08 Apr 2016
April 08, 2016

The Best Online Marketing Software for Nonprofits

Do you have a spreadsheet with hundreds of user names and passwords for online systems you’re actually using as well as for those you’ve tried and discarded? You’re not alone.

If you’re like most nonprofits, you’re running a mixed bag of software to handle websites, email, relationship management, databases, social media, and more. No doubt you’re using the mostly free versions with an array of paid upgrades. 

In this approach, the big ones include Wordpress for your website and MailChimp for your email campaigns. But there are many, many others that can and do help with a specific requirement. 

In this type of environment, it can be a real challenge to keep on top of every aspect of all these independent systems.

Integrated Systems

puzzleIt’s time to start considering an integrated system that brings all the elements of your marketing programs under one umbrella. This not only simplifies operational aspects, like usernames and passwords, but brings all your donor information together so that you can truly optimize your campaigns.

Plus, using online cloud-based systems can free up your current focus on the technology, leaving that to the company you’ve hired. It can also make your system available to everyone, both employees and volunteers, no matter where they are or when they need access. It also allows scalability to match your growth over time while not burdening you with the associated costs early in your journey but only as needed along the way.

Finding Online Marketing Software

Go to Capterra, the business software search website, and you’ll find 170 options for nonprofit fundraising software. Click on the most popular tab and you’ll find a list of the Top 20 products

Blackbaud is at the top of the list with over 29,000 customers and 100,000 users. They’re followed by Frontstream, MemberPlanet, Network for Good, and DonorPerfect. 

Those are the big boys. If you’re seeking to replace Wordpress and MailChimp, you’re probably not going to make the jump to this type of system with the major investment in both time and money that it requires. Instead, there are options targeting precisely where you are and the next steps you need to take.

We like Salesforce, Hubspot, and Marketo. 

Salesforce

Salesforce integrates sales, service, marketing, community, analytics, as well as developing mobile apps and what they call the Internet of Things. They also provide Salesforce for Nonprofits. This includes program management, community engagement, marketing communications, fundraising, analytics, and apps. Eligible organizations get 10 subscriptions at no cost. The next levels up offer substantial discounts. 

They’ve done an excellent job of tailoring their software to fit nonprofits. For example, they suggest starting with their NGO Connect and the Nonprofit Starter Pack. The starter pack pre-configures Salesforce for nonprofits. That can provide a very helpful jumpstart to your efforts.

Normally, when implementing a system you’re trying to first learn a new system and then trying to translate their sales/marketing terminology and processes to a nonprofit environment. At Salesforce it is already done for you.

Salesforce has also provided case studies on those who’ve implemented their software. I like the DonorsChoose case study. They state that after just six months of using Sales Cloud they’d exceeded their fundraising goal for the entire year. Now that’s impressive. You’ll also appreciate the nonprofit stories from American Red Cross, Teach for America, and Kiva. 

HubSpot

In my previous blog post, “How Success is Measured for Nonprofits on HubSpot,” I touched on this all-in-one marketing platform. 

HubSpot is a marketing platform designed to drive actions that make the biggest difference for your organization. HubSpot is driven by content marketing. For nonprofits content marketing results in attracting more website traffic, growing the size of your member/volunteer/donor database, and driving the actions that result in success for your organization. 

It does all this by providing a website content management system, blogging platform, email and social media marketing tools, marketing automation workflow, contact database, search engine optimization, and that all important reporting tool. I like HubSpot for Nonprofits: Brilliant Ways to Market and Generate More Donations

Bundling all your marketing together under Hubspot can really serve to ramp up your productivity and ensure that you’re working on the right things, those that will have a true impact on your marketing efforts.

Marketo

Marketo is another marketing automation platform. It provides an integrated system with email marketing, lead management, consumer marketing, customer base marketing, and mobile marketing. All of that is driven from a single platform. Forget your spreadsheet of passwords.

They’ve done a good job of providing customer stories and case studies. For example, Hero K12 used Marketo to increase website traffic by 201%, open rates and engagement measures up 150%, along with increased marketing-qualified opportunities generated by 200%. Fantastic numbers. 

In another story, Connect for Education increased their campus visits by 200% through optimizing online and email campaigns, including better tracking and segmentation of leads. It’s a good story about significantly ramping up their marketing efforts through the application of Marketo’s systems.

Justifying the Move

Those are three outstanding systems that are well worth your time to review as well as develop pricing and implementation models that fit your organization. 

As you consider your present status and cost versus competitive systems, make sure you tally the full cost of your existing approach. That should include money spent out of pocket, but it should also include staff and volunteer time devoted to the care and feeding of the system. 

Next Steps

This is obviously a serious step for any nonprofit. It takes planning, commitment, and resources allocated to the project. It’s not for the light of heart. 

To help you assess your organization’s ability to make this move, Salesforce has developed a Nonprofit Readiness Survey. It’s worth trying out. 

It can also be worthwhile just to see the questions. I often say I don’t have all the answers and half the time I don’t even have the questions. This is a good starting point.

Campaign Now Can Help

Given that I don’t have all the answers, and need some of the questions as well, I always recommend reaching out to the experts for more insight. Campaign Now has substantial experience and expertise working with a wide range of nonprofits and their marketing programs, systems, and all aspects of fundraising.

Leverage their expertise for your organization. Give them a call.

Contact them at (855) 329-4327 or info@campaignnowonline.com.

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Jim Wilson

Written by Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson is the founder of PathForeWord, a freelance writing and communication consulting service. He has over two decades experience working for the largest youth membership organization in the USA as director of communication services. He’s written on nonprofits, associations, journalism, technology, and the job search process.