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Top Advertising Tips for Nonprofit Organizations

Advertising can be an effective way to help grow your nonprofit’s digital footprint, complement your current organic marketing efforts, and be an essential, part of your integrated marketing strategy. Ensuring you have a strong foundational strategy for your paid advertising campaigns can help you reach your marketing goals and objectives and get a strong return on your investment. With the ability to run paid advertising across a variety of different channels and placements, it can all seem a little daunting. 


Here are our top advertising tips to help your nonprofit supercharge your paid media strategy: 


1. Clearly Define Your Goals + KPIs


What are you hoping to achieve with your paid advertising campaigns? How will you measure the success of your paid advertising campaign? 


Defining your campaign goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from the start can help ensure that the campaigns you’re building are effective and help you continue to optimize and improve performance. 


For example, when we worked with PG Volunteers on their recruitment campaign, their goal was to hit 300 form submissions, with the following KPIs.

  • Clicks
  • CTR
  • Form Submissions


The result? Nothing short of success, with 1,016 form submissions, 646 of which came from Facebook Ads, and a 254% increase in clicks between media flights.


2. Set Your Paid Advertising Budgets


When it comes to running a successful campaign, ensuring you have the right budget in place can help you get a strong return on your investment, reach your audience the right way, and achieve your goals. By setting your budgets early on, you can strategically plan to maximize your spend and map out the rest of your strategy.


One of the best ways to plan your overall budget and budget by channel is by looking at specific KPI benchmarks for each channel, your industry, etc., and back into how much you will need to spend to reach your specific goal. There are tons of online resources that share benchmarks for specific channels and industries—like Wordstream and TechSoup. These benchmarks can help you plan your budgets for each channel you’re going to run ads on. 


3. Choose The Right Target Audiences + Channels


The number of channels you can run paid ads on—from self-service management to working with a programmatic vendor—can be overwhelming. Similar to an organic social media presence, you don’t need to be on every channel all the time—and not every paid advertising channel is one-size-fits-all. 


By having your target audience(s) clearly defined, you can choose paid platforms that your audience actively uses and engages with to help get your messaging to them and drive greater reach, awareness, and conversions. For example, if you want to reach Gen Z exclusively, you would run on platforms with a large and engaged user base for that demographic.


4. Ensure You Are Tracking Relevant Data


Ensuring that your paid advertising campaigns have the relevant tracking set up is imperative for success. Strong conversion and data tracking also gives you a better view under the hood. 


With proper conversion tracking, you can have better ownership of your data segments, see on-site behaviors from those who came from different channels, and increase the first-party data pools you have access to. 


Some tracking must-haves:

  • Paid advertising channel pixels installed
  • Conversion tracking setup for all conversion actions (e.g. email signup, donation completion, purchase)
  • UTM parameters in place


5. Utilize Your First-Party Data


As we continue into a ‘cookieless future,’ leveraging your first-party data can help bolster the success of your paid advertising campaigns. For example, if you’re running a full-funnel campaign, your top funnel may focus on boosting awareness of your nonprofit with a broad audience interested in your industry with the goal of increasing website traffic. You can remarket this website traffic during the mid-funnel to get them to sign up for your newsletter. For your bottom-funnel efforts, you may remarket the list of new email leads with a strong CTA to donate and support your organization. 


Having a strong command over your first-party data can help you more efficiently and effectively capture the interest and engagement of your core audience—ultimately boosting your integrated marketing efforts.


6. Maintain + Pace Your Paid Advertising Budgets


In order to maximize your budget and make sure you don’t accidentally overspend, we recommend creating a pacing document or utilizing a platform like Shape.io to ensure that your campaigns spend properly throughout the campaign flight and protect your budget from overages. With a pacing document in place, you can track daily budget projections and adjust on-platform as needed to drive spend and results. 


Additionally, for campaigns where budgets may be paced differently during different points—like an increase in investment closer to the end of the campaign to increase reach—having a system to track spending can simplify budget adjustments during critical times.


7. Test, Test, Test!


Once your campaigns have launched, you don’t want them to remain static. In the famous words of TV’s Miss Frizzle, it’s time to “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!” By continuing to test different parts of your paid advertising campaigns, you’ll better see what resonates best with your target audiences on which channels and how to be more effective with your paid advertising.


Some things you can test: 

  • Call to Action (CTA) variations
  • Ad copy variations
  • Static images vs videos
  • Landing page verbiage


8. Optimize Your Campaign Regularly


As your ads run in-market, you want to make sure that you regularly check the campaigns for opportunities to optimize your return on investment and drive stronger results. Keeping a log of your optimizations can help you and your team look back at recent changes and track the impact and growth of the work you’re doing. Whether it’s setting aside time throughout the week to check on campaigns or creating an optimization routine, refer back to the goals and KPIs you set for your campaigns and areas you can improve performance to achieve them. 


9. Create Consistency Between Your Paid Advertising + Organic Marketing Efforts


It’s important that as you build and create your paid advertising campaigns, you stay consistent with your overall branding, tone, and voice and align with your organic marketing efforts. If someone sees one of your paid ads and clicks through to do research and sees a disconnect between what your paid ads were presenting and what your social media presence is like, it can cause cracks in your overall marketing foundation. 


By staying consistent across channels and efforts, you can ensure your brand doesn’t get diluted and improve your overall brand recall


10. Create Strong Reporting For A Full-Picture View


If you’re running paid advertising campaigns across multiple channels, diving into each channel to see high-level performance can be time-consuming. By creating a reporting dashboard that pulls in data from all your paid media channels, you can get a better, more holistic view of performance compared to your goals and KPIs. This can help your team identify overarching themes and areas of opportunity within your campaigns and let you easily share insights with stakeholders. 


Looking for more top advertising tips?

Creating and maintaining a strong paid media strategy takes time, effort, planning, and flexibility to ensure that you’re making the most impact with your campaigns. If you are looking for help planning and executing your paid media campaigns or need help leveling up your current strategy, Media Cause is here to help. Learn more about our advertising services


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