5 Nonprofit Digital Marketing Trends for 2021

By Ilia Jones | January 2021


We don’t need to remind you that the current pandemic has turned nearly every industry, including the nonprofit sector upside down. Some good and some bad has come out of a truly unpredictable year. But we are into a fresh new year, and we want to make 2021 the best we can for your nonprofit. The reality is that in 2021 we will not be going “back to normal” but instead, we will shift and adjust to our new normal. 

Throughout this year we as an organization have had to adjust and readjust to the changing landscape, and we’ve learned some things. Read on for the 5 digital marketing trends we foresee for nonprofits in 2021. 

Websites for Nonprofits

Your Nonprofit Website Will Be Key to Successful Digital Marketing 

As digital marketers, we often see nonprofits hyper-focused on tactics that will drive traffic to their websites. This is great! The purpose of any digital marketing initiative is to get more traffic to your “hub” or your organization’s website to then get those visitors to convert. The trouble comes when a website isn’t designed well or optimized to turn those visitors into leads. 

The biggest deterrent for website visitors is technical errors. Imagine a potential lead landing on your website and being met with a 404 error or a “this page does not exist” message. Yikes! Luckily, an audit for your nonprofit website is a surefire way to an error-free website. 

Before making a big digital marketing push to drive traffic to your website, make sure your website is mobile-friendly and that your UX is providing meaningful and relevant experiences for visitors. Sometimes this means just doing a few tweaks, and sometimes this means committing to a full website redesign. Either way, it will be well worth the effort. Without a great nonprofit website, your digital marketing efforts are going to fall flat. 

Nonprofits Will Need to Expand Their Digital Marketing 

Now we know that having a great website is key, but how will nonprofits get their audience to visit their website? The answer is a lot of different ways. But specific to the new year is expanding digital marketing tactics to new social media platforms and personalized SMS marketing. For nonprofits hoping to reach a new audience, especially Gen Z or a younger audience, expanding your presence is essential. 

Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok saw a considerable surge in active users in the last year and this is only expected to increase into 2021. We encourage you to take a look at your audiences and where they spend their time online, then simply get active on those platforms. Of course, you should be providing engaging content along with promotional content. Just being present isn’t enough. 

Just a couple of years ago, receiving text messages from a brand seemed too close for comfort for many. But my has that perspective changed. In a recent study, 75% of consumers said they’re comfortable receiving SMS messages from brands. Having an SMS campaign for your nonprofit puts you right into the palm of their hands, something that is extremely important in a world that is saturated with digital messages. 


Quality and Consistent Content Will Be Crucial 

We have always said that content is king but it may be more relevant in 2021 than ever before. First I want to emphasize the power of video content in this new year. With Google reporting that 57% of people who watch a nonprofit’s video will donate, missing out on video content will mean missing out on potential donations. 

It is certainly time to make video content a part of your content plan in 2021 if you haven’t yet. If you have, increasing your video content this year would be the best move if you make one change to your content plan for 2021. Quality content whether it be video, blogs, or longer-form pieces is absolutely key. But, don’t forget to be consistent with your content as well. This can be one piece of published content a month or six pieces of content a month. Be realistic with the time and resources you have. 

Fundraising and Giving Will Change 

One thing that didn’t necessarily change dramatically during the pandemic was the number of people who were still willing to give to nonprofits. While the generosity of donors didn’t change, the way they are giving did. A report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute found that people gave back in much more creative and indirect ways than in previous years. 

Giving your previous, lapsed, or new donors different ways to give increases the likelihood that they will participate in your fundraising efforts. If there are indirect gifts that are beneficial to the organization, consider a campaign around indirect giving to generate interest and donors. 

Think about how easy your donation process is - can you simplify the process? It is now as easy as a few clicks within a social media platform like Facebook to give to a nonprofit organization.  

Nonprofits Will Need to Adhere to New Technology Trends 

Meaning that anything offered will need to be offered digitally. This includes things like events, meetings, and promotions. A really impactful way of generating leads is to gate content like webinars and offer them as a downloadable resource that can be watched or read at their convenience. Making content and your website as accessible as possible will give your visibility a boost and allow those with disabilities to use your website. 

Virtual events, online fundraising, and a highly optimized digital presence will help your nonprofit stay relevant in the digital landscape. Many nonprofit organizations have started to host digital events, and this trend seems like it’s here to stay. 

Grow your nonprofit by utilizing these digital marketing tactics within your strategy. Contact us with questions on how to execute any and all of these tips! We’re happy to help.



Topics: Digital Marketing