihood your post gets seen. Here are some paid ad results from WordStream:
LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube are other top-performing social platforms that accept ads in a range of prices.
- Brand Ambassadors: Bloggers and social media influencers who will promote your posts for in-kind services, a fee, or a percentage of sales… or because they believe in your cause!
- Social Shares: Buttons on your blog or website invite visitors to share your content with their followers. Some of these share buttons are free, while others have a fee and additional features to encourage action.
Tips for NonProfit Digital Marketing:
It’s important to carefully choose how to spend your marketing dollars. To stretch your nonprofit’s digital marketing budget, here are a few tips that get results!
✓ Take advantage of Google Grants –> especially Google Adwords.
✓ Add Marketing to your grant applications so you have a dedicated budget to market your events and programming.
✓ Media outlets will often partner with nonprofits give ads in-kind. Try to secure media partners. See: Tips for Event Marketing on a Budget.
✓ Create Partner Promotional Kits – Your sponsor kit should include graphics, social media handles, content, etc – give this to your board, members, sponsors, donors (people that love your organization) and have them do promotions for you. Give your Brand Ambassadors the tools to promote you.
Your digital marketing strategy should reflect the results your nonprofit wants to achieve plus the resources you have so you can set a realistic budget that supports your goals. Whether your digital marketing budget is 15 hours a month of your own time plus $100 per month for Facebook ads and stock photos, or $1500 and more per month to outsource to an agency, or somewhere in between; it’s critical to the success of your nonprofit that you understand the value of social media and digital marketing in reaching your audience and promoting your cause.