In the same way startups focus on “growth hacking”—the process of identifying the most effective ways to grow a business—nonprofits, traditionally with limited resources, can also explore quick, efficient ways to scale. By consistently testing across marketing channels and analyzing the impact of your experiments, you’ll be well-positioned to discover repeatable methods to grow website traffic and engaged supporters.
For ideas on how to get started, below are six growth hacking strategies that nonprofit professionals can implement.
1. Tweak Your Email Signature
One of the greatest growth hacks of all time was Hotmail’s “P.S. I Love You” signature at the bottom of each email they sent. This bit of text included a link back to their homepage, and in less than a year it helped generate over 12 million new email accounts.
Think about your staff’s email signatures and how you might include engaging text that links back to your website or donation page. Don’t be afraid to inject a little personality to garner attention.
Also consider how you might influence your supporters’ signatures. Each time they connect with a friend, colleague, or vendor, a call-out and link back to your website could generate new site visitors and recruit potential supporters. Craft simple, personable text that you can ask volunteers or fundraisers to include in their signatures during your fundraising campaigns. Include tracking links or URLs to designated landing pages for future analysis.
Your email or website footer might be your organization’s next big growth hack. Use this real estate to link to relevant pages, like your social media profiles, or grow website traffic. Whether it includes a Facebook share icon that links back to specific content on your website, or a “forward to friend” option that emails your content to colleagues, a highly targeted footer can drive traffic to crucial pages and insights.
3. Participate in Discussion Groups
One of the most effective ways to generate website traffic and increase brand awareness is to consistently participate in online discussion groups. The most advantageous groups are those that are specifically related to your cause or the broader nonprofit community. This tactic is not immediately effective, but with diligent strategy in place, it can greatly impact growth in the long term.
LinkedIn and Idealist groups are great for nonprofits, as is Reddit and, in some concentrations, Quora. Experiment to see which groups respond favorably to your varying pieces of content and insights.
4. Optimize Your Blog Content for SEO
SEO is perpetually shifting and it’s not enough to simply add meta tags to your webpages. You need to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly, and that you’re regularly crafting quality blog content while following SEO best practices. This will help bring in additional readers from search engines, which can increase the number of visitors to your website each month. You should also be distributing links back to your blog content through social media and newsletters.
When it comes to crafting valuable content for your readers, no one knows your organization and cause better than you and your staff. But if you need some help with writing, you can outsource at a reasonable rate. Check out these resources: CatchaFire, Writer’s Access, Fiverr.
5. Focus on Conversion Rate Optimization
How many clicks through your emails and website does it take for someone to donate? How many clicks does it take for someone to create a personal fundraising page? What is the conversion rate on your donation pages? Prioritize optimizing these processes and making it as quick and as simple as possible for people to support your organization. Make it smooth. Make it enjoyable and intuitive.
If you are looking to use AdWords but fear the cost, take a breather. Google will donate $10,000 annually to qualified 501c3s. In addition, they’ll guide you through the initial setup.
Also identify partnership opportunities with corporate social responsibility programs. Companies are increasingly establishing year-round activities and incorporating them into their business models. This is an incredible opportunity for nonprofits whose missions align with corporations’ interests.
Use these six growth hacking strategies as starting points, and learn from the results and iterate. Also turn to resources like Growthhackers.com, Brian Balfour, and the Classy blog for more insights and ideas. Growth hacking isn’t rocket science, but a bit of effort, persistence, and ingenuity can lead to major breakthroughs that scale your organization. And you’ve got those qualities in spades.
Social Press Kit provides organizations the ability to ensure partners have the correct assets needed to influence their constituents across all social channels.
The Nonprofit's Guide to a Strong Online Presence
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