Get Ready For More Videos, Images

February 12, 2015       Patrick Sullivan      

Prepare to see more videos, more images and more infographics coming from nonprofits in 2015.

According to authors of the new 2015 Digital Outlook Report from Care2, NTEN and hjc, 68.4 percent of survey respondents reported planning to use more video this year than last. Images and infographics also were popular engagement strategies, with 63.2 percent and 58.2 percent respectively reporting more of a focus on these strategies this year than last.

“This shift towards heavily visual marketing media and strategy has been growing exponentially, and 2015 appears to be a continuation of this trend,” wrote the report’s authors.

The report collected responses from 473 nonprofit professionals, mostly in the U.S. and Canada. Budgets ranged from less than $250,000 to more than $100 million, and the organizations had staff numbering from one to more than 76.

Only 15.1 percent of respondents plan to use more podcasts this year, 11 percent plan to use more memes, and 9.1 percent said they would produce more advertorials.

Marketing and communications departments in nonprofits are often either one and the same, or they collaborate very closely. That’s not usually the case with development departments, which often stand on their own. “If we’re talking about siloes, it appears that the fundraising silo is the most obvious,” wrote the authors. “Conversely, marketing and communications departments often overlap and frequently exist as either one or the other.”

Email marketing, Facebook and Twitter will all have their own communications plans, according to the vast majority of respondents: 94 percent, 88 percent and 79 percent, respectively. About two-thirds said direct mail will also have a concerted marketing plan in their organizations. Pintrest, at 15 percent, was the least cited. Telemarketing (23 percent) and Instagram (30 percent) were other unpopular choices.

Staff shortages was the most cited challenge with regard to planning new digital strategies, with three out of four respondents saying they were understaffed. Even in the largest organizations, 71 percent of respondents from nonprofits with 51 or more employees reported staffing to be a challenge. Budget restraints were also a barrier to 63 percent of respondents.

“Charities are changing the way they raise money and acquire new donors,” wrote the authors. “Traditional channels, while still the most predictable and influential forms of revenue generation, are finding their growth stagnating as digital marketing is on the rise.” The authors further note that “most charities still do not use donor acquisition as a gauge to measure the success of their content.”

For lead generation, content marketing will be the most popular lead generation strategy in 2015, at 60 percent.

Finally, the report lays out the right tools for lead conversion. Nonprofits will need to use mobile-friendly websites and emails, Google analytics, optimized landing pages and websites and good data tracking. “Spend some time in 2015 making sure the infrastructure is in place with the right tools to find and convert donor leads,” advised the report’s authors.